Clinical Assessment Therapy and Training Services – 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) services to babies, children, adolescents and adults. Clients are seen individually or in groups, and also provide training services to Parents, Teachers and Care Staff.
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. CATTS originally provided SLT and OT, however refocused to provide SLT only as well as training services in 2018.
Since 2020, CATTS have moved exclusively to providing Online Speech and Language Therapy as we have found this delivery model suits a massive range of children and adults of all ages and abilities. Besides being just as good (in fact, better with many client situations), this allows people who otherwise would never have had access to a therapist in their local area, receive the help they need. From a clinical practice point of view, it allows our team to focus more on specific client groups so as to build on best practices in these areas, instead of seeing a wide range of clinical issues from whoever lives within 45 minutes drive of a clinic. This provides a win-win for clients and therapist, as well as those people who are waiting for public/private SLT in their areas, as any clinical need that can be dealt with remotely, is allowed to be, and those for whom online therapy is not an option, should have (hopefully) a shorter wait time locally.
In addition to online therapy, CATTS also provide training services to Parents, Teachers and Care Staff. We have made our most frequently requested and useful training courses available for anyone to view online in video format here: www.cattscourses.com
(Think of it like a Netflix for special education and speech therapy support information!)
To find out more, or to see what the steps are to get started with online speech therapy, just click here: www.cattsireland.com
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.
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.
With emerging technologies, the renewed (quite rightly so) focus on saving the planet for human habitation by reducing greenhouse gasses in areas such as curbing unnecessary travel, the newfound mindset from many people (again, quite rightly so) to focus more on family/friendships vs work grind with use of their time, means that online therapy is increasingly the way forward.
Instead of a 30-45 minute trip (based on our client location data to clinic from 2010-2020) on average per session, our speech therapy clients now just log on 5 minutes before their session*, from the comfort of their own home. Just like we pioneered the ‘pop up clinic’ model in 2010 around Ireland, (imitation is the greatest form of flattery), we are now delighted to lead the way in Speech Teletherapy in Ireland.
*Maybe prep time is 10 minutes with young children under 5, who need a snack and a visit to the loo before their online SLT session starts! 🙂
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.
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!)