Downloadable Communication Boards for Adults in Health Care Settings

Learn about resources to support communication in hospitals, urgent care centers and doctor's offices

Imagine what it is like to be in a hospital, unable to speak or understand what is said to you.

The ability to communicate is critical, yet many stroke and head injury survivors, intubated patients, developmentally disabled individuals and non-native English speakers are unable to do so. Medical staff often overlook or never explore the use of low-cost communication solutions. Hospitals, urgent care centers, skilled nursing facilities and medical offices are critical places to be able to express wants and needs and ask questions. The use of pictures as well as multi-language text support may reduce stress and promote more effective medical care. We need to advocate for individuals who can’t speak for themselves and provide them with tools to support their ability to communicate

If a paper/pencil or whiteboard solution is not sufficient, there are other methods to try in order to establish functional communication. A speech-language pathologist would be the ideal professional to assess the most appropriate approach to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) solutions. However, this skilled service is not always an option.

The use of images and written words with medical personnel and family can help people understand and remember what is said to them. Picture support can also help individuals express their needs, thoughts, and symptoms.

As a speech-language pathologist and technology specialist, I spend the majority of my time working with many types of everyday mobile devices to improve communication, learning, and productivity. I also customize dedicated communication devices that provide speech output and apps to support the development of language and speech.

Technology-based solutions are not always available or appropriate. We can't lose site of readily available paper-based solutions. We need to advocate for our loved ones who can’t speak for themselves. A thorough AAC assessment may be ideal, but trying out a few options listed here is a great way to to get started.

I've spent time searching online and am pleased to share with you free digital downloads that I found to facilitate communication in medical settings.

Your Instructor

Joan L. Green
Joan L. Green
One of my greatest joys is helping families and colleagues figure out how to get the most out of their devices to increase success and happiness.

I am a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist, technology consultant, mother of four, and the founder of Innovative Speech Therapy. My passion is doing all that I can to help children and adults with communication, cognitive, literacy, executive functioning and learning challenges. Since obtaining my Master's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders back in 1986 from Northwestern University, I developed a uniquely effective approach to therapy by empowering individuals, families, and professionals to benefit from affordable, cutting-edge technologies.

I provide in-person speech therapy in the Washington, DC area, online coaching and courses, and professional development workshops. The 3rd edition of Assistive Technology in Special Education: Resources for Education, Intervention and Rehabilitation was published in the spring of 2018.

I am always looking for new innovative ways to help my clients and received the "Most Outstanding Contribution to the Field" award from the Maryland Speech-Language-Hearing Association. I am originally from Buffalo, New York and attended Northwestern University for my undergraduate and graduate education. After graduation, I moved to the Washington, DC area. I now live in Potomac, MD with my wonderful husband Mark, our two dogs and our four wonderful grown children who are in and out of town as they pursue their education and careers.

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