Loyola University Maryland

Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences

Improv to Empower People With Disabilities—and Train First Responders

Dr. Lisa Schoenbrodt, Department Chair of the Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences Department at Loyola University Maryland, is helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities train police officers and other first responders how to communicate with them in emergencies. The participants, called “self-advocate educators,” learn to improvise emergency scenarios to teach communication strategies that can—or don’t—work. In the scenarios, a person with a disability threatens harm to a family member, goes missing from a group home, has a wallet stolen, or has a medical crisis while home alone. Funded by two grants, Schoenbrodt and Leah Katherine Saal, an assistant professor of literacy at Loyola, recruit participants from local disability groups, pay them a salary, and work with them to develop their role-playing skills.

Read more in the April edition of the ASHA Leader.

Ellie Mallory

Ellie Mallory

Ellie’s Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences and French double major led her to develop a unique skill set and deep empathy for communication challenges

Speech-Language Pathology, Modern Languages & Literatures