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ERIC Number: EJ866342
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0046-9157
Emergency Communication: A Unique Work in Progress for Those with Disabilities
Murphy, Patti
Exceptional Parent, v39 n11 p20, 22-23 Nov 2009
Clear communication in the best of human circumstances is often a work in progress, a goal yet to be attained. Efforts to make it happen in an emergency may be thwarted by the shock and distress of people involved or the need to get to a safe place fast. Unique complications may arise for people with limited, if any, natural speech and who are reliant on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tools and strategies as their voice. As many in the AAC and disability advocacy communities have learned through unfortunate events spanning the past decade, finding appropriate help in a catastrophic situation--or offering it--requires careful planning. Significant gaps remain in community emergency preparedness for populations with special needs in the four years since Hurricane Katrina, according to an August 12th "Washington Times" article summarizing a report by the National Council on Disability to be released this year. Its message echoes that of "Saving Lives: Emergency Planning for People with Disabilities," a similar report the council published in 2005 and based on post-9/11 research on the accessibility of emergency preparations across disability groups. While there is no direct reference to AAC in the 2005 document, the report cites the need to ensure that communication is possible during emergencies for individuals with speech, hearing or visual limitations. The "Times" article notes that the council, in its 2009 report, recommended improvements ensuring safe transport of assistive equipment and allocation of recovery funding for replacement of damaged equipment. For many individuals, that could mean an electronic speech communication device. The author discussses the advantage of electronic speech communication devices, such as the new DynaVox Xpress, in emergency preparations for those with disabilities.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A