Author: Linda Wells, MA, CCC-SLP

A speech-language pathologist at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation has developed a special ID card to make it easier for people with speech impairments to notify others of their condition.

Linda Wells, MA, CCC-SLP created the Communication Impairment Alert Card to help them clearly identify their condition during an emergency or routine activities like shopping or banking.

“The idea for the card came after a patient shared with me his story of being pulled over for a minor traffic violation and how difficult the experience was because of his communication impairment,” Wells said. “He had a brain injury that left him with slurred speech, leading the officer to believe he was intoxicated.”

The card has two components: a pocket/wallet card and a notification that can be attached to the visor in a car. The cards identify the person’s condition and the best method of communication, such as writing, speaking slowly, or asking yes-or-no questions.

“The card should eliminate some of the frustration that occurs when an individual who is slow to answer or sounds slightly different needs to interact with someone for the first time,” Wells said.

The Communication Alert Card has been endorsed by all Michigan law enforcement agencies. Cards can only be obtained through a physician or speech pathologist. For more information, contact Linda Wells at (616) 242-0425 or visit www.maryfreebed.com .