FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y., April 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Founded on the belief that "everyone can communicate," an organization known as CHAT Collective launched this week with a website and products designed to inspire and empower society to engage effectively with people who can't speak. CHAT Collective, which stands for "Connecting Humans through Awareness and Technique" is dedicated to helping those whom it describes as "nonverbal and limited communicators" due to disabilities, strokes and traumatic brain or other injuries.
"By introducing the terms, 'nonverbal communicators' and 'limited communicators,' we're hoping to disprove the assumption that communication can only be verbal, and instead, to encourage people to explore other ways to interact with those who can't speak or speak well," said Barbara Huntress Tresness, the founder of CHAT Collective. "This will be a game-changer in the lives of adults and children who have felt excluded from relationships or who have experienced frustration or danger due to others' inability to understand them."
CHAT Collective has designed a revolutionary "communications system" of simple, effective and inexpensive tools to help family and friends, therapists, teachers, healthcare providers and others to identify and communicate with nonverbal and limited communicators. The identification products include t-shirts, communication cards, personalized online profile cards, dog tags and gel tags for wheelchairs, backpacks, etc.
"These can be life-saving in emergency situations when a nonverbal or limited communicator is alone or his/her Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device fails," said Tresness, the mother of a nonverbal child.
CHAT Collective is also introducing products, created and tested by communications specialists, to help facilitate critical and social communication. Color-coded rubber wristbands called "CHAT Bands" are designed to be worn by verbal communicators while posing Yes/No questions. The respondents then audibly, physically or visually indicate which CHAT band (the green "Yes" band or the red "No" band) corresponds to their answers.
"The CHAT bands have revolutionized how I work with non-verbal patients," says pediatric physical therapist Holly Quinn of New York. "Instead of relying on facial expressions and my clinical kinesthetic knowledge, I can now ask my patients questions like, 'Does this feel like a stretch,' or 'Is it too much of a stretch?'"
"The CHAT bands are so versatile and useful for so many different diagnoses," she says. "Each patient who is able to use these bands can now have a better physical therapy session."
Tresness's journey to becoming a leading advocate for nonverbal and limited communicators and to founding CHAT Collective began in 2000, when her son, Graham, was born with cerebral palsy. Finding herself, the local medical community and the public school system poorly equipped to meet the needs of a nonverbal child, she embarked upon a worldwide search for techniques, technologies and treatments to free him from the walls of silence that imprisoned him. Tresness is a licensed craniosacral therapist and serves on the Board of Advisors of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, a leading research and advocacy program for persons with disabilities.
About CHAT Collective
CHAT Collective, an acronym for "Connecting Humans through Awareness and Technique," was founded in 2014 to inspire and encourage society to engage effectively with nonverbal and limited communicators through advocacy and education. The CHAT Collective Communications System is comprised of innovative tools and techniques to assist in the identification of, and communication and socialization with, those with communication challenges brought on by disabilities, strokes and traumatic brain or other injuries.
SOURCE CHAT Collective