Welcome to CHAT and thank you for your interest in us! It’s my privilege to tell you why we’re here, and how you can help.
Diverse learners are often overlooked or misunderstood, especially those whose families have limited resources, limited English, or who are unsure about their rights. As one of the country’s only nonprofits dedicated to speech and language services and a pioneer in communication justice, we have a unique responsibility to serve and advocate for those children, particularly now as COVID-19 continues to widen social justice disparities. The opportunity to do this brought me to CHAT in 2017.
I continue to advocate actively for the right supports and services for my own children. It is effortful work, and I’ve got years of legal training, advocacy experience, and resources at my disposal. If navigating the special education system is effortful for privileged parents like me, it can be impossibly daunting to families with greater financial obstacles and language barriers. COVID has only highlighted these inequities and increased challenges for families of children who need special education services and related supports. On top of that, many families have no access to private therapy because providers won’t take Medicaid or because they are underinsured. One of CHAT’s greatest accomplishments is providing therapy to a record number of children in the summer of 2020, 70% of whom received scholarship funds to attend.
Centered in social justice, CHAT provides life-changing therapy through our clinic, in schools, and out in the community to those with few—if any—other options. CHAT’s speech-language pathologists (SLPs) tailor services specifically to their students’ and clients’ needs, approach their work with deep cultural humility, and understand the need for systemic change in healthcare and education so that children in need can be more sustainably supported. We’ve served children for over 40 years, and we're growing our programs and services to reach those who need them most. Our newest offerings include teletherapy expanded to 100% of CHAT services, an Executive Functioning Program, and webinars to help families and teachers of diverse learners to navigate online learning. We are expanding our community partnerships to reach children impacted by societal inequities, including the criminal legal system, domestic violence, and homelessness.
Karine Faden Fiore
Karine brings almost 20 years of professional training and experience in advocacy, negotiation, client service, strategy, communication, and management to support and grow CHAT’s team and impact for good. She joined CHAT from GG+A, a fundraising consultancy for nonprofits, where she was Senior Vice President and Chief Client Officer. Previously, Karine was Managing Director at United Airlines, first in the Legal Department and then in Finance. Before joining United, Karine practiced antitrust law at the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where she focused on aviation.
Karine holds a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center, a Master's of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from Amherst College. She is licensed to practice law in New York, is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and serves on the Board of the League of Women Voters of Arlington Heights. Before law school, Karine worked as a writer and as a translator, and she speaks fluent Spanish and Catalan. She lives in Arlington Heights, Illinois, with her husband, four children, and their rescue dog, Rosie Rainbow.