The Coalition for Assistive Technology in Oregon (CATO) is a charitable organization with 501(c)(3) status. CATO was founded in 1989 in response to an urgent need to increase access to assistive technology (AT) for children. Children with disabilities can acquire new skills and more fully participate in the lives of their families and communities when they use AT. But many had no way to acquire the technology they needed for use at home. While AT equipment may be available at school, there was and still is a need for resources to help families of children with disabilities acquire AT equipment for use at home.
CATO provides assistive technology to Oregon children with disabilities and their families through a long-term loan program. To qualify for a long-term AT loan from CATO a team of people who are familiar with the child agree to support the AT use, provide evidence of a successful trial period with the equipment and submit data to demonstrate that the technology has the potential to make a difference for the child.
When AT is placed with a family, the family and child can keep it for as long as it is needed. CATO retains ownership of the equipment so that CATO can cover the costs of equipment repairs when they are needed. In the event the child no longer needs it, equipment is returned to CATO and loaned to another family.
In 2016, CATO developed a new grant option. Oregon education agencies that wish to explore the use of AT in new ways may apply for AT project funds from CATO. The maximum grant amount is $2000 with a possibility of a $1000 extension after initial grant reports are submitted.
CATO raises funds to purchase AT Devices for the loan and grant programs through the sale of publications (e.g., Education Tech Points, Assistive Technology Pointers for Parents, ABC Quick Sheets). Funds for are also acquired through collaborations with foundations, training events sponsored by CATO and. through cash and equipment donations.
CATO reviews requests from families and agencies as they are submitted. There is no deadline for applications, but it may take up to two months for grant reviews to be completed. Click on this link to learn more about the appropriate CATO grant application form for a child you know or to submit an agency project.