Personal Communication Passports are a practical and person-centred way of supporting children, young people and adults who cannot easily speak for themselves. Passports are a way of pulling complex information together and presenting it in an easy-to-follow format. Passports aim to:
- Present the person positively as an individual, not as a set of 'problems' or disabilities;
- Provide a place for the person's own views and preferences to be recorded and drawn to the attention of others;
- Reflect the person's unique character, sense of humour etc.;
- Describe the person's most effective means of communication and how others can best communicate with, and support the person;
- Draw together information from past and present, and from different contexts, to help staff and conversation partners understand the person and have successful interactions;
- Place equal value on the views of all who know the person well, as well as the views of the specialist professionals.
The advantage of Passports is that they are easy to read, informative, useful and fun. They are highly personal, so guidelines to good practice are outlined in this book to protect the children and vulnerable people who use Passports.
The only disadvantage is that Passports (good ones, anyway!) take longer to make than you might think. Therefore this book also includes suggested strategies to support their creation and use.
Who uses Passports?
Passports are used in home, care, social work, health and education settings. They are of key importance in the community to link up input from all of those different settings. Passports are useful for a very wide range of people. It is not to do with age or medical diagnosis, it is primarily to do with communication difficulties, and life circumstances.
Sally Millar invented Personal Communication Passports approach in 1991, coinciding with a similar approach known as 'Client Books', one part of the Newcastle Interaction Assessment Network. At the time, Passports was a new way of documenting and presenting information about children and adults with disabilities who were unable to speak for themselves.
They have since come to be widely used in home, care, social work, health and education settings. Personal Communication Passports are a way of making sense of formal assessment information and recording the important things about a child or adult, in an accessible and person-centred way, and of supporting an individual's transitions between services. Importantly, also, a Passport is more than the end-product booklet. Creating a Passport is a process. The decision to create and use a Passport gives a clear focus for ongoing home/school liaison, partnership working with families, and for interdisciplinary collaboration.