Francis Bland is one of the founders of Mustard Seed Autism Trust. She has worked with Sarah Clements to create and develop their vision for Mustard Seed since 2011.
Francis qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1990 and has a vast experience of working with children in both the NHS and for Hampshire County Council.
Before training she lived for 3 years with a family who had an autistic child and this gave her an insight into the challenges of living with autism. Since then her passion and interest has been in supporting autistic children and their families.
Francis holds post graduate qualifications in Autism Specific OT Intervention, Sensory Processing Disorders and Intervention, Motor Coordination Difficulties, Selective Eaters and Oral Motor Difficulties. She is also an accredited Therapeutic Listening Practitioner and is currently training as a Sensory Attachment Intervention Practitioner.
Francis also runs our highly acclaimed social enterprise Occupational Therapy for Schools provision in the North Hampshire area which supports children with or without autism within the educational environment. This service covers mainstream pre-schools, primary, secondary schools, colleges and special schools. All profits made support our charitable work with families.
Mustard Seed tries to fill the gaps left by statutory services. This includes supporting sensory needs and how these impact on children's behavioural responses and anxiety Our OT intervention also provides training, assessment and intervention for sensory related needs and support with motor development affecting the child's daily life.
Her most recent enterprise is developing a Life Skills programme for some of our Mustard Seed children who are now in their early teens. The first of these courses took place earlier this year and it was a great success.
Francis says she 'feels honoured to be working with such a wonderful team and especially honoured to be working with our unique and special families."