AAC by Setting

No matter what setting you work in, AAC can be a part of your treatment plan. Although each setting can have its own challenges, incorporating AAC at any stage in the continuum of care comes with benefits – and Lingraphica is here to help. Check out some tips below based on your primary setting.

Acute Care

If you work in acute care, your time with patients is limited – and often focused on immediate needs like swallowing. However, this is a great time to introduce AAC so that your patients have a method of communication right away. Need something quick and easy? Download one of Lingraphica’s free low-tech communication boards that you can carry with you on your clipboard. Now is also a great time to introduce some of the high-tech options available. This allows your patients a more robust communication method, and sets the stage to incorporate high-tech AAC in the future. Try one of Lingraphica’s free SmallTalk apps with customized picture-based vocabulary based on a specific topic – the ICU and dysphagia apps are great for hospital-specific topics, and Conversational Phrases and Daily Activities will provide a wider variety of social and functional communication. If you think your patient is a good candidate for high-tech AAC, make sure to put a note in their chart recommending a device trial!

Acute/Inpatient Rehab

The acute rehab setting is a great time to get started with high-tech AAC. Although some SLPs are hesitant to try AAC too soon, research shows that introducing AAC as soon as possible provides multiple benefits. AAC addresses immediate communication needs while simultaneously working on enhancing abilities. Furthermore, early introduction of AAC can reduce the stigma and sense of permanence surrounding AAC (Dietz, Wallace, & Weissling, 2020). A physical therapist wouldn’t wait to give a patient a walker, and SLPs shouldn’t wait to give their clients a way to communicate.

To make the most of your time, it can be helpful to have an AAC device available. Members of the Lingraphica Certification Program can keep a device on hand – meaning you can get started with AAC right away. Regardless of whether you already have a device on hand or we need to ship one to you, you can get started on a device trial to give your patients a way to communicate as soon as possible. If your patient is discharging and you’re not quite ready to make a decision, Lingraphica will follow the patient to their next SLP to continue the device trial.

Acute rehab is also a great setting to take advantage of your interdisciplinary team members. Incorporate vocabulary in the device for your patients’ other therapies, and ask your colleagues to encourage the patient to use the device during treatment for maximum carryover.

Home Health

One of the primary goals of AAC is making it meaningful and functional, and being in a patient’s home is the ideal place to do that. When you start a device trial in the home health setting, you’ll have a unique insight into your patient’s day-to-day life. Take advantage of being in the home setting to personalize your patient’s AAC device by taking photos of areas of the home, favorite foods, medications, and family members. Home health is also perfect to get family and communication partners on board – one of the biggest factors for success with AAC. Encourage all available family members to join in sessions and to learn to use and program the AAC device.


Outpatient therapy is one of the most common times to start an AAC device trial. Your patient’s health has likely stabilized, and your patient is usually on caseload for long enough to dive deeper into AAC use. However, having less access to the home environment and communication partners can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some tips to increase success when using AAC in the outpatient setting:

  • Involve family: Set the expectation that a communication partner attends sessions with the patient and learns to use the device
  • Anticipate needs: Find out what the patient has going on between your sessions, and set up the device for success
  • Role play: Practice ordering food, chatting with a family member, or playing cards with friends
  • Assign homework: Encourage your patient to use the device every day between sessions

Finally, lean on Lingraphica. Your clinical consultant can provide personalized tips and suggestions, and work with your patient directly between sessions for additional support.

Skilled Nursing/Long Term Care

Many patients in long-term care (LTC) settings are great candidates for AAC, but two common barriers sometimes prevent SLPs from moving forward: lack of support and funding concerns.

Increasing support and communication opportunities for LTC residents can be challenging, but worthwhile. Improving a patient’s communication by using an AAC device can increase engagement with nursing and other staff, as well as with other residents. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Educate nursing and other staff on how AAC works. No time? Let Lingraphica give a webinar training session to the team.
  • Schedule your visits when family or friends are visiting to learn more about meaningful ways you can program the AAC device.
  • If family isn’t available and you’re stuck on what to program, try a technique called Memory Mining to learn meaningful information and anecdotes your patient can share.
  • Program the AAC device for communication with nursing, areas of the facility, and activities and events. Incorporate social communication for the patient to use with other residents.

Funding sometimes presents unique challenges in a LTC environment. The best way to find out if a device will be funded for your patient is to start a device trial. Our funding team will look into all options, including insurance, alternative funding sources, and our private pay program. Lingraphica offers financial assistance to patients where insurance coverage is not available.


If you’re a school-based SLP, your busy caseload and IEP meeting schedule can make trying a new type of AAC feel overwhelming. However, if you have a student who needs AAC, or whose current system isn’t working for them, let us partner with you to see if a Lingraphica device might be the right fit. Lingraphica’s clinical team can provide training and support to your student and their family directly, and we can partner with you to incorporate the device into school-based activities. Encouraging your student to use the same AAC device in as many contexts as possible helps your student to carry over skills and communicate in all environments. If the device is a good fit, Lingraphica can work with the student’s insurance to obtain coverage, so that your student will own their device and be able to keep it with them at all times.


Incorporating AAC into your teletherapy is a great opportunity to take advantage of multiple technologies. When you conduct an AAC device trial by teletherapy, Lingraphica will ship a device to both you and your patient, so you’ll be able to follow along. To make AAC as successful as possible over teletherapy, having a family member or communication partner attend sessions makes a big difference. Encourage them to sit in to troubleshoot technology issues, assist with the AAC device, and provide additional motivation. Another helpful tip is to have your patient use a second camera pointed at their device, so it’s easy for you to follow along. Partner with Lingraphica to make remote updates and customizations to your patient’s device – one of our clinical consultants can even join you in your telehealth sessions to facilitate device use. Want to learn more about AAC in teletherapy? Check out our CEU course here.

No matter your setting, remember that Lingraphica’s team of clinicians is here to support you with personalized suggestions and tips for incorporating AAC. When your patient discharges, Lingraphica will make sure to follow up with their next speech therapist to ensure a smooth experience. And when your patient discharges from speech therapy for good, Lingraphica will provide ongoing technical and clinical support to make sure your patients are continuing to improve their communication and quality of life with AAC.

Learn More About AAC

The Lingraphica Learning Portal offers free, on-demand courses that are designed to provide fundamental information for SLPs who are new to Lingraphica and high-tech AAC. Click below to learn more and complete the courses.

Watch The Courses

Lingraphica Can Help

Lingraphica offers free one-on-one consultations for SLPs who have someone on caseload who might be a good fit for an AAC device but aren’t entirely sure where to start. Call us at 866-570-8775 or visit the link below to get started.

Schedule a Free Consultation