Invisible Illnesses: Anxiety and Physical Symptoms in Children
Nicole Pates (WA), Nicole Haynes (QLD), Dr Verity Pacey (VIC, NSW)

This talk will explore the connection between the physical and mental well-being of children with chronic conditions, including many invisible illnesses such as hypermobility, arthritis, chronic abdominal pain, headaches and fatigue. Teachers will gain an increased understanding of the relationship between physical symptoms, functional performance and participation of children, with a focus on the role that anxiety may play within the school environment. Case study presentations will be used to demonstrate management strategies teachers may implement to promote physical and mental resilience and confidence.

About Nicole Pates

Nicole Pates is a paediatric physiotherapist at Western Kids Health and the Perth Children’s Hospital. Nicole assisted in the development in the Complex Pain Service and research at Perth Children's Hospital and is passionate about optimising participation and goal achievement for children and adolescents with “invisible illnesses”.

About Nicole Haynes


Nicole Haynes is the clinical director of Q Paediatrics, the paediatric department of Allsports Physiotherapy.  Nicole has worked exclusively with children since 2007 and her private work has seen her deliver services within the clinic, community, educational environments and multidicplinary community based clinics. Nicole has worked with the not for profit oranisation, Support Kids in Need (SKiP) to deliver a community based, multidisciplinary pain program for children up to 14yrs with persistent pain. Nicole has been involved in the continuing development of the programs curriculum over the past 5yrs.  Nicole developed the Hard Core Kids program which is a group program targeting motor development and physical capacity in children ranging from 3 to 18yrs including functional programs such as running and bike riding.  Nicole works with the University of QLD and Griffith to provide clinical learning experiences as well as guest lecturing within paediatrics.  As clinical director of Q paediatrics Nicole provides educational and mentoring  to staff working exclusively in paediatrics as well as to general musculoskeletal physiotherapists.  Over the years Nicole has provided professional development courses to physiotherapists, other allied health and medical professionals.  Nicole is the Paediatric National Chair of the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

About Verity Pacey

Verity Pacey is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Health Professions within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University. She has almost 20 years of experience as a clinical physiotherapist and supervises students and clinicians undertaking higher degree research in various aspects of paediatric physiotherapy practice.  Verity is considered an international leader in the physiotherapy management of individuals with Connective Tissue Dysplasias, and is an active member of the Short Statured People’s Association of Australia Health Professional Advisory Board and Ehlers Danlos International Consortium Paediatric, Hypermobilty and Physiotherapy groups. She is an invited speaker at both national and international level within her area of expertise: rare and complex conditions in paediatrics, focusing on physical activity, function and quality of life.