Since 2015, communication sciences & disorders (CSD) faculty members Sharon Mankey and Mariesa Rang have taught area first responders how to communicate with people with verbal disabilities.
This week their work was celebrated in the Journal Gazette’s article, “Nonverbal Gain Way to Talk with First Responders.” Many individuals with verbal disabilities use alternative augmentative communication (AAC) boards and systems to communicate, but first responders rarely receive training about AAC communication. This leaves everyone at a disadvantage when dealing with non-verbal individuals in a crisis. Mankey and Rang have made it their mission to train every first responder in Allen County, familiarizing them with AAC boards and acting out emergency scenarios that could occur with verbally disabled individuals. They’ve currently trained three hundred first responders and are still going strong. Learn more about Mankey and Rang’s efforts here.
You can also read previous Endeavors features, “Communication Sciences & Disorders Faculty Teach Fort Wayne First Responders” and “SW Allen First Responders Join Students at the 8th Annual AAC Theater Camp.”