Sign-language Skills Benefit an Ill Stranger


Lauren Schippers offered assistance to a sick deaf woman by using her sign-language skills to help the victim communicate with the Fairborn Fire Department EMS.

FAIRBORN – Lauren Schippers describes her recent actions to help a woman in distress as “the whole ‘treat others as you would want to be treated’ philosophy.”

“I just did what I would have wanted done for me if I were in that situation … that’s it,” she said of the assistance she offered an ill deaf woman by using her sign-language skills to help the woman communicate with the responding Fairborn Fire Department EMS.

It happened as Schippers was leaving Deaf Awareness Day at Wright State University, where she was working at a booth with her mother.

“My mom and I were registering deaf individuals to vote for the upcoming election,” she said.

What she did: As she and her mother were leaving the event, they came in contact with a deaf woman, who was having medical issues. Her friends asked Schippers to call 911.

“My role, while I was assisting her, was not as an interpreter, it was to advocate for her and to help her by contacting her family. I stayed with her and kept her company until her mother came,” Schippers said. “While we were waiting for the EMT, I spoke with her father and relayed information to the medics when they arrived. I also helped her communicate her symptoms and identifying information. ”

Her sign language background: At the age of 6, she began teaching herself sign language using a book. In high school, she took American Sign Language classes and decided she wanted to work with the deaf community. She then earned an associates degree in American Sign Language from Sinclair Community College and a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Services from WSU.

After working as a case manager for the Community Services for the Deaf, she recently began working at Montgomery County Developmental Disability Services.

What others think of her action: The Fairborn Fire Department honored Schippers with a Citizen’s Service Recognition Award, recognizing her “selfless actions, which ensured appropriate medical treatment.”

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