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Early Years Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy


The Early Years Team works with pre-school children and babies in the Sheffield area. We see a variety of children with and without a formal medical diagnosis, from those with a delay in their motor development to children with more complex needs such as cerebral palsy and syndromes (including Down’s syndrome).

Our aim is to ensure that every child achieves their full potential in everyday life. We do this by devising a tailored therapy plan that is designed to meet the particular needs and goals of each child and their family. We look at a child’s physical development and their gross motor (movement of legs and body) and fine motor (movement of arms, hands and fingers) skills.

We are innovative and creative and keep up to date with the latest research to introduce new and improved techniques into our therapy.

The team

The team is based in the therapy block at the Ryegate Children’s Centre and includes occupational therapists, physiotherapists, equipment co-ordinators, technicians and therapy assistants. We have a wealth of experience and an excellent reputation for patient care.

We work closely with the doctors, nurses and other specialist therapists based at the centre.

Early Years team

Amanda Hassimi – Sewing Technician
Andrea Andrews – Admin Support    
Charlotte Munro – Therapy Assistant                           
Debora Challoner – Admin Support
Emma Knight – Occupational Therapist
Helen Johnston – Physiotherapist
Helen Middleton – Equipment Coordinator
Jane Aistrop – Equipment Coordinator
Jane Nettleingham – Admin Support
Janet Heap – Sewing Technician

Jill Stewart – Physiotherapist
Jo Archard – Occupational Therapist
Julia Swainson – Physiotherapist
Katie Ellis – Therapy Assistant 
Katie Parsons – Admin Support
Louise Froggatt – Therapy Practitioner 
Matt Silverwood – Technician
Michelle Davis – Therapy Assistant
Nadine Armitage – Admin Support
Rachel Reece – Occupational Therapist
Sarah Pashley – Physiotherapist

Links with other services

We liaise with colleagues in other services that you may be involved with, for example Portage, the Early Years Inclusion Service and wheelchair services.

Our therapists work closely with the team in the neonatal unit at the Jessop Wing to support babies who are born prematurely or who are unwell. We work together to provide a link for families who transfer from the Jessop Wing to the Early Years Service.

When your child is ready to go to school, if they still need therapy we will plan a transition to the Mainstream Schools or Special School Teams.


Your child can be referred to our service by their GP, a hospital consultant, a health visitor or a therapy/educational professional.

What to expect

At your first appointment a therapist will assess your child’s needs and talk about what you’d like to achieve. You’ll then create a therapy plan together which will involve working towards the goals that you and your child have identified.

After the initial appointment, therapy may consist of individual sessions, attending specially run groups or treatment in the hydrotherapy pool. The sessions aim to help your child achieve their therapy goals through play.

Treatment sessions will often be at Ryegate but we may also see your child at home or nursery if it is more relevant to see them in their own environment.

We will also give you advice on activities you can practise with your child at home.

Specialised clinics

The team runs a number of specialised clinics at Ryegate and in the community that aim to help children achieve their therapy goals. We also run several groups.

Useful websites

Hemihelp – a charity that provides information, support and guidance to people with hemiplegia and their families
Contact a Family – a charity that supports the families of disabled children
Sheffield Parent Carer Forum – an independent group of parents and carers of children and young people (0-25) with disabilities and special educational needs
Scope – aims to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else
Sheffield Directory – directory of advice, support, groups, services, events and activities for adults, children and families in Sheffield
Cerebra – a charity for children with neurological problems
Unique – support and information for families of children with rare chromosome disorders

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