One-page profiles: 12 things everyone needs to know

Written by Guest Blogger Max Neill

Max Neill

Max Neill

Since Helen Sanderson  put together the first one-page profile for her daughter Laura, as a way of introducing her to her new teacher, thousands of people have written and used their own. Each of these profiles has a slightly different purpose: some are written with people with learning disabilities, some are people who use mental health services, some are for children, some are for elderly people, some are by cancer survivors, others by people facing the end of their life, there are even one pagers for tiny babies, while some are used in schools, some in hospitals, and some in workplaces as a way that teams can appreciate and learn about each other.

All one-page profiles however aim to sum up the key things that are important to that person at that time, and to help them get the kind of support that makes sense for them, and every one-page profile focuses on the individual, seeking to reveal their particular gifts, the most positive things about them, the things that people like and admire, that link them with other people.

Here are 12 things everyone needs to know about one-page profiles

  1. They can be used by anybody.
  2. They usually contain the headings “What people like and admire about me” “What is important to me” “How to best support me”.
  3. They’re one of the many person-centred thinking tools used by the International Learning Community for Person Centred Practices.
  4. They can sum up a person’s existing person-centred planning, or be used to begin it from scratch.
  5. You can have more than one one-page profile, for different parts of your life.
  6. You can choose who sees your one-page profile, and who doesn’t.
  7. Personal Assistants, teachers and other staff often prefer the one-page profile’s simple format to ringbinders full of difficult to access information.
  8. One-page profiles often include information shared by the people closest to you – what they like and admire about you, and ways they know to support you well.
  9. Paid workers can have their own one-page profiles, to share with the people they support, their families and their colleagues.
  10. You can include everything that really matters to you under “what is important to me” including your important rituals and routines, what makes you feel comfortable, your deepest values and preferences in life.
  11. Once you have your one-page profile, you can think about what’s working and not working – whether you’re getting the things that are important to you in your life, and whether you are being supported in a way that makes sense to you, and think of actions to address this.
  12. One-page profiles are never finished. We’re always updating and changing them as we learn  more about ourselves. They can also be added to, using other person-centred thinking tools and skills.

The essential thing about one-page profiles is that they come from a paradigm that highlights the strengths and gifts of the person, rather than reveling in their deficits. As a key part of modern person-centred practices, they aim to shift power and control toward the person, so that any support they receive matches with their core values and makes sense in the context of what is important to them. They’re also an incredibly simple and practical tool, so that with the right training, many people can use them effectively to generate positive change in their own and other’s lives.

I hope you will spend time exploring the examples of one-page profiles that people have generously shared on this wesbsite.

You can also learn about the potential of one-page profiles to generate positive change quickly and effectively through resources like this great YouTube video of Gill Bailey telling Arthur’s story.

If you want to find out even more, then read this paper Helen Sanderson and Gill Bailey wrote along with me where we explore how one-page profiles fit together with some of the other person-centred thinking tools and approaches.