stakeholders in planning discussions need to be broadened past that of just pediatricians and child-focused hospital coalitions. Stakeholders should include organizations and representatives across all sectors that work or interact with children, including schools, youth groups, religious organizations, and others. This section brings together nontraditional partners who represent community groups that can be leveraged for better community engagement and buy-in and improved risk communication and message dissemination.
Planning for the Needs of People with Disabilities
Easter Seals is a social service organization focused on providing services and support to people with disabilities. Patricia Wright, national director of autism services at Easter Seals, said that in 2012, the organization provided direct service to 1.6 million people with disabilities in the United States, more than half of whom were children.
Wright listed 13 categories of disability: specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, other health impairments, visual impairments, multiple disabilities, deaf-blindness, autism, traumatic brain injury, and developmental delay. Wright noted that the needs of those with physical disabilities or orthopedic impairments are often raised in preparedness planning discussions, but learning, intellectual, emotional, and speech and language disabilities are also prominent in society. People with disabilities have unique needs; for example, children with autism are subject to wandering. Many children with intellectual disabilities also have parents with intellectual disabilities who will need services and support.
Wright listed several resources available specifically for people with disabilities. The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) has developed specific tools for use with individuals who have complex communication needs, including, for example, a universal communication access board that uses pictograms and pictures for communication.4 The universal design of such devices makes them useful not only for communication with people who are nonverbal or have low literacy rates, but also with people who speak other languages.