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. 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 a challenge for privileged parents like me, it can be impossibly daunting to families with financial obstacles and language barriers. The pandemic 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. We are now in network with all regional Medicaid, and welcoming many families who have been turned away elsewhere.
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 individuals in need can be more sustainably supported. We’ve served Chicagoland for over 40 years, and we're growing our programs and services to reach those who need them most. Our newest offerings include an Executive Functioning Program, a Life Skills Program, and the development of a juvenile justice practice to help court-involved and at risk youth with communication disorders. We have expanded our community partnerships to reach individuals who face barriers to access, and will run programs at five partner sites in summer 2023. In 2021, we established the Hallie Quinn Brown Internship, a paid summer program position for aspiring BIPOC SLPs to help increase representation in the field, and the only one of its kind. We will soon roll out neurodiversity-affirming consults for families of Autistic individuals to support their communication, in whatever form it may take.
Karine Faden Fiore
Karine brings more than 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 is Co-President of 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.