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The P.A.S.S. Approach

To view the full 8-minute presentation click the video below

To download a free P.A.S.S. Approach printout click HERE  

To read the full paper outlining the P.A.S.S. Approach click HERE

The P.A.S.S. Approach is designed to help those who uses an Augmentative and Alternative Communication device feel comfortable engaging in conversation. The idea was sparked by my daughter, who relies on an AAC device to communicate. After many public outings, I realized not everyone is comfortable talking to her and interactions can quickly become awkward and even embarrassing for everyone involved. Imagine if every interaction you had with some made them uncomfortable. You wouldn't want to interact with many people. This approach is designed to help alleviate the awkwardness.


I originally created it for librarians. As a librarian myself, I understand the importance of access to information and wanted to ensure that everyone felt comfortable in the library. I created this step-by-step guide and wrote a paper which is featured in a publication by the American Library Association titled Serving Patrons with Disabilities. You can read the full paper HERE.


I then decided that everyone can benefit from this approach. So please review it, implement it, and share it.   

What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)? 

  • An alternative form of communication

  • Everyone uses AAC in one way or another, emojis for example

  • Some people use a speech generating tech device like an iPad due to difficulty with verbal speech

What does P.A.S.S. stand for?

  • Patience

  • Attention

  • Speak

  • Support 


  • Using an AAC device takes time

  • Wait for the user to construct their sentences without talking over them


  • Resist the urge to fill the lag time with activity 

  • Don't shift your attention to something or someone else


  • Beware of your pitch, volume, and tone - in other words use your natural voice

  • Talk directly to the AAC user, not their caregiver should one be present


  • In a work environment (this approach was originally developed for librarians to help patrons who use AAC devices) the support of other staff members and supervisors is essential

  • If a colleague is helping an AAC user, take on other duties so they can spend the time needed to assist the person

  • If your colleague is working on a time sensitive assignment, you can step in and help the AAC user since you too know the PASS Approach

The PASS Approach poster color.png
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