Summer START Follow-Up: Training First Responders

(left to right) Rang and Mankey

Every semester, the College of Arts and Sciences’ START program funds community outreach projects created by our faculty. This summer has been no exception. In fact, Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) faculty members Mariesa Rang and Sharon Mankey have been quite busy expanding upon the work they began three years ago.

Rang and Mankey are on a mission to train first responders how to use alternative augmentative communication (AAC) to better assist people with communication disabilities. With the assistance of three students, they provided training to TSA and security guards at the Fort Wayne Airport over the summer, as well as businesses in ten other cities and towns in Indiana. Altogether, they trained 421 people!

Mankey recently presented their research at a conference in Brisbane, Australia. The team is scheduled for future training sessions in Columbia City and at the Indiana Emergency Response Conference in Indianapolis.

“It has been a very busy and fruitful summer,” Rang says, “thanks to the START and Community Engagement grants we received.” She also says they anticipate providing more training during the fall and spring semesters.

Earlier in the summer, our local ABC station interviewed Rang and Mankey about the START program. Check out the video on the WPTA Channel 21 website. Congratulations to them on their successes in this ongoing and important work!

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