By Natsumi Asanuma, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist, Susan Mast ALS Foundation
Much like how a passport identifies key information about travelers across borders, a communication passport can be a great tool for sharing information about your unique communication needs to others. Learn what a communication passport is, what to include, and free templates for making your own.
What is a communication passport?
A communication passport is a quick way for someone with a complex communication needs to share their needs and preferences for how to best communicate. Many people with ALS (pALS) experience communication challenges, ranging from fatigue and weak voice/speech when tired to utilizing a communication device or system to replace speech. A communication passport takes the burden off of the pALS to explain their best communication methods to new communication partners and can hold commonly needed information that is often repeated. The communication passport can be an actual notebook or pamphlet, a digital note, a business card, or signs posted on your communication device, living area, or wheelchair, and should be easily accessible to share with others.
What to include in a communication passport
Your communication passport should reflect who you are and what your needs are at this time, and should be updated as needed. It can be written in a straightforward style or can incorporate humor. The following are some examples of things you may choose to include:
Communication passports are used by people with complex communication needs arising from any diagnosis or age range. The following are some examples online of communication passports, but note that they are not all specific to ALS:
A communication passport should be a “living document” that is edited to adapt to your current needs to ease the burden of repeating commonly shared information about how to best communicate with you. It is flexible in size and scope, so you may choose to start with jotting down a few key points to share with others and build the passport from there. Consider recruiting a family member or friend to work on this together, and talk to your speech language pathologist for further information about communication supports such as these. Find out more about communication support for West Michigan ALS families through the Jim’s Voice Program.