As well as the usual range of SLT and OT services, we also offer specialised consultation and support to mainstream schools, and schools with additional Special Education units:
1. Consultations (SLT and/or OT) 1/2 day or full day
The therapist will provide support to you, and your class. Usually this support is planned in discussion with you as the Special Education teacher, to ensure that priorities for all pupils are met throughout the year. Our weekly ½ day supports are set up to operate on the basis of 40 visits per school year. This allows for flexibility around the events and logistics that may take place in your school. We have a range of pricing methods, which we can tailor to your school based on the time of the year you wish to involve us, and the method of funding your school wishes to use. We also offer our training services, as listed below, as part of the consultation package if desired. We can tailor a blank-slate solution for a school which has unique needs.
2. Individual pupil consults, assessment and therapy
We can provide once-off or regular support to an individual student where there is a concern. This student does not need to be in a Special Education class. In these instances, depending on location and parental consent, we can see the child at one of our clinics as well.
3. Teacher training to help students requiring additional support in class
We have a range of teacher training talks and workshops available, which we can provide to the school’s teaching staff, such as identifying OT or SLT needs in a mainstream classroom, practical tips and strategies, sensory processing, and introduction to AAC, or how to use visual supports in the classroom.
We also offer a workshop on Voice Care for Teachers (keeping your voice healthy). Teachers often suffer from hoarseness, laryngitis or other voice disorders and SLT’s can provide preventative advice and therapy. We have received amazing positive feedback from teachers who have attended this workshop. It is always best when the whole teaching team in the same school can participate together, as many of the benefits are only gained by frequent use, and having the support of peers throughout the school year.
Whether it is a Speech, Occupational or Joint SLT/OT Assessment you are coming for, the CATTS Assessments use Standardised Tools to help paint an overall picture to serve as a basis for therapy.
As such, often during the administration of the assessment itself, though you may want to help or assist your child with the task, we would ask that you please do not. The Assessment is not a method to ‘catch them out’, but purely to evaluate their skills, compared to worldwide norms. This allows the therapy team to identify where best to focus first, and to allow measures to show improvement.
There are several things however, which you can do to assist your child, the therapist, and you, when coming for assessment. These tips are written with CATTS assessments in mind, however it holds true for any therapy service.
Though we try to accommodate a time that suits both the parent, and the therapists, often, on the day, it can be a nervous experience for you and your child. Especially if this is your first time coming for therapy. To help ease things for you, some parents have found the following tips useful. (Please use your own judgement based on your child’s age and personality on what may work best for them.)
In the days before the first session, talk to your child about what will be happening. It helps to frame it in their viewpoint. A lot of times, from the child’s point of view, they go into room where a nice man or woman plays games with them, and asks them to run, jump, etc. It can be fun.
Usually, with the CATTS method, you will know the name of the therapist you will be seeing. Please use it with your child in conversation, e.g. “On Tuesday afternoon, you will go and play with Jennifer. You will have lots of fun.”
Use photos. Our Meet the Team section has a picture of each therapist. Please feel free to print off your therapist’s picture to show your child in advance, so they will see a familiar face when they arrive.
If you are unfamiliar with the venue, please check out our locations link to ensure you know how to get there easily on the day. If you have a question, or are unsure, please contact your therapist beforehand.
Finally, try to make sure that you are prepared. Read up on some of the Useful Information on this site, or check some of the tips and techniques from our Facebook Page, or Pinterest, or browse some of the information on the National organisation such as AOTI or IASLT. The more comfortable you are with everything, the more your child will pick up on your cue, and follow suit.
On the day
For each of our Locations we have a link to the Googlemap to show you how to get there. If you are attending a Closer to Home clinic, the chances are that you know the lay of the land better than us, so you will know how much time to give yourself to ensure that you can arrive relaxed, and unhurried.
Though you may feel the tests are too simple, or too advanced for your child’s abilities, please don’t help them. Should the therapist require your assistance in administering a part of the assessment, they will ask. We very much believe that parents and carers are the key to successful intervention and therapy, however the assessment phase is the notable exception to this rule.
Try not to be overwhelmed. Especially if you are new to therapy, you may find that there are a lot of forms, and questions to fill out. This does depend on which assessments are being done, and also on the age of your child. It is necessary in order to help paint a full picture.
Be aware that sometimes the therapist may be 100% focused on your child during the assessment. This is a time for them to get to know your child a little, and your child get to know them. There are often subtle cues, or teaching moments which the therapist is watching out for. If you have asked them a question and didn’t get a response at the time, please ask at the end of the session as they simply may not have heard you.
Pair the visit with something you know is fun. This can be anything from stopping at a shop for an ice-cream (for them and you!) on the way back from the session, to allowing them watch their favourite TV show when they get home. It doesn’t have to be big, just something small you know goes down a treat.
Please remember that the above are tips and guidelines only. Each child is different, and every parent’s schedule is different. If you know you will be rushing to and from the session due to work commitments etc, please try adjust accordingly. Successful paediatric therapy is a partnership between the therapist, your child, and you.
CATTS provides a Class Screening service for Preschoolers or Infants/Senior Infant level in Primary Schools.
The screening can be performed by either a Speech & Language Therapist (SLT Screening), Occupational Therapist (OT Screening), or a combination of both professionals to give a Joint OT and SLT Screening for a class.
What benefit would a Class Screening have?
There are many Red Flag signs in the early years which may be spotted by a routine standardised screening of a pupil. In short, a screening can catch those early signs that may possibly give rise for concern later.
The outcome of the screening is usually a short report for the pupil’s parent, along with a debrief at class level for the teacher.
What a Class Screening is not:
A Class screening is not an assessment for any pupil which the teacher or parent may have expressed a concern about regarding motor ability, sensory awareness, or speech development. Where you as a teaching or childcare professional have a concern about a pupil, or pupils in your class, please contact us regarding an OT or SLT Assessment to determine any needs.
If you have a concern regarding a pupil and require assistance getting your concern heard at parent or guardian level, we have a Red Flag document which has been found useful by teachers and childcare professionals in the past in explaining when a delay may be a cause for concern.
In order to provide a screening, we would require:
Parental Permission for each child (CATTS will send you a form you can use, or we can use the school’s own one if easier). When we do not receive a parental consent letter, we cannot perform a screening or any other observation (informal or otherwise) on that pupil.
Use of a spare room or quiet corner of a classroom.
We usually try to keep the cost of screenings nominal, usually €20 or €30 per child, which is payable on the day.
CATTS’ Speech and Language Therapists provide practical and professional advice and intervention strategies that are evidence based and in-line with best clinical practice. Each individual’s needs are unique, so the Speech and Language Therapist will tailor-make a comprehensive treatment program to meet individual needs.
We provide the following services:
Speech and language therapy assessment and scoring
Speech and language therapy assessment report
Speech and language therapy home and school programmes
Speech and language therapy consultation with parents, class teacher, significant others
Speech and language therapy treatment sessions or joint therapy sessions with other disciplines
Training workshops for parents, teachers, Special Needs Assistants and significant others
Assessment and recommendations for Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems
Early Intervention for children with speech and language difficulties.
Contribution to the multidisciplinary team
Group sessions e.g. social skills groups, feeding groups, language groups
School & Home visits
Referral to other Professionals in our Team
Who can benefit from speech and language therapy?
Children, adolescents or adults with any of the following difficulties will benefit from speech and language therapy:
Articulation or phonological difficulties (speech errors)
What is the Staff-Led Training Approach for Residential Services?
A combined Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) / Occupational Therapy (OT)-focused initiative to empower Residential Service staff (HSE & Contractors) to address communication difficulties and independent living skills of service users.
Some of the realised / planned benefits of the approach have been:
Improved quality of life for service users.
Expansion of the role of on-site nursing/ care staff to reduce the need to call in SLT/OT for routine concerns.
Reduction of challenging behaviour which may be caused when nursing staff cannot recognising when a service user is trying to communicate and is getting frustrated.
Reduction in onsite stress and better working environment for nursing staff (planned benefit is to contribute to less unplanned staff absences.)
The Approach includes 3 distinctive phases:
Training Phase: Initial Staff Training delivered by CATTS Therapists (Communication Toolkit and Sensory Needs).
Mentoring Phase:Mentoring to all staff over a defined time period (e.g. 12 months). Full SLT & OT assessment at the start of all Service users and follow-up training with staff to tailor specific strategies to be used with each Service user in their care.CATTS Team will continue support after training, phasing out over a set period of time.
Maintenance: (Policing) of outcomes by CATTS for 3 years after the end of the Mentoring Phase, to ensure sustainability. CATTS use quarterly spot visits to Residences with a ‘HIQA-like’ reporting assessment which is then shared to Residence Management and senior team to ensure any issues are found and addressed as they are identified. After the Initial roll-out, CATTS can continue the Policing Phase for as long as Residence Management deem it helpful.
Why this Approach?
CATTS developed this approach after contact by residential units that needed SLT/OT input to address identified service issues. Instead of providing the requested consults which would result in almost indefinite support to ensure continued success, we created a model to empower the onsite teams. The training is delivered by CATTS Founder and Lead Speech and Language Therapist, Marijke Morris, along with members of the CATTS Clinical team onsite at the residence. The CATTS Project Management system then keeps residence management at all levels appraised of the delivery of the approach through all phases, to ensure that it enhances, not interferes with the smooth running of the Residential units.
“SOS Kilkenny Ltd., a service for adults with intellectual disabilities and autism, employed CATTS to carry out individual service user assessments, staff training in developing communication strategies and staff training in communication passports. We found Marijke and Lisa to be extremely knowledgeable in their field, with a hands-on approach to instructing how to improve the communication of the people we support. Staff were equipped with a tool kit of strategies, that they can now apply to their practice. SOS would use the services of CATTS in the future.” Margaret Larkin, Aspect Manager, SOS Kilkenny Ltd.
What to do next:
If you think your service (or the service your loved one is a resident in) would benefit from this approach, please contact CATTS to discuss. We can only engage directly with senior members of any service as positive change for the well-being of those in care comes from the top.
Ownership of the CATTS Staff-Led Training Approach:
If you are a healthcare professional, and would like to offer this approach directly in your service, or for support to third parties, please contact CATTS to discuss training and licensing for you and your team.
Currently CATTS have not authorised any other providers to offer this approach to meet residents needs in care facilities.