Communication is the cornerstone of our human lives. Without the ability to communicate with one another, we would be lost. Yet most of us take this very complex part of our lives for granted. Sometimes communicating with the rest of the world can be extremely difficult for those with different abilities. Many feel misunderstood or unheard, and this keeps them from being able to fully experience all life has to offer. It also makes it difficult for helping professionals to understand how to serve those with disabilities during a crisis.
A new program through The Arc of Benton County is seeking to change that, by providing those experiencing functional communication impairments with a CommCard. According to The Arc, the “Comm” in CommCard stands for “Communication and Accommodations” – based on the belief that every person has the basic right to communicate.
CommCards seek to create effective communication channels, helping professionals such as police, health professionals, and transportation workers and those with both obvious and invisible disabilities. The CommCard is carried by the person, and is a voluntary, customizable card that includes the name of the cardholder, contact information for two advocates, behaviors that could be misunderstood, and suggestions for how to communicate with the person. There is also a space on the card to include a conversation topic that could be stress-diffusing.
The Corvallis Police recently posted on their Facebook page that they are joining forces with The Arc to help hand these cards out, as well as participate in training to teach both people with disabilities and officers how to best utilize the CommCards. If a person is carrying a CommCard, they can treat it just like an ID, and let the police or other professional know that they are carrying a card to help them communicate.
For More information about The CommCard Program, or to submit an application for your own CommCard, you can visit arcacademy.org/commcard. You can also watch the video below to see how CommCards will help those in the community communicate better with one another.