IUPD, agencies will be provided with image boards to facilitate communication with non-verbal people

The Indiana University Police Department will receive picture communication boards to help its officers better communicate with non-verbal people or those who may not speak English. The boards are part of a project funded by a grant from the Psi Iota Xi sorority.

Emergency communication boards are visual tools meant to help emergency personnel communicate with people who don’t respond to verbal instructions or questions, according to Chileda, a living learning center dedicated to helping children with cognitive and behavioral problems.

“A lot of times if you’re an autistic person and you’re in a very stressful situation, you’re not able to produce the language you need,” said Kristie Brown Lofland, speech pathologist and autism consultant. noted.

The communication boards will be provided to all law enforcement agencies and first responders in Monroe County through a grant from Psi Iota Xi Sorority, a philanthropic organization that supports speech and hearing issues.

Lofland learned about the Psi Iota Xi Fellowship from a friend of his who is a member. The friend asked Lofland to come up with an idea to use the grant for an autism-related cause.

Related: [IUSG executive branch candidates discussed branch relations, representation at Friday debate]

Lofland has a background in speech therapy and she has trained first responders to interact with people with autism. She came up with the idea to provide law enforcement and first responders with image communication boards after her neighbor’s child with autism left the house without his parents knowing. Lofland said a city employee found the young boy and called the police. The boy could not communicate with the policeman.

Lofland said another neighbor was walking around the neighborhood, saw what was happening and was able to show officers where the boy lived.

“I’m watching this unfold, I’m like I wish they had a communication board or some way to communicate with him better so he could understand what they wanted,” Lofland said.

Lofland contacted all Monroe County Police Departments, Ellettsville and Bloomington Fire Departments, Indiana State Police and IU Health Ambulance Service about the idea.

“Everyone responded positively and said, ‘Oh my God, this is a tool we can really use,'” Lofland said.

The grant project is working with two companies, Autism Channel and Crisis Prevention Institution, to manufacture the panels, Lofland said.

Lofland said she plans to purchase 200 boards for Monroe County. It costs about $30 for 10 boards, and she receives $750 from the Psi Iota Xi grant.

Related: [Protestors condemn Russia’s attack against Ukraine, stand in solidarity against violence]

The IUPD has asked for 12 tips, Bloomington Police Chief Jill Lees said. This means there will be one board in each of their nine vehicles and three in the IUPD building.

Lees said she wants to ask the IUPD Public Safety Education and Training Major to incorporate the communication boards into their annual training.

“I just don’t want to throw them in cars and say, ‘Hey, there are communication signs over there, right? ‘” Lees said. “There is a way to incorporate this training to give an officer a refresher and how these tips can be really vital for different investigations.”

Communication boards are another tool that will better help the IUPD provide the best possible service, Lees said. Lees said the IUPD is good at connecting people to resources, and the signs will allow them to communicate with someone rather than contacting dispatch and asking for a sign language interpreter.

Related: [‘The future is ours to shape’: Mayor John Hamilton gives seventh State of the City address]

Alexus Lucas, co-chair of the Neurodiversity Coalition at IU, said having communication boards could save lives.

“Having accommodations in law enforcement interactions could really make the difference between a situation that should just be a basic encounter and one that could be dire,” Lucas said.

Communication boards are just one tool in the larger framework of bridging the gap between officers and the neurodiverse community, Lucas said.

“It can relieve anxiety and know you have other options for communicating,” Lucas said.

Currently, the Psi Iota Xi grant only covers Monroe County, but Lofland is pursuing grants to provide communications boards to law enforcement and first responders statewide.

“There are a lot of reasons I’m excited to bring this together,” Lofland said. “But mostly, to be able to help people who can’t communicate verbally at the time and need help.”

About Thomas Brown

Check Also

Polyamory is effective if you communicate correctly – The Rocky Mountain Collegian

College student | Blush cat Three people stand together in a triangle formation on 9/11. …