WALKER, La. (The Livingston Parish News) — The mother of a local special needs child is praising the first responder who calmed her deaf daughter down during a seizure by speaking sign language.
Mallory Brown, of Watson, was in her car on Feb. 27 when the family’s seizure detection dog, Oreo, nudged her elbow to alert her of a dire situation in the backseat. To Mallory’s alarm, her 8-year-old daughter Maddie — who was born with a rare chromosome 10 deletion and was diagnosed with focal epilepsy — had turned blue and stopped breathing.
After dialing 9-1-1, Mallory quickly pulled over at her son’s school in Walker to tend to Maddie, whose neurological condition has resulted in recurring seizures affecting one half of her brain over the last year and a half.
A few minutes later, first responders from Acadian Ambulance Service arrived, and to Mallory’s surprise, one of them jumped out and began speaking with Maddie — in American Sign Language (ASL).
Delighted, Mallory later learned the emergency medical technician (EMT) was Chris Long, a child of two deaf parents. Because of Long’s ability to communicate in ASL, Maddie got on the stretcher and was able to ride in the ambulance “without crying or being scared because the [ambulance] driver knew sign language.”
As the mother of a deaf child, Mallory said she wanted to thank Acadian Ambulance for having an EMT who signs. She later reached out to Long’s supervisor to thank her for sending “an Earthly Angel” who was able to calm her daughter down when she could not.
“That is very random and very much appreciated for the deaf community here in Livingston Parish,” Mallory said. “I cannot tell you what an Earthly Angel Chris was and how happy it made me to see someone be able to communicate with [Maddie] in her own language.”