Bridging the communication gap

Mickey
Mickey Djuric
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The Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce and Prairie South School Division have formed a partnership that will make communicating within the community easier for everyone. 

An example of a communication card that will be offered at future registers across businesses in Moose Jaw to accomodated people who have difficulty communicating. The cards are free and are offered by the Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce. Submitted photo

The chamber is offering businesses in the community free communication cards. Each card is tailor made for each business, featuring pictures of the stores most popular items.

This allows customers to shop by pointing for the items they need on the card which will be located at each cash register. 

"We knew there was a problem with people in the community who were having problems dealing with communicating," said Brian Martynook, CEO for the Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce. "As a community we want everyone to be involved. This way it helps everybody, from the consumer to the business people."

He was contacted by the PSSD to see if he was willing to help push the idea of these communication cards to businesses, and he was eager to step up.

"We wanted to be totally involved in this," he said. "I was in China a couple of years ago and at one of the fast food places they had something like this. The counter person didn't speak english, but I was able to point to what I wanted, and that was it. I was lost because I didn't speak their language, but this made communicating a piece of cake."

It is harder for some students in the community to express their needs due to communication challenges. Some of these challenges include being deaf, hard of hearing, having a communication disorder, a development delay or autism.

The communication cards are a way to create a more inclusive community while easing the communication barrier. These cards are a form of augmentative communications. Other forms of this can be accomplished by using sign language or technology. 

Benefits of businesses using these cards will include decreased confusion, frustration and stigma associated with communication challenges. 

"These cards accommodate everyone," said Martynook. 

Any business that would like a free, custom-made communication card can contact the Chamber of Commerce at (306) 692-6414 or by e-mailing chamber@mjchamber.com. 

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