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Resources about Emergency Communication



Disaster Preparedness for People with Complex Communication Needs

Pamela Kennedy describes the steps for emergency preparation that are critical for all individuals with complex communication needs. Free webcast



Exceptional Parent reprint, December 2009

This article describes the experiences of Pamela Kennedy

Augmentative Communication News, Vol 19, #4, Dec 2007/Jan 2008.

Through the first hand experience of many individuals and a call to action, this issue of AC News reviews the impact of world disasters and humanitarian emergencies on people with disabilities and those who are called upon to support them at such times. This edition of AC News presents the experiences and perspective of people who have complex communication needs, their family members, relief workers and those who were called upon to rebuild communities after hurricane Katrina.

AT Focus, Vol9, Issue 4 – Summer 2007.

This issue of AT Focus provides information on devices that may be used to prevent or alert individuals with disabilities during an impending emergency. The publication also lists related websites

Communication Displays


Emergency Communication 4 All.

Free downloadable picture boards in English, Spanish, and Haitian-Creole (Diane Bryen, Temple University). This communication aid has pictures of important words. It also has some important phrases and a small letter "keyboard." On the back is a personal information form to be filled out by you, by a family member, a familiar support person, your doctor, or by an emergency responder.




Free downloadable letter and word boards in English and Spanish (Diane Bryen, Temple University). This letter and word/phrase board can be used with someone who needs communication assistance and who can read and spell. On the back of this communication aid is a personal information form to be filled out by you, by a family member, a familiar support person, your doctor, or by an emergency responder.



Tips for Emergency Personnel

Tips for supporting the communication of persons with complex communication needs

EAD & Associates, LLC.

EAD & Associates, LLC provides expertise in emergency management and special needs planning that ensures people with disabilities are prepared for natural and manmade disasters, emergencies and their consequences. EAD and associates a disaster Readiness Wheel for people with disabilities. One side of the wheel provides preparedness steps while the reverse side provides response information.

Indoff and Vidatak E-Z Board.

Provides customized augmentative communication displays for the voice-disabled in acute-care and other hospital settings

Relief Organisations

United States Department of Justice (DOJ)

An ADA Guide for Local Governments: Making Community Emergency Preparedness and Response Programs Accessible to People with Disabilities.

June Isaacson Kailes (JIK)

Disaster Resources for People with Disabilities, Disability-related Organizations and Emergency Managers.

Center for Disability Issues and the Health Professions (CDIHP)

Emergency Evacuation Preparedness Guide

FEMA (Dept of Homeland Security).

Disaster information, assistance, recovery and rebuilding

READY: Prepare, Plan and Stay Informed.

This site has an excellent and fun section for children to explore and prepare for emergencies.

The Red Cross.

 Information on “Go Bags.”

CDIHP, Centre for Disability Issues and Health Professionals.

This Centre provides an Emergency Evacuation Preparedness Guide

AAC Organisations


The US Chapter of ISAAC posts information concerning humanitarian emergencies that affect people who rely on AAC

  • Disaster Preparedness Tips for Emergency Management Personnel: People with Limited Speech and
  • Disaster Preparedness for People with Limited Speech: Taking Responsibility for Your Safety and Tips for AAC Advocates.



Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Communication Enhancement) is hosting information on disaster preparedness on their website and inviting others to link to it. They have worked in collaboration with USSAAC and News-2-You to develop a range of useful materials for (1) people with complex communication needs and their families, (2) emergency management personnel and (3) AAC advocates. They are also conducting a study of vocabulary that should be available during emergency situations.


News-2-You® is a family-run business started by Jacquie Clark, a speech-language pathologist with over 30 years experience. The current events newspaper began as a weekly classroom project utilizing concise, symbol-supported text to deliver current events news to a population previously denied this information.


Journal articles

Bryen, D.N. (2009). Communicating during times of natural or man-made emergencies. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine: An Interdisciplinary Approach, 2 (2), 123-129.


Bryen, D. N. (2010). Communication during times of natural or man-made emergencies: The potential of speech-generating devices. International Journal of Emergency Management, 7 (1), 17-27.


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