Plural Publishing produces leading academic, scientific and clinical publications in the fields of speech-language pathology, audiology, and otolaryngology.


Augmentative and Alternative Communication in Acute and Critical Care Settings

Richard R. Hurtig, Ph.D., Debora Downey, CCC-SLP
224 pages, Illustrated (B/W), Softcover, 7 x 10"
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A practical text on the implementation of Augmentative and Alternative Communication/Assistive Technology in hospital venues, AAC/AT in Acute Care Settings, reviews the more traditional use of AAC and expands it into the acute and critical care arenas.

It is a “how to handbook” filled with protocols, realistic solutions for implementation across hospital units and rich case examples that provide validation of the efficacy of AAC with the acute care population. This text is an ideal resource for speech-language pathologist considering expanding their hospital practice to include patients who experience temporary or permanent loss of oral language due to trauma, neurological changes or surgical interventions.


  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: History of AAC
    Defining AAC
    A Brief History of AAC
    How Technology Has Impacted AAC
    Etiologies That May Benefit from AAC
    ASHA’s Stand on AAC
  • Chapter 2: Challenges
    Access Challenges
    Opportunity Challenges
  • Chapter 3: The Impact of Assistive Technology (AT) in Acute Care Settings
    Review of AAC in Acute Care Settings
  • Chapter 4: Assessment Protocol
    Videos for This Chapter
  • Chapter 5: Switches as the First Step to Establishing Communication
    Nurse Call: Alternatives and Modifications
    Standard Switches
    Advanced Technology Switches
    Iowa Smart Switch
  • Chapter 6: Iowa AAC Templates
    One Button Template
    Two-Three Button Templates
    Grid Pattern Button Templates
    Simple Buttons with Links Template
    The Iowa Template
    • Top Level Menu Page
    • Feelings Pop-Up Page
    • Pain Pop-Up Page
    • Entertainment Pop-Up Page
    • Chat Menu Page
    • Medical Questions Pop-Up
    • Jokes Pop-Up
    • Room-Control ECU Pop-Up
    • Bed Control Pop-Up
    • TV Control Pop-Up
    • Help Pop-Up
    • Personal Pop-Up
    • Novel Message Generation
    • Rate Enhancement Strategies
  • Chapter 7: Mounting and Access Issues
    • Device Mounting Solutions
    • Hand-Held Implementations
    • Bed Tray Implementations
    • Bed Rail Implementations
    • IV Pole Implementations
      Switch Adaptation and Mounting Solutions
    • Adapting Switches
    • Mounting Strategies
      Videos Associated with This Chapter
  • Chapter 8: Pain Management
  • Chapter 9: Environmental Control Units (ECU)
  • Chapter 10: Bad News-Communication Issues
  • Chapter 11: Cases
    A: Solving the Language Barrier
    B: Maintaining a Personal Voice - Adding Humor
    C: Don’t Assume Full Understanding
    D: Don’t Assume Too Little Understanding/Be Prepared for Surprises
    E: Voicing Anger Case
    F: Codependency
    G: Failure All Around
    H: Against-All-Odds: Success
  • Chapter 12: Setting Up and Funding an AAC/Assistive Technology Service
    Current State of Affairs
    Organization of an AT Service
    • Assessing Staff Needs
    • In Service Training
    • Competency Assessment
      Funding Issues
  • Chapter 13: Useful Products and Links
    The MacGyver Kit: Essential Tools and Materials
    AAC Manufacturer Links
    AAC Resource Links
  • Appendix A: Assessment Scenarios
  • Appendix B: Major AAC Manufacturers
  • Appendix C: AAC/AT Resources
  • References
  • Index

DVD Contents:

  • Figures
  • Video Clips
  • Nursing Tutorial
  • Iowa Hospital Boards (Word, PDF)
  • Iowa Low-Tech Hospital Boards (BoardMaker Files)
  • Iowa Low-Tech Keyboards (BoardMaker Files)
  • Iowa Templates for:
    • DYNAVOX Users (English, Spanish, Eye Gaze)
    • Speaking Dynamically Pro
    • SDP (Eye Gaze)
    • VIKING Software
    • VIKING Software (Eye Gaze)

About The Authors

Richard R. Hurtig, Ph.D.

Richard Hurtig, PhD, is Professor and Chair in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at University of Iowa.

Debora Downey, CCC-SLP

Debora A. Downey, MA, CCC-SLP, is a Parent Coordinator of the Center for Disabilities and Development, University of Iowa