AAC Evaluation and Training Program

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices are systems, strategies, and tools that replace or support natural speech. Determining the best speech-generating device (SGD) requires the expertise and experience of skilled clinicians who work in collaboration with the client, their family, and other service providers. The Institute for Human Development (IHD) has been providing comprehensive AAC evaluations to children and adults with complex communication needs for more than 20 years.

Our Focus is on Excellence:

  • Experienced Teams: Our evaluation and training services are performed by an experienced team consisting of a Speech Language Pathologist and an Occupational Therapist.
  • Community-Based Services: We provide comprehensive services for clients, families, and support teams within the individual’s preferred, natural environment.
  • Remote Services: We offer remote telehealth services for intake, evaluation, and training through secure video conferencing with families and support team members.
  • Interprofessional Teaming: We review detailed client information and seek input from family and support team members regarding the client’s communication needs and abilities.
  • A Feature Match Approach with Device Trials: Each evaluation includes hands-on device trials with a range of communication devices. The client’s individual needs are matched to a device with the necessary features to make an appropriate recommendation.


We accept referrals from DDD, as well as DDD-contracted Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) Mercy Care and United Healthcare Community Plan. Depending on the client’s insurance coverage, prior authorization may be required. We are able to provide assistance with this if needed. We also accept private pay referrals from school districts, charter schools and families.

The NAU – IHD AAC evaluation program accept referrals from the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) Long Term Care (ALTCS) Tribal Health Plan, as well as DDD-contracted Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) MercyCare and United HealthCare Community Plan. We also accept private pay referrals from school districts, charter schools, and families.

Below is a list of documents we need to schedule an AAC evaluation through your funding source. Teams can send us this paperwork as they receive it, and we are happy to reach out to support coordinators and therapists if you provide their contact information.

Please send the following documentation to aacevalprogram@nau.edu or by fax at 855-819-0087 to complete your referral:

Required Documents:

  • A prescription from the member’s Primary Care Physician for the AAC evaluation. Please be sure you ask your physician to document that you’ve discussed the need for a speech device. The client must be seen within 6 months of the physician signing a prescription for the speech device after completion of the evaluation. Most funding sources will accept telehealth visits provided by your MD, DO, NP or PA.
  • The Rx must indicate: “AAC Device Evaluation”
  • Physician’s National Provider Identifier (NPI)
  • Member’s primary medical diagnosis ICD-10 code
  • The NAU background packet. See links below. This information will be used by medical review during the prior authorization process. The form should be completed by a Speech-Language Pathologist. This background information is also intended to prepare our teams to provide a thorough evaluation.
  • Legible copies of both front and back of ALL insurance cards, including the DDD ALTCS, AHCCCS, and any third-party payor cards for private insurance. If there is Medicare coverage, the member’s Social Security number is also REQUIRED.
  • Some insurance plans require a copy of the most current Person-Centered Service Plan (PCSP) from the DDD support coordinator.
  • Some insurance plans require a copy of the most recent speech-language documentation of services for prior authorization. Our team will help you determine if this additional documentation is needed.

Once all completed documentation is received from the referral team, NAU will obtain prior authorization and call to schedule an intake appointment and the evaluation. We provide hands-on evaluations in the Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Tucson areas and remote evaluations statewide.

We welcome feedback about what will work best for the client during the evaluation. Please reach out to us at aacevalprogram@nau.edu with any questions.

For Mercy Care clients, United Healthcare Community Plan clients, or referrals from school districts or families, please submit the NAU AAC Referral Form & NAU AAC Evaluation Rx Form.

Additional Resources

For more information, please contact

Nikkol Anderson, OTD, MA, OTR/L, ATP
AAC Evaluation & Training Program Manager
Northern Arizona University – Institute for Human Development
Phone: 928-523-4628
Fax: 855-819-0087

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