Annual Appeal – Corey’s Story

Nov 22, 2022 | Annual Appeal

Every day, CHAT works to serve children with few – if any – other options for speech and language therapy.

One such child is Corey, a 16-year-old from the west side of Chicago. One in 12 children has a speech and language disorder, and Corey is one of them. He is also on Medicaid and relied on the public school system to support him.

Reaching children like Corey will continue to be at the forefront of CHAT’s mission. We exist for them, opening our doors so they can access life-changing therapy.

Corey has been receiving special education services for many years, but despite documented communication concerns and explicit requests to the school, a formal speech evaluation was never completed. Because they were unaware of alternatives, Corey and his family were never connected to accessible resources for the services he needed.

When Corey found himself in legal trouble and was brought in for questioning, he was subjected to a 13-hour interrogation. He struggled to communicate with the officers about the incident and did not understand his rights. Rather than saying he wanted his lawyer, he said that he had one, and so no lawyer ever came. The cards were stacked against Corey, whose untreated communication disorder contributed to his detention in the juvenile system.

When Corey was preparing for another court appearance, his public defender connected with CHAT and requested a formal speech and language evaluation. We found that Corey had significant trouble expressing himself, especially when telling more complex stories, explaining the communication challenges during his interrogation.

In part due to CHAT’s evaluation, the judge ruled that if Corey found himself in legal trouble again, he would remain in the juvenile system, rather than be tried as an adult. Notably, the judge quoted the CHAT report as part of the reasoning for this finding.

Had Corey had access to services sooner, his life trajectory could have been so very different.