Rachael McConochie – Senior Physiotherapist

Hi!  My name is Rachael and I joined the Move and Play Paediatric Therapy team in January 2018.

I graduated with a Bachelors of Physiotherapy (Honours) from James Cook University in 2017, and completed my Masters in Advanced Paediatric Physiotherapy Practice through Monash University in 2021. I love the idea that I can help children live their best life whilst also making therapy fun through play.

I am a certified therapist in the Therasuit and Universal Exercise Unit Methods for Intensive Therapy and also the Total Motion Release for Tots and Teens Method.

I have a special interest in working with children with neurological and complex developmental delays, including cerebral palsy and other brain injuries; this is reflected by my extensive postgraduate training in this and other areas, including: ‘If You Can’t Breathe, You Can’t Function” by Mary Massery, Hydrotherapy for Paediatric and Neurological Clients, Introduction to Cortical Visual Impairment, Paediatric Vestibular Dysfunction, Typical Child Development and the Classification and Treatment of Cerebral Palsy.

I love sharing the joy and excitement with each of my families when their child has finally mastered the skill they have been working so hard to achieve – it really makes my work one of the best!

When I am not working, I love to read, travel with my family and friends, play with my dog and going to see theatre shows!

Charlotte Renner – Physiotherapist

Hi! My name is Charlotte and I joined the Move and Play team in January of 2023. I graduated with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy in 2022 from Australian Catholic University in Brisbane. I am originally a Brisbane girl, living there my whole life and moved to Mackay to start my career in Paediatrics!
Growing up I always knew I wanted to be in healthcare, and after sustaining several injuries throughout my time playing sports I knew that Physiotherapy was what I wanted to do. I have always had a love for helping children (highly likely because I truly am a big kid at heart), however this love was solidified when I was lucky enough to complete a Paediatric placement during University. Seeing the children’s love and excitement every day is something that will never get old for me!
When not in the Clinic, you will find me with my nose inside a book, travelling anywhere and everywhere, playing sport, and visiting my family. I truly love working with children and their families, and I am looking forward to seeing your friendly faces in the Clinic!

Chelsea Dendle – Physiotherapist

Hi, my name is Chelsea and I joined the Move and Play Paediatric Team at the beginning of 2022. Home for me is a small country town, Springsure, located in CQ. I completed my Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) at Central Queensland University, Rockhampton before moving to Mackay to begin my career as a Physiotherapist.
I have always had a passion for sports and being active. Having played many different sports growing up, I knew I wanted to work within health, and this led to a career of Physiotherapy. Spending time with children is something I have always enjoyed, and after completing a student placement at Move and Play during my University studies, I knew this was what I wanted to do. I love their reactions and excitement when the children can achieve a skill that they’ve been working towards; it is such a rewarding experience.
When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my friends exploring new places, keeping fit or going home to enjoy the wide-open spaces of a country lifestyle with my family. If I wasn’t a Physiotherapist, I definitely think I would still be within the health care industry!

Jessica Nikles – Senior Occupational Therapist

Hello! My name is Jess. I grew up in Brisbane, went to high school in China and returned to Brisbane for University. I studied Occupational Therapy at The University of Queensland, graduating in 2015. I worked in Emerald for 2 years, then moved to Mackay in 2017.

I joined Move & Play in 2020 and I love being an Occupational Therapist – it means I get to help little people do the things they want to do in life. I have worked in both NGO and public sector with Paediatrics and adults, and I’m now able to focus on working solely with children at Move and Play. I love helping little people develop their self regulation and play skills, as well as promoting general development and building skills in infants, children and young people with physical, intellectual and neurological conditions. It’s so rewarding to see moments when something *clicks* and they figure out how to do the thing that’s been tricky for them.
When I’m not at work I enjoy spending time with friends, and doing anything outside – camping, swimming in waterholes, bushwalking – I’m always up for an adventure!

Natalia Heelan – Senior Occupational Therapist

My name is Natalia and I joined the Move and Play Paediatric Therapy team in January 2019. I was born and bred in Mackay and moved to Townsville to study Occupational Therapy at James Cook University, graduating in 2009. My husband and I moved to Rockhampton where we lived for 9 years, and then returned to Mackay in July 2018 to be with our large family.

I’ve always loved playing with, and entertaining my niece and nephews. I found my niche working with kids during one of my University placements at AEIOU Foundation for children with Autism. I have since held a passion for paediatric work. I’ve had a variety of jobs working with both adults and children in both private and public sectors. My most recent paediatric work was for Samantha Woods at Therapy Works For Kids in Rockhampton. I think children are incredibly interesting and I love being able to help them grow and develop their independence and confidence. I love board games and ‘giggle wiggle’ would be my favourite toy to use with kids.

At the moment I am loving being a mum, doing pilates and living close to the beach. I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t an Occupational Therapist I would have been a Paramedic.

Rhiannon German – Senior Occupational Therapist

Hi! My name is Rhiannon and I am a Senior Occupational Therapist. I prefer to be called Rhi (‘ree’) (much easier for the little people to pronounce). I am a born and bred Mackay local and joined the Move and Play family in October 2019. I graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from James Cook University in 2005. I have had the privilege of working across a range of paediatric OT settings including hospital, community, education, and private settings. In 2017, I completed my graduate certificate in Advanced Occupational Therapy specialising in Paediatrics from Latrobe University. I am also certified in Ayre’s Sensory Integration assessment and therapy. I love keeping up with the recent evidence and research. I have completed a substantial amount of post graduate study and professional development across a range of areas.
My special interest areas are working with infants and children with developmental delay, premature infants, children with sensory processing issues and neurological and complex developmental delays. I love working with children and their families, sharing the ups, the downs and the joys. I love that in my role I can partner with the whole family to support children to be the best version of themselves. I believe that nothing is impossible and love finding creative solutions so that the children can participate in what ever their hearts desire.
When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my family, at the beach, running and cycling.

Emily Baxter – Occupational Therapist

Hi! My name is Emily and I joined the Move and Play Paediatric Therapy team in January 2021. I am originally from Mackay and moved to the Sunshine Coast when I was younger. I graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) from the University of the Sunshine Coast. During my University degree, I completed a placement at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and was exposed to the wonders of working with children. I am excited to help little people achieve their full potential doing the things they want to and need to do in life!

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time at the beach with my puppy and exploring new places with my partner.

Joanna Ruddell – Occupational Therapist

Hello, my name is Joanna! I grew up in the beautiful Airlie Beach and relocated to Mackay to pursue my dream of working with children. Ever since I can remember I have envisaged working with families and their kiddos. I became an Occupational Therapist after completing work experience during high school. I graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) from James Cook University and joined the Move and Play team in November 2021.

I am a big kid at heart, so I love that I am able to help children learn and blossom to their full potential through play. I feel privileged to be a part of a family’s journey towards achieving goals for their little ones. I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t an OT I would be a midwife because I have a soft spot for babies.

I love the outdoors, so when I am not at work you will find me boating, fishing and exploring swimming holes with my puppy, Sadie, friends and family.

Kathleen Davey – Occupational Therapist

Hi! My name is Kathleen and I joined the team at Move and Play after graduating from my Occupational Therapy degree in 2018. Prior to becoming an OT, I studied 18-months of early-childhood teaching. During this time, I developed a passion for supporting children who experienced challenges in everyday life, due to their physical, cognitive, social or emotional barriers. Since completing my degree, I have gained a particular interest in neurological development and rehabilitation; Autism Spectrum Disorder; and psychosomatic disorders.

My interests include anything outdoors! Mostly: travel, gardening, and playing with my two beautiful pups.

Mason Fenech – Occupational Therapist

Hello! My name is Mason and I’m excited to be a part of the Move and Play team. I relocated back to my hometown of Mackay after 7 years on the Sunshine Coast. I graduated from the University of the Sunshine Coast with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) in 2019.

I became an Occupational Therapist because I strongly believe in the values that people should be viewed holistically and that each person is not limited to their disability. I am passionate about working with children because every child has their own unique personality, various skills, and characteristics that make them who they are. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing that smile light up on a child’s face when they feel a sense of achievement or mastery when they’ve learned something new, no matter how big or small. My favourite toy always changes, but currently it would have to be “Safari Search”. It’s always interesting where the kids decide to hide the animals and if they can find where I have hidden them.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, playing and training with my dog Benson (German Shepherd), gym and going on adventures. If I wasn’t an Occupational Therapist, I’m sure I would still be working with children in the health field, potentially a Physiotherapist.

Sharni Oakford – Occupational Therapist

Hi, my name is Sharni Oakford. I graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at James Cook University in 2018 and joined the Move and Play team in January 2023. Since graduating I have worked with children in both private and non-for-profit organisations and within the aged care sector.

My favourite thing about working in paediatrics is empowering children and their parents to grow in confidence and independence. There is something very special about watching a child learn a new skill and accomplish things they never thought they could. I hope to further my skills in working with emotional and sensory regulation, early development, and working with children with complex physical, neurological or cognitive conditions.

I have lived in Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland, travelled overseas and have recently finished a trip around Australia with my partner and loyal companion River. I have a passion for travel and adventure and aim to hike many trails around the world.

Tammie Cunningham – Senior Speech Pathologist

Hi! My name is Tammie and I am a Senior Speech Pathologist at Move and Play. I am a Mackay local, growing up on a sugar cane farm between Mackay and Sarina.  I was so grateful to join and establish the speech pathology service at Move and Play in December 2020.  I have a Bachelor of Speech Pathology from the University of Queensland, I’m a member of Speech Pathology Australia and AGOSCI and I am a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist.  I also have a Trinity College Licentiate Diploma in Speech and Drama Teaching.

Since graduating in 2006 I have worked in the Northern Territory, at the hospitals in both Darwin and Alice Springs. I have worked for Disability Services Queensland in Mackay and I have worked with both children and adults for Queensland Health across both Hospital and Community Health in the Mackay Hospital and Health Service.

With respect to paediatrics, I have completed additional training in Hanen It Takes Two To Talk and More Than Words, PODD, SOS and PROMPT.  I have extensive experience in paediatric feeding within the special care nursery, acute, community and disability settings. My special interest areas are working in the areas of preschool age speech and language as well as feeding and swallowing in infants, children and adolescents.  Since commencing with Move and Play I have loved working closely with families on a regular basis whilst helping children find their voice either verbally or through other means. I enjoy being a part of their developmental journey as well as being their cheerleader, celebrating their progress and sharing in the joy of communication.

I am a mother of 3 children so whilst I am not at work I am busy looking after my tribe as well as going for walks, being part of a book club and participating in and attending performing arts events.

Courtney Mayfield – Speech Pathologist

Hello! My name is Courtney, and I am a Speech Pathologist at Move and Play. I grew up in Mackay and I’m excited to be back! I graduated from The University of Queensland in 2020 with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology [Honours]. I am also a member of Speech Pathology Australia and AGOSCI. I joined the Move and Play team in January 2023 after living and working in Noosa across Clinic and school settings.

I am passionate about all things related to speech and language. I have experience providing support to children and their families for speech, language, fluency and literacy for 2 – 16-year-olds with a range of diagnoses. I love working with children and their families and watching them become confident communicators. Since graduating, I have continued to expand my clinical knowledge through professional development, including:

  • The Lidcombe Program – for stuttering
  • The Shape Coding System – for children with Developmental Language Disorder
  • Pragmatically Organised Dynamic Display (PODD) Introductory Workshop
  • Literacy in the Speech Pathology Domain: prevention to intervention
  • Supporting older children and adolescents with reading comprehension and written expression

When I’m not working, I enjoy reading books, hiking and playing with my pup Archie.

Emmerson Rebetzke – Allied Health Assistant

Hayden White – Allied Health Assistant

Hi! My name is Hayden, and I joined the Move and Play team in October 2021. I come from a background of multi-instrumental music tuition, and completed my Bachelor of Music in 2020. Besides my interest in music, I have always wanted to work in allied health with a particular interest in how both music and therapy can go hand in hand. I never thought I would pursue a career working with children, until I began teaching music. Seeing the progress of confidence, pride and character convinced me that this was what I wanted to do as a career. Every day brings something new, including small wins and victories. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t hear laughter or see smiling faces.

Lisa Pearson – Allied Health Assistant

Natasha Witton – Allied Health Assistant

Hi, my name is Natasha but mostly known as Tash! I was born in Chinchilla however grew up in Rockhampton. I moved to Mackay approximately 6 years ago with my husband Gavin, and my 2 kids Hana (16) and Blayk (11).

Prior to becoming an Allied Health Assistant, I worked in hospitality and retail. Whilst completing a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance – Occupational Therapy, I had the opportunity to join the Move and Play team in 2022. Along with the amazing team of therapists and fellow AHA’s, I support each child with the best therapy so they can reach their own personal goals, and live life to the fullest.

When I am not in clinic, you will find me chilling with my dog ‘Yogi’ and having adventures with my hubby and kids.

Sarah Black – Allied Health Assistant

Client Services Team - Erin Sinnamon, Siobhan Harris, Layla Purcell and Zora Hall

Hi! We are the Client Services Team. We are the first smiling faces you will see upon your arrival to Move and Play!

We take care of anything administration based in the business from schedules, to invoices. So if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us via email or phone.

Emily Hayles – Principal Physiotherapist & Owner

Hi! I’m Emily, the owner and principal physiotherapist for Move and Play Paediatric Therapy. I founded Move and Play Paediatric Therapy in 2015 in order to meet a growing need for private paediatric specific physiotherapy services within the Mackay region, while also providing me with flexibility to look after my little girl.

I have worked in the area of paediatric physiotherapy for almost 10 years. I have extensive experience in managing the needs of infants and children with a wide range of conditions, from mild conditions and injuries to complex neurological conditions.  I have worked as a Senior Paediatric Physiotherapist across a number of settings in both Mackay and Brisbane, including hospitals and community health services.

I have a special interest in the treatment of children with developmental delay, movement difficulties, and/or disability, in particular cerebral palsy and brain injuries, and I have undertaken substantial postgraduate education and training in this area. I am a member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association and National Paediatric Group, and the Australian Bobath Neurodevelopmental Therapy Association.

As well as my clinical experience, I have also completed a Masters of Physiotherapy, through which I researched how parents of children with cerebral palsy experience health care for their child. As a result of this degree, I have published a thesis, a number of research articles on health care service delivery for children with cerebral palsy, and presented my research findings at national and international professional conferences.