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Free communication cards for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)

Communication is the basis of all human interaction. It allows us to foster relationships by sharing our experiences and needs and helps us make connections. In addition, it enables people to express their feelings, convey messages and disclose thoughts. Communication is defined as the act of exchanging information, thoughts and feelings among people using speech (verbal communication) or other means (e.g. nonverbal communication).

In healthcare and therapeutic practice, verbal communication is key and is characterized as a two way process between the patient and healthcare providers. It requires an understanding of the patient and the experiences they express. However, there are often communication barriers in the clinical setting which need to be overcome, in order to provide better and more tailored health and social care.

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Some commonly observed barriers in communication between patients and healthcare providers include:

  • Physical or environmental barriers, e.g. noise, unsuitable environmental conditions.
  • Language barriers, e.g. medical jargon, misinterpretation of words, low language proficiency.
  • Personal and emotional barriers, e.g. anxiety, pain and physical discomfort of the patient; specific conditions.
  • Cultural barriers, e.g. unconscious biases based on patients' race, ethnicity, religion, gender identification and sexual orientation.
Contents
  1. What is augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)?
  2. Free printable communication cards
    1. English
    2. German
    3. Spanish
    4. Portuguese
    5. French
  3. Main Categories
  4. Personal Information
  5. Accessibility
  6. Medical Cards
  7. Sources
+ Show all

What is augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a term used to describe the various methods and tools used to aid individuals who face challenges with verbal speech. It is a field that includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. We all use AAC when we make facial expressions or gestures, use symbols or pictures, or write.

Individuals facing significant challenges in speech or language commonly depend on AAC to supplement existing speech or to replace speech that is not functional. ACC provides solutions like symbol boards, electronic devices, and other forms of non-verbal communication to enhance the expressive abilities of those with speech impairments.

AAC plays a vital role in healthcare and therapeutic settings, especially in facilitating communication between healthcare providers and patients who might otherwise struggle to express their needs and feelings effectively.

Free printable communication cards

To support effective communication and to bridge the communication gap, we are offering free downloadable/printable communication cards. In addition to a selection of colorful communication cards we also offer a range of monochrome cards, specifically designed to enhance accessibility. These black and white cards provide a high-contrast option and are ideal for those with visual impairments.

Icons from the "Needs" category in the Color Communication Cards.
Icons from the "Needs" category in the Monochrome Communication Cards.

Download our free printable communication cards here:

English

German

Spanish

Portuguese

French

These cards are easily downloadable in a PDF format with working buttons, ensuring easy access without the hassle of downloading additional apps on devices. They are designed to be easily understood and can be used by adults and children alike, including those with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Our communication cards cover a range of everyday topics and situations, providing a simple yet effective tool for enhancing communication. The goal of these cards is for non-verbal patients or those with limited verbal abilities or language barriers to be able to easily convey their needs, feelings, and responses by indicating the most relevant symbols.

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Main Categories

Our PDF cards are divided into two primary categories: one tailored for patients and the other for healthcare workers. Each category features a main menu or home page, from which you can easily navigate to different cards by selecting a specific subcategory.

Both categories are designed to cover a broad range of basic communication needs and to provide quick access to commonly used phrases and expressions. From expressing emotions, discomfort or pain to indicating basic needs like hunger or thirst, these cards are intuitively organized for ease of use. They are particularly beneficial in healthcare settings, aiding patients in communicating effectively with their caregivers about these common expressions and activities.

The menus available for patients and practitioners.

Before you delve deeper, let us take a moment to introduce some key subcategories of the communication cards we have available in our collection, each tailored for distinct communication needs.

Personal Information

We offer a personal information category that allows patients to share important information about themselves without the need for verbal communication. These cards include details like their name, medical history, and any specific care preferences. This not only aids in personalized care but also helps in building a rapport between the patient and the caregiver. Furthermore, it ensures that accurate personal information is provided in order to receive appropriate care.

Icons from the "Personal info" category in the Color Communication Cards.

Accessibility

Our commitment to accessibility is a core aspect of our communication card project. We ensure that our communication cards are designed to be easily understandable, with clear visuals and simple layouts, catering to a wide range of communication needs. Our approach is inclusive, and the cards are accessible to as many users as possible.

The cards have a simple, easy-to-use design.

Medical Cards

Our medical cards are specifically designed to help in conveying medical needs, symptoms, and feelings related to health. They are an essential tool in healthcare settings, helping to bridge the gap between patients and healthcare providers. They include terminology and phrases often encountered in medical contexts, such as explaining symptoms and understanding treatment options. These cards allow for a more accurate and efficient way of understanding the patient's condition, especially in emergency situations where swift communication is critical.

Icons from the "Practitioners", "Emotions" and "Symptoms" categories in the Color Communication Cards.
Icons from the "Medical", "Needs" and "Infant-related" categories in the Color Communication Cards.
Diagrams from the "Conditions" and "Treatment" categories in the Color Communication Cards.

Overall, AAC tools are essential in improving communication within healthcare settings, and with that in mind, we have developed these communication cards for ease of use. We hope this resource will work for users and serve as a practical and accessible solution to foster better communication in healthcare settings. While we continue to explore and understand its full impact, our commitment remains strong in supporting empathetic and effective patient-provider interactions and providing accessible, practical solutions to enhance healthcare communication for all.

We highly value your opinions and experiences, so please don't hesitate to reach out and send an email to contact{at}kenhub{dot}com to share your thoughts and suggestions with us. Your feedback is very important to us. It will guide us in enhancing and tailoring these tools to meet your needs more effectively.

Free communication cards for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC): want to learn more about it?

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