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Natural Communication, Inc.
P.O.Box 36412  
Canton, OH  44708



Our first informal meeting, held in 1984, consisted of six parents of children with hearing impairments who wanted to share their stories and receive emotional support in return. But it was not long before they wanted to be more than a place for mutual empathy. Most felt strongly about the auditory-verbal philosophy of communication; yet only a handful of people in the surrounding area knew about it. When a parent explained to someone what method they'd chosen for their child, the reaction was usually one of skeptism or polite condescension. At that point, they knew their mission was to spread the word about auditory-verbal and to prove their point by making their "hearing and speaking" children visible to the parents of newly diagnosed children. Nick and CharlieNow they needed a name for the group. The "attorney/mom" of the group suggested becoming incorporated and started the paperwork. The wheels were in motion. Two co-founders, Charlie Lim and Nick Calcagno, wanted a name that was more descriptive of our communication option. Harriet, Nick's wife, suggested the word "natural" because the children of the group learned language naturally -- through listening and repeating "natural communication." The name wasn't a hit with the majority of members, but the papers were ready and Charlie and Nick felt the name spoke volumes. And so, amidst some groans, Natural Communication, Inc. was born! The next step was to produce and distribute a brochure that explained the group's purpose and defined the auditory-verbal philosophy. Neonatal units of hospitals were targeted to let parents of newborns know about this exciting option for a child with a hearing impairment.

Although the group now had a name and a purpose, it seemed to be stagnant. NCI needed more members. During the "lean" years, a core of dedicated members kept the group together by holding meetings and logging minutes with just the officers present. By 1990, membership had grown and with new members came new enthusiasm. The result was in 1992, NCI produced a videotape depicting the group's children and a brief description of auditory-verbal therapy. I Can Hear truly put NCI on the map. A generous grant from the Geoffrey Foundation of Kennebunkport, Maine, enabled the group to caption the videotape and help with distribution costs. All the Nancy Gerbetzwhile, professionals like Carol Flexer (Ph.D., Audiology, Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist), Denise Wray (Ph.D., Speech-Language Pathology, Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist), and Ginny Howell (M.A., Speech-Language Pathology) devoted both time and knowledge to keep NCI motivated and focused. The group has since produced a second videotape: I Can Hear II. Most recently, NCI published a book, We Can Hear and Speak: The Power of Auditory-Verbal Communication for Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Thanks to the distributor, the
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf in Washington, D.C., the message is reaching parents and professionals all over the world.

It was just 14 years ago when Charlie Lim said he wished NCI would someday be known everywhere. Although the founding members laughed, they secretly hoped such recognition would occur. It was a wish that began with a passionately shared belief: Auditory-Verbal works! The members of Natural Communication, Inc. knew it and wanted the world to know it too!

This site was last updated 06/09/09