About Françoise Harrison

I established my paediatric Occupational Therapy practice in rooms at our home, in Chartwell, in 1990. Our young family had been living on farms around the country, and in remote areas of Lesotho, as my civil engineer husband was gaining site experience.  Our peaceful country homes had taught me about how living close to nature, and living within a caring community, is important.  I learned about how the body takes strain when we lose our connection with nature and with natural processes.  We enjoyed the taste of rural living, and when we returned to Johannesburg, we were keen to continue living in the country. So began our life in Chartwell, where we share our space with guinea fowl, wild hares, porcupines, hedgehogs and many species of birds.

It warms my heart to see children who come to our therapy rooms testing their gross motor skills on the play equipment in the garden, and learning to be gentle, and to be still, as they feed the rabbits.

I share my therapy rooms with a wonderful multi-disciplinary team of neurodevelopmental physiotherapists.

Adjacent to the therapy rooms, Kingdom Mtombeni manages an organic vegetable garden, Chartwell Veggie Patch, which is certified through the Bryanston PGS. Visitors are welcome to stroll through the gardens and to purchase herbs and other produce directly from Kingdom. We offer courses on growing produce organically.  Children are encouraged to learn about growing their own food, and we have a small children’s vegetable garden and an earthworm garden which they can explore.

I am a paediatric Occupational Therapist who enjoys working with babies and children of all ages.

I have a great interest in sensory integration, which I see as an important part of the foundation for all learning. The development of emotional regulation and of sensory regulation also contribute to this foundation.   

My interest in nutrition, and on lifestyle factors, which can impact on development has coloured my approach to therapy. Wherever possible, I adopt a holistic view which considers more than just assessment results and scores on tests. 

I really enjoy the challenge of working with children who present with behaviour difficulties on account of having sensory processing difficulties. Sensory processing difficulties often also result in concentration difficulties, sleep issues and feeding difficulties. Close teamwork with parents and teachers is key to ensuring a better understanding of the child and to working together to achieve common goals. Parents who are empowered with a better understanding of their children’s difficulties and of how to address these difficulties, can do so much more in making appropriate choices for their children and in assisting them.

The emerging neuroscience of Pregnancy, Birth, Bonding and Emotional Attachment is particularly interesting to me. My workshop “Giving Babies a Voice”, shares some of this information with pregnant women and their partners, as well as with fellow colleagues and others who share an interest in this growing field.

I have accreditation or training in the following treatment approaches:

  • Sensory Integration (SIPT certified and currently training to use the EASI)
  • Therapeutic Listening.
  • Interactive Metronome Universe and Interactive Metronome Home
  • The Prechtl General Movement Analysis (GMA), in Pre-term and Term infants. Using this assessment, one can identify movement disorders such as cerebral palsy in young babies. These “at risk” infants can then begin to receive very early intervention. The assessment of these very basic movement patterns, can be done from a week after the infant is born, and up to 20 weeks post-term. 
  • Training the Newborn Observation, (NBO), which assist parents in better understanding their new baby, and in reading their baby’s cues.
  • I am currently studying to become certified as a South Africa Certified Lactaction Consultant. I have completed the necessary modules to allow me to begin to consult with clients requiring this support. 
  • I am a SACE accredited provider, and I present SACE and HPCSA accredited talks and workshops on Sensory Integration as well as on other topics in the field of child development. Informative talks and workshops for parents are also run from time to time.

I have completed several modules in Cranio-Sacral Therapy with the Upledger Institute, including CST I & II, Somato-Emotional Release, and the Paediatric CST course