Clinical Assessment and Therapy Teamed Services Ltd, T/A CATTS Ireland
“If you’re passionate about what you do, you are usually better at what you do.”
What we do
CATTS Ireland is an Irish owned company established in 2009 and incorporated in January 2010. We provide Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) services to babies, children, adolescents and adults using an individual or a Multi-Disciplinary Model.
Clients are seen individually or in groups, and also provide training services to Parents, Teachers and Care Staff. The service revolves around the traditional private practice model as well as supporting registered charity organisations on a break-even basis.
Currently CATTS have a small team of therapists who will be able to assist you in locations around Ireland offering home, school or clinic visits. Please browse our Locations to find out more.
CATTS is a family business and fully Irish owned. Husband and wife team, Joe and Marijke, founded CATTS in 2009. They always dreamed of being able to work together and CATTS is a great marriage of their individual skills. Marijke brings her passion for therapy services and skills and experience as a Speech and Language Therapist, and Joe his broad skills and experience in small business and management.
Marijke’s first work experience as an SLT was in a multidisciplinary private practice in South Africa and she always wanted to return to her private practice roots. After working in different public service positions in Ireland, it was clear to Marijke that a multidisciplinary team is the best way to provide support and services to clients. Joe kept asking her when she was ready to open the independent multidisciplinary practice she kept talking about. One day in November 2009, Marijke told Joe it was time.
Why the name CATTS?
A practice name needs to slide off the tongue easily. That way it is easier for people to remember the name too. A multidisciplinary independent team would provide assessment and therapy services, no matter what the discipline. That is when Clinical Assessment and Therapy Team Services were born. The leopard paw logo is a link to Marijke’s South African roots. She moved to Ireland in 2001.
How is CATTS different from other independent practices?
CATTS first set up as a mobile service only. Traveling to therapy services can be stressful, especially for parents with children with special needs, and it can be very difficult to balance all the other activities of siblings with therapy appointments. Joe and Marijke set up Closer-to-Home therapy venues in different parts of the country, based on the need of families, clients and parent support groups in the areas.
A clinic was set up in 2012 in Bluebell, Dublin, as a base for some of the therapists, but CATTS still continue mainly as a mobile Closer-to-Home service. Therapy is more than what happens in a clinic space – it is essential that learned skills are also used at home and other settings. Home or Residence and school visits have always been important part of the team’s services and the team tries their utmost to accommodate home and school visits.
Very often, our clients need long term therapy, which means it needs to be affordable. CATTS has been working with parent support groups and other services to aim to provide the best quality, affordable service. The main goal is to provide a consistent, sustainable service for all.
Even though the team is scattered over the country, CATTS is very much a team-orientated practice where all the therapists aim to learn from each other and continuously expand their skill-set. When a client is seen by one team member, they also have the whole team as a support.
Occupational therapists and Speech and Language Therapists work well together and often joint sessions can reap results where individual sessions may not be as effective. What makes CATTS different, is that there is a flexible approach around what clients may need. Maybe an individual needs joint sessions for a little while, then speech therapy for a certain period, followed by an OT home programme. Or maybe the SLT can get the OT’s advice on how to use correct positioning or movement breaks in sessions. Alternatively, OT’s can get advice on how to communicate instructions effectively for a specific client with language difficulties.
Marijke and Joe regularly meet with stakeholders and committees to establish what needs members or clients may have that could be addressed in a creative way. Bespoke training services and bespoke therapy programmes are developed based on needs, rather than trying to fit clients to programmes.
The CATTS Team
Independent practice is a challenging area to work in,due to the variety of skills needed to match the various needs of clients. It takes a special kind of therapist to cope in the challenging environment. Marijke and Joe always try to match the therapist’s passion for certain areas of practice – for example if a therapist has a special interest in working with adults, the main focus would be for the therapist to work with adults.
It may not be as financially rewarding as a public service position, but it can be hugely rewarding in the sense of job satisfaction and being able to say “Yes” instead of “No”. “Yes, we can provide services.” “Yes, we don’t have a waiting list.” “Yes, we can see you for as long as you need.”
Marijke always says she is allergic to waiting lists after working in the public service. Marijke and Joe would rather get more therapists than have parents wait for therapy.
Clients always come first in CATTS, but therapists a close second. If therapists are happy, they will also provide good quality services to clients. We value our therapists and the various skills they bring to the practice. The best therapy does not require a special building or equipment, just a special therapist.
Bastian, Marijke and Joe’s young son, often stars in the website pictures. (We’re hoping he won’t charge us royalties in years to come!)