New Website Offers Solutions for Engaging Nonverbal and Limited Communicators

CHAT Collective Introduces Tools and Techniques for Identification, Communication Facilitation and Socialization


March 12, 2015  (Fayettville, NY)  Founded on the belief that “everyone can communicate,” CHAT Collective launched a new website this week dedicated to inspiring and empowering society to engage effectively with nonverbal and limited communicators.  CHAT Collective, which stands for “Connecting Humans through Awareness and Technique” has developed innovative tools and techniques to benefit those who have communications challenges brought on by birth, strokes and traumatic brain or other injuries.

“By introducing the terms, ‘nonverbal communicators’ and ‘limited communicators,’ we’re hoping to effect an entire paradigm shift that disproves the assumption that communication can only be verbal and that encourages people to learn other ways to interact with those who can’t speak or speak well,” said Barb Tresness, the founder of CHAT Collective.  “This will be a game-changer in the lives of those who have felt excluded from relationships or who have experienced frustration or danger due to others’ inability to understand them.”

The tools and techniques featured on the site have been created and tested by communication specialists and are categorized according to identification, facilitation and socialization.

“Too often, people either don’t recognize or quickly dismiss those who are incapable of speaking, so our first priority was to create items that positively identify individuals as ‘nonverbal or limited communicators,’” said Tresness, the mother of a nonverbal child.  “These can be critical in emergency situations when the individual is alone or his/her augmentative and alternative communication device (AAC) fails.”

Identification tools include t-shirts, communication cards, personalized online profile cards, dog tags and tags for wheelchairs, backpacks, etc.

The second, soon-to-be-released category includes tools and techniques designed to facilitate conversation, and the third features group activities to promote socialization. They include art, games and fantasy sports.

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, communication facilitation and socialization of those with communication challenges brought on through birth, strokes and traumatic brain or other injuries.


Barbara Tresness

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