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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Childrens Assistive Technology Service

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services

Target demographics: children with physical limitations

Direct beneficiaries per year: 905 children across Virginia, providing 1009 pieces of refurbished adaptive equipment

Geographic areas served: the entire state of Virginia and beyond

Programs: Through our re-use program we are able to donate adaptive equipment to children and their families so they can continue to be active members in their community and raise community awareness. Adaptive equipment, such as standing frames, gait trainers, and adaptive seating devices also assist in working towards therapy goals while in the home. Although this equipment is necessary for a full life, insurance often times denies a families request to have the cost covered, and the price tag associated with this kind of equipment is steep. CATS is able to quickly get a child into a new piece of equipment, at no cost to the family, ensuring that no child with physical limitations is left on the sidelines. It is our mission to move kids ahead, four wheels at a time!

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Lia VanderClute T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my son outgrew the standard, toddler-sized jogging stroller he’d logged so many miles in with his dad, CATS helped me get my hands on one made especially for big kids and grownups. It was the best Father’s Day gift I’ve ever given, and I didn't pay a dime for it.

We then gave his smaller stroller to a smaller child, and now they're both able to log lots of happy miles!

Since then, I have referred many families to CATS when they're looking for wheelchairs, gait trainers, adaptive seating, bikes, communication devices, etc. These things are EXPENSIVE out of pocket, and all too often, insurance companies decide they're not going to pay.

I am so glad CATS is here to fill this need, both for families with outgrown items to pass along and families with kiddos who need a like-new item to enhance their life.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CATS has been an invaluable resource to me as a PT. Their website's layout is clear so that I can easily find needed equipment for the families I serve. Their employees and volunteers are very quick to respond to requests, and I have been able to find equipment for families in times of need. I have gotten equipment quickly for a child after an injury until they could receive their own equipment from insurance. I have also gotten much needed equipment for families who had received denials from insurance. Their volunteers have helped to bring equipment to the different sites where I work, often within 1 week of contact. That is far quicker than the 3-4 months it would take to receive equipment through insurance. I am so thankful for this organization and the numerous ways they have helped my patients and families!

Katie W.5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been using CATS since 2017(ish). My son was born with a disability and he was in need of a stranded. It was frustrating because Medicaid denied this product and I was unable to afford this product out of pocket. This is when my Physical Therapist introduced me to CATS. We filled out the form and looked at their website inventory and within the week I had a stander. It was AMAZING! There was a stream of communication and someone was kind enough to transport the stander from Roanoke to Charlottesville to Richmond. Since then I have received two gait trainers, one of which I still have. To have a child with a disability is extremely taxing, but this Organization truly understands the importance of early childhood development and the tools needed to obtain these milestones ...all while dealing with frustrations of insurance. I can honestly say, without their help, my son would not be where he is today. It was a broken puzzle and this is an Organization that has put the pieces back together. They are AWESOME and truly care!

Jan S.5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter's PT introduced us to Children's Assistive Technology Service (CATS) and it has literally been a game changer for her. Through CATS, we have been able to access a wide range of medical equipment to trial and help her soar. Instead of waiting months (LITERALLY months) for insurance to agree for a piece of equipment, we've gotten stuff in a matter of weeks. We have been able to transition to different equipment as she's grown and become more mobile. The folks we have worked with through CATS (staff and volunteers) are genuinely there to help kids like our daughter.

I feel like I can honestly say, I don't think we would be where we are today without all the wonderful things CATS has done for our daughter and us.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Children's Assistive Technology Service is a great resource for helping families access equipment that they need for free of charge. Many families can not afford to purchase equipment such as a bath seat, walker, or stander. With this program, they are able to work with a therapist to get the equipment they need to help their children stand, walk, and sit in a chair. Children's Assistive Technology Service also has communication devices. I was able to help one of my families get a little mack button switch and a switch activated toy so that their child could operate his own toy. This program gives kids the ability to play, learn, grow, and participate in activities with their families.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

5 years ago our son Evan needed a gait trainer that he was denied coverage for by his insurance but thanks to CATS we were able to get it for him quickly and efficiently. Since then I have volunteered with CATS, donated Evans out grown equipment, helped other families get equipment and even got additional pieces for Evan that he was once again denied for. Thanks to CATS Evan has been able to utilize his equipment to grow stronger and more independent. It has been wonderful watching CATS grow and expand across VA the last few years, helping so many children and their families!

Katie157

Client Served

Rating: 5

We were waiting on our wheelchair to come in this year when school was starting. My sons adaptive stroller was way too small for him & was starting to become unsafe. Right before school started we found a larger adaptive stroller that he was able to start school in and safely get to and from on the bus until his wheelchair came in THREE months later! They made the process so easy.

Sabrina D.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a parent of a child that has utilized several of your items, we are eternally grateful! If it had not been for CATS we would have had to wait, and potentially be turned down, for insurance approval or spend thousands of dollars out of pocket for our son. Not only is the process extremely easy but the volunteers are wonderful to work with as well. Thank you so much for all you do.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have helped many families access equipment from bath chair , wheelchairs and mobile standers to arm splints. It has been so helpful to look on the website and find equipment and then easily request it for my families. I love that we can get equipment quickly for a child - I work with infants and toddlers (birth to three) so it is frequently the first time for them to get the equipment so it is wonderful that we don't have to wait months to get them something then need now.

Jennifer Kane S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter got her first power wheelchair from CATS. She was having success with a powerchair with ASL head array at CHOR. By getting a powerchair from CATS, she was able to practice outside of CHOR, at home and at school. Once she had enough experience and success to justify buying her own chair, we brought the first powerchair back to CATS for another child to try. We've also gotten chairs and a stander from CATS.

Alexis D.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

CATS has been incredible helpful in finding equipment for my 2.5yo!
Eli has Pitt-Hopkins Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy, we don’t know if he will ever be able to walk but we will certainly continue to work beside him and try! Eli was able to get a stander through insurance, and because he got the stander they wouldn’t approve a gait trainer in the same year - but CATS was there for us! Now that he’s outgrown the first gait trainer it is helping out his buddy who also has CP!
Eli also couldn’t sit until he was 2, and still often falls over, CATS provides us with a bath chair that we can also use for painting activity and more!
Cats does so much and takes some of the stress off of families ❤️

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a physical therapist in an outpatient pediatric clinic I frequently have patients in need of adaptive equipment. The ability to find needed equipment on the CATs website has drastically improved the speed in which my patients can obtain and begin using this equipment. The parents of these patients are extremely excited to not have to wait for insurance coverage for their children to get what they need. A huge Thank you to all of the CATs team. They do a wonderful job and are a true asset to our community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with CATS since the very beginning. It was so nice to finally have somewhere to donate my daughters used pediatric equipment that was sitting in our basement. I’m thankful that this wonderful organization has found other children to be able to get more use out of it. Not only have we donated we have been thankful to be able to obtain equipment that my daughter has needed instead of waiting months to a year for her equipment to go through the insurance process. I’m beyond blessed to have this wonderful organization in my area. I wouldn’t know how to live without CATS in our lives!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with CATS since 2015. I have been a pediatric physical therapist for many years and have seen how getting children up and moving really improves the quality of both their life and their family's live. Over the last few years we have learned that children may require more than one piece of equipment to help with both mobility and activities of daily living, while funding sources have decreased. Dealing with insurance companies can be very stressful and time consuming for the families. Children outgrow their equipment and is often stored in attics, basements and garages. CATS links these two things and with a lot of hard work from the entire group is growing across the state. Francie Mitchell PT, DPT, MS, PCS
Board Certified Clinical Specialist
Pediatric Physical Therapy

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with CATS since the spring of 2015. This program has been amazingly helpful to children with disabilities across Virginia that need adaptive equipment and assistive technology. I got involved with the program, because as a pediatric occupational therapist, I was looking for options to provide children with adaptive equipment while they were waiting for insurance to cover it, if insurance denied it or if they did not have insurance. It has been wonderful to have this option for families, especially when insurance says no.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CATS has been a vital nonprofit in our community since opening it's doors. We have a huge need for equipment for patients in our area that unfortunately is being denied more and more by insurance. This nonprofit allows children to be able to better access their environment and truly LIVE!! I can't say enough good things about this program and the men and women who run it. THANK YOU!

Board Member

Rating: 5

CATS is providing a much needed service to provide children the medical equipment for the opportunities that they need to participate in life. From a medical perspective having the right equipment available in a timely manner can mean making the next developmental milestone, preventing surgery, giving a voice, and promoting physiologic status/stability (gut, lungs, bone health). From an overall life perspective it means that a child can go to school/church/playgrounds with their family, can play with peers, can stand to look another child in the eyes, make their wants/needs known, and just play to be a kid.

CATS has filled a long-time and large void in serving Virginia's children. Many pediatric therapists (myself included) kept equipment when children outgrew or no longer needed it knowing that another child would come along who would also need something similar in the future. Families would not throw the equipment out due to the cost and how hard it was to obtain the first time. This led to equipment being stored in garages, sheds, basements and even barns without a way to access equipment that you don't know exists out there. CATS has been able to organize a process for making this equipment visible, transportable, and available in a timely manner to ANY child who receives medical services in the state of Virginia.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a therapist and I serve in an Equipment Clinic to assist patients in obtaining medically necessary devices to help them participate in daily life. Insurances are becoming more critical in what devices are approved which is leaving patients without devices that are essential to help them participate in daily life. CATS has been able to allow me options to offer families during the long wait period: either with a substitute device while physicians and therapists appeal the denials or as an alternative device in the event appeals do not work. CATS is a critical service in the medical model to allow these children accessibility. I am so grateful for all they do.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CATs is an exceptional organization that provides families access to free pediatric medical equipment and assistive technology. Their timely services give opportunities to these special children through the re-use of equipment at no cost that, unfortunately, may not be covered by insurance.

Laura Winchell C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer for Children's Assistive Technology Services. I have been so impressed with the lengths our non profit goes to in order to help support our children with disabilities. The mission to reuse and recycle assistive devices is note worthy. Often times our kiddos are unable to get a piece of needed equipment as insurance denies their claim. This equipment helps these children move, participate, travel, enjoy the world they live in as well as truly experience the fun adventures of being a kid! From walkers to standers to wheelchairs and communication devices to bathing chairs and strollers to go baby go vehicles, customized for each child... if you're looking for a fulfilling volunteer opportunity, look no further. Volunteer today. Hallowheels is coming up and we need your help!

Cathie C.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Of course I'm a board member and I know we are on to something great when we are able to recruit hundreds of wonderful volunteers. With so many pitching in, we are able to take second hand equipment and make it ready for re-use, meeting the immediate needs of children with disabilities. CATS provides adaptive and mobility equipment for children to try out; to use while waiting for equipment to arrive; or when insurance denies an item recommended by the physician or therapist. Hand me downs for a hand up also benefits those families whose children have outgrown equipment or no longer need it. Because there are so many of these families who are happy to pass these items on, CATS continues to have items coming in at about the same rate as items go out. It works! And it makes sense, especially for growing children whose needs are likely to change faster than health insurance might recognize.

Connie Collins J.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CATS is an incredible organization. They do everything in their power to help children meet unmet equipment needs. I knew of a family who, when their child was discharged could no longer walk. There was no effort on the hospitals part to get her a mobility device...CATS sprang into action to get her a wheelchair so she could get to medical appointments. Donate as much as you can, it goes directly to supporting kids in Virginia.