Communication book

communication passport comic

What is the difference between a communication passport, a communication book, and a life story?

Everyone’s communication passport, book or life story is very individual, but in essence:

A communication passport is a way of sharing information about the individual that has been put together by people that know them very well

A communication book is for the user to get their message across.

A life story focuses on the person’s past, e.g. family, holidays, experiences, and other special memories.

Where are communication passports, books and life stories used?

Everywhere! They have been used very effectively for users and their carers at home, in schools, colleges, Supported Living environments and in hospitals.

They can be attached to someone’s wheelchair so they are always at hand.

What is a communication passport ?

A communication passport is intended to give a brief snapshot about the person’s likes, dislikes, how they communicate and how best to communicate with them. It is different from an in-depth person-centred plan or an essential lifestyle plan. It can be a book, a video, key ring with pictures or a box of objects/ pictures which helps you to get to know a person and understand how best to communicate with them.


Where can I learn to make communication passports?

Check out the Resource and Ideas Bank for examples and templates so you can try making one with a service user.
There are short training sessions on making a communication passport for your service user with the Oxfordshire Speech and Language Therapy department.
Contact us
at OTC for details.

What is a communication book?

A book/ chart/ board with pictures and sometimes text. These are used as a support for spoken communication (or in the absence of speech), to enable people to get their message across. For example, they may wish to discuss a particular issue, a favourite topic, express feelings or opinions, make choices between places or items. They may range from very simple formats with few pictures, to extensive books with many pages. They may give opportunity for combining several pictures to make sentences.
NB: It is strongly recommended that you contact your local Speech and Language Therapist if you are considering making a communication book. They will help you decide on appropriate content, format, and language level for that particular service user.

communication passport

Why are communication passports useful?

Looking at a communication passport you can grasp the important things about a person and thier communication in a very short space of time. This is ideal for new staff, hospital visits, or Day Services.

It should not include detailed personal information, such as address and date of birth, so it can be taken around everywhere. It needs to be frequently updated in order to remain useful.

It is also extremely helpful if the person goes into hospital, for nurses and other professionals to quickly know how best to relate to the person, expecially when the carer is not present.

An alternative to this is a Hospital Passport which is only used for hospital visits. Hospital Passports include brief summaries of medical conditions, medicines, dietary requirements, eating/ drinking difficulties, and communication preferences. Please contact your Speech and Language Therapist for a template of a Hospital Passport.

What is a life story?

A book/ chart/ board with pictures and sometimes text. They are used to support people’s memory and strengthen their sense of identity, and provide topics for conversation based on the person’s past. They tend to be much larger in scope than communication books or passports, and contain more detailed information about the person’s experiences.

Check out the Resource and Ideas Bank for examples and templates so you can try making one with a service user.

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Page last reviewed: 14 August, 2017