You are currently viewing an archived page from the AAC-RERC II (2003-2008) web site. New content is available at the web site for the AAC-RERC III (2008-2013) at

AAC-RERC header image

Disaster Preparedness and People with Complex Communication Needs (CCN)

Disasters (natural or man-induced) and the humanitarian emergencies that arise thereafter are in the news almost daily. When there are no warnings or they are late, absent or unheeded, casualties can be enormous.

People with disabilities/activity limitations are particularly vulnerable. Often, there needs are not considered. Community-based entities need to plan and prepare in advance so the needs of all citizens are considered.

The AAC community has a key role to play in ensuring that people with limited speech have access to communication during an emergency or disaster. While each situation is different and not everything can be anticipated, planning and preparations ALWAYS result in better outcomes.

The AAC community needs to help people with complex communication needs (CCN) and their families prepare AND we need to increase the awareness among policy makers and first responders (firemen, policemen, ambulance drivers, etc.). AAC Advocates need to spread the word about disaster preparedness and the needs of people with CCN at the local, regional and national and international level.

Click to access Information and materials

All materials are the result of a collaboration among the United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (USSAAC) Gulf Relief Committee, the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Communication Enhancement (AAC-RERC), and News-2-You, Inc.

Special thanks to Pamela Kennedy, June Kailes, Jacquie Clark, Diane Bryen, Anne Warrick, Sarah Blackstone and participants in the AAC ACTion Day held in New Orleans (February 2008) for their contributions to this effort.

Please revisit these pages often.We plan to add materials and make modifications. For comments and suggestions regarding content, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Duke Univ. | InvoTek, Inc. | Penn State Univ. | Children's Hospital Boston | Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln | Oregon Health & Science Univ. | State Univ. of NY, Buffalo