Communication Tools: Free Paper-Based Tools

I recently went to visit a loved one in the hospital, and as I walked by several rooms, I could see people in their beds trying, desperately, to communicate what they needed. Communication tools, or AAC, are very important tools for so many people- those who are non-verbal, those whose verbal abilities don’t meet all their communication needs, and, like what I saw, those who are experiencing a temporary need for alternative communication due to illness or injury. There are a lot of robust options available. However, there is still a vital role for paper-based tools, especially when considering how important multi-modal communication is for everyone. So what is available?

One comprehensive resource for paper-based core words is  Under the tab Universal Core, they have a variety of tools you can freely download and use, including one for eye gaze, and one with high contrast symbols.

Another great resource is  Under the Resources tab, look for manual boards. There they have a playground board and lanyard communication tools among other downloads. This site is run by Prentke-Romich, so it also has paper-based boards reflecting its devices. 

Finally, another resource for downloads is  This website does have a subscription cost of $36/year. However, you can look around the website and download visuals for free, but they will all have a watermark.  What I like about this website, is that if you are a subscriber, and you can’t find the symbol you need, you can request they create one.  In addition, people can choose to post publicly their boards and visuals they have created, for you to modify and download for yourself.   

Any one of the tools on these websites could have made the person’s communications clear to the medical staff, as well as to loved ones. What a difference that can make in this time of crisis.

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