Downloadable Communication Boards for Adults in Health Care Settings

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 brain 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 may be 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 coach, I spend the majority of my time helping people of all ages and abilities to leverage the benefits 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 and 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. I did not create these helpful tools. Take a look and perhaps one or more will be appropriate for your situation. Some will require you to enter you name and email address. Others, offer a direct download.

This listing was last updated on January 5, 2021. Please reach out to me at if you would like to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation, a customized group training, or an online tech coaching session. I’d also appreciate hearing from you if you know of additional resources that would be helpful for me to add in a future update or if the links are no longer working.

Emergency Communication Charts from Widgit

Widgit offers a number of fantastic communication boards. The Paramedic Symbol Board is two sided and available in British English and American/Spanish. It was created to improve communication for individuals who don’t speak English who are in emergency medical situations. The board includes a pain scale as well as 26 functional images to help with emergency relief efforts. The Critical Care Communication Chart is also two- sided and available in many languages.


My Health Report / My Health Passport

As I searched online for free health related printable forms to assist with communication, I came upon this site from the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities that offers two resources that caught my eye.

My Health Report – For Regular Visits to Your Doctor was created to save time during medical appointments so that the professionals could optimize the value of time together by accessing relevant health information efficiently.

My Health Passport – For Hospital and Clinic Visits
was designed to advocate for unique supports and preferences for individuals who may have intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is available in English, Spanish and Chinese.

Cue Cards in Community Languages

If you are trying to help someone communicate who doesn’t speak English as their primary language, be sure to check this out. I was amazed at the languages that are included on these boards. Boards are provided in over 50 languages- including Afrikaans, Latvian, Arabic, Mandarin, PolishGreek, Spanish, Vietnamese, and even Yiddish. There are either 4 or 20 images in black and white and per page. The downloads are grouped by categories. You will need to enter some information in order to access this site.

Check out the aphasia friendly COVID-19  Resources gathered by Aphasia Access

(The images below are available from Aphasia Institute/ ParticiPics/ Pictographic Tools to Aid Conversation) :

COVID-19 Screening Tool- Images for fever, cough, Chills, Difficulty Breathing
Images accompany words for pe

Letter Board and Topic Board

If the individual in need of support would benefit from a letter board or list of everyday topics of conversation, this download may help. You will be asked to provide your first name and email address in order to be emailed the PDF.

Megan Sutton, a speech-language pathologist and the founder of Tactus Therapy Solutions Ltd., offers a free download. The site also provides tips for speaking with individuals who are difficult to understand because of aphasia (loss of language) or dysarthria (slurred speech).

Communication Board for Readers and Spellers

This Microsoft Word document includes the alphabet, numbers, and some basic prepositions, verbs, adjectives, question words, colors a few phrases.

Teachers Pay Teachers is a great online site for finding visual supports for communication. There is no cost to create your own account and explore all that it has to offer.

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