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For information on the new RERC on AAC, funded by NIDILRR from 2014-2019, please visit rerc-aac.psu.edu.
Emergency Communication: Disaster Preparation, Response and Recovery for People with 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.
Pages of Information and Materials
- Additional Resouces. Popular resources include:
- Augmentative Communication News. A newsletter about Complex Humanitarian Emergencies and AAC. (Sarah W. Blackstone, Editor.). PDF format. Augmentative Communication Inc.
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
- Emergency Communication 4 All. Free downloadable picture boards in English, Spanish, and Haitian-Creole (Diane Bryen, Temple University)
- AAC and Preparedness, Rescue and Relief Efforts: Ensuring the Safety of People with Complex Communication Needs (CCN). Presentation at the International; Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, August 7, 2008. Sarah Blackstone, Anne Warrick, Pamela Kennedy. PDF Format.
- Resource List: Emergency Preparedness: Improving Communication Access for People with Limited Speech
- Billy Builds a Kit. A story about a child who gets his family to develop an emergency kit. (by Pamela Kennedy with illustrations by Allison Shumaker). PDF format. News-to-You, Inc.
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 SarahBlack (@) aol.com