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Shayna "Shana" Gavin

Principal Splash Physiotherapist ®

she / her


Shayna equally loves supporting families of babies, children and young people to participate in everyday life, as much as she is passionate about supporting our wonderful team of physiotherapists to do the same!

At Splash Physiotherapy we provide innovative services to engage children at all ages from babies through to transition to adult services, to identify their goals and play towards them.

If you can come up with the goal, we will find a way to play towards it!

Our team is firmly grounded in evidence based practice, and at the same time, we work hard to integrate those principles into playful, enjoyable, real life activities that children thrive in. We don't work in gyms or clinical settings where we have to manufacture fun. We work on your real goals in real life, and we will stick with you until those new functional skills are being used in true participation.

Shayna established Splash Physiotherapy® in 2010 to create a physiotherapy service in the community that could help babies, children and young people learn functional skills to participate in everyday life. Splash Physiotherapy is driven by core values drawn from evidence informed practice in paediatrics.


Shayna is working clinically in all services offered at Splash, developing and supporting the Splash team, and driving the Sports and Recreation Intensives program starting in 2018.

She graduated from physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne in 2002 and has since completed extensive further study in paediatrics, aquatics, swim teaching, neurodevelopment, motor learning, motor control, pain, and evidence informed practice in early childhood intervention. 


She has swum all her life, loves introducing kids to a variety of sports, and loves kayaking and bushwalking.

Shayna is passionate about:

  • working with families

  • supporting children to participate at home, school, sport, leisure and in the community

  • playing with children towards their goals

  • translating the science behind neuroplasticity into practical strategies to help us learn

  • discovering each individual's learning needs

  • finding the "just right challenge' for a child as that changes throughout a session

  • complementing your team's goals in communication, play, fine motor and social skills

  • fitting in practice of new skills into your every day life in a way that suits you and your family

  • starting with babies as early as possible

  • everyone having a chance to learn, at any age

  • life long learning, and staying up to date with the evidence base in paediatrics

  • combining paediatric and aquatic physiotherapy with swimming teaching to develop novel treatment strategies in the pool

  • swim safer skills and behaviours to enable participation in water and reduce drowning risk

  • creatively designing services to meet participation goals (physiotherapy visits, aquatic physiotherapy in community poolssports & recreation intensives, pathways to swimming)

  • growing an enthusiastic, playful, supportive team culture at Splash Physiotherapy that is committed to excellence and continual improvement


Shayna's background: 

Shayna has worked with children and adults in private, public and community sectors in Victoria and the Northern Territory since 2002. She has a wide experience base in rehabilitation, and in musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiopulmonary conditions. She has consistently worked in aquatic physiotherapy, enjoys the opportunity to combine these physiotherapy skills with her background as a swimming teacher and coach. She has worked in early childhood intervention in the community sector as a keyworker in transdisciplinary practice.

She established Splash Physiotherapy in 2010, eager to combine her skills in paediatrics, Contemporary Neuro Developmental Treatment, aquatic physiotherapy and swimming teaching to help children get on the move and achieve their goals.


Shayna believes strongly in carefully coordinating care between health care providers, and complementing goals in all areas of development, to optimise chance for learning.


Shayna's teaching and sharing: 

  • She enjoys sharing her approaches in providing professional development training for physiotherapists, allied health staff, and swimming teachers.

  • She is involved in the ongoing training of the swimming teaching staff at both pools we work with, facilitating a developmental approach to swimming teaching, and promoting inclusion of children with specific learning needs in to the swim school lessons. She also trains ASCTA swim teachers.

  • She provides lectures and practical workshops on the Australian Physiotherapy Association Aquatic level 1 and 3 courses, and Paediatrics Level 1 course

  • She continues to provide lectures for the Australian Physiotherapy Association aquatics, disability and paediatric groups

  • She has presented at conferences of the World Congress of Physical Therapy and the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

  • She developed and taught aquatic physiotherapy units of first the RMIT Allied Health Assistance course.

  • She has assisted in research projects through Latrobe into community gym based physiotherapy interventions in young adults with Prader Willi Syndrome; and with Southern Cross University into goal directed intensives for children with neurodevelopmental conditions

  • She was awarded the "Contribution to the profession" award in 2018 by the Australian Physiotherapy Association. She has volunteered with in positions with the Australian Physiotherapy Association 

    • the Aquatic Physiotherapy Professional Standards Committee (PPSC) 2014 - 2019

    • the Victorian committee for the National Paediatrics Group 2015 - 2021

    • the Victorian committee for the National Aquatics Group 2015 - 2022

    •  the Northern Territory Branch President of the Australian Physiotherapy Association 2004 - 2006

    •  the Northern Territory professional development convenor of the Australian Physiotherapy Association 2003 - 2006

    • the APA Indigenous Health committee 2004 - 2006

  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Hons) University of Melbourne, 2002

  • Graduate Certificate in Health Promotion, Curtin University, 2006

  • Aquatic physiotherapy Level 3 (practical component and clinical examination), Australian Physiotherapy Association 2008

  • Certification Neuro Developmental Treatment, Neuro Developmental Treatment Association, 2012. 

  • Advanced Babies Course in Neuro Developmental Treatment, 2013.

  • Advanced Course in combining Neuro Developmental Treatment, Sensory Integration and Motor Learning for Optimal Function in Children with Neuromotor Challenges, 2015

  • Advanced Course for Handling with Neuro Developmental Treatment with research, 2016

  • Contribution to the Physiotherapy Profession Award 2018, Australian Physiotherapy Association

  • Australian Swimming Teachers and Coaches Association qualifications (Swim Australia Teacher, Swim Australia Teacher of Babies and Toddlers, and Swim Australia Teacher of Learners with a Disability)

  • Cert IV TAE Assessment and Training

  • Presenter for ASCTA (Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association) courses (see more here)

  • professional development in: aquatic physiotherapy, paediatric physiotherapy, Contemporary Neuro Developmental Therapy, motor learning principles, neuro motor control, neuroplasticity and neurosciences, running and bike riding physiotherapy, formal outcome measures, play based therapy, Strengths Based Approach, persistent pain

  • physiotherapist for research trials into Prader Willi Syndrome, cerebral palsy, developmental delay and Contemporary Neuro Developmental Therapy

  • Member Australian Physiotherapy Association National Paediatric and Aquatic Groups

  • Volunteer work for Australian Physiotherapy Association: Aquatic Physiotherapy Professional Standards Committee; Victorian branch committee member of the Paediatric National Group and Aquatic National Group; past NT branch president and professional development convenor


View Shayna's profile on Linked in


Image description: Shayna in mask, face shield and bathers on the first day back of aquatic physio post Melbourne lockdown, November 2020


We help babies, children and young people learn everyday functional activities

to participate in life at home, school, and in the community.

We see children are part of a family

  • Families know their children best

  • Children do best in their own environments

  • We find strategies that fit in with your everyday life

  • We form respectful, cooperative partnerships with families

  • We value Melbourne's diverse community

We are professional, playful and up to date

  • We are professional, friendly, fun, and love the work we do

  • Coordinating with your health and education services helps everyone work towards their goals

  • We are committed to life long learning. We are highly skilled and up to date. 

  • We are constantly improving

We teach the way kids learn

  • Children learn through play

  • Every achievement is celebrated

  • We apply the science behind neuroplasticity in practical strategies to optimise learning

  • We use a strengths based approach

  • The earlier the better and it's never too late! We work with babies through to young people

  • We observe carefully, adjust moment to moment, to: meet your individual learning needs; find the 'just right challenge'; optimise your chance to learn

We celebrate small steps towards participation goals

  • Participation is key

  • We start with your participation goal. Then we drill down to small details in body structure and function to help you learn functional skills

  • We support all areas of development

  • We advocate to address social, environmental, policy and institutional barriers to participation

  • Swim safer skills and behaviours are part of every aquatic physiotherapy session

  • Being active is good for everyone

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