Planning for the future

A powerful example of how this young woman’s one-page profile has empowered her and her family in her transition from school, to volunteering, to hiring her own personal assistant and accessing her personal budget.

Melissa's one-page profile

Melissa’s one-page profile

Written by Debra and Ronnie

Melissa is our gorgeous, bubbly, engaging 21 year old daughter, who has a learning disability.  Melissa lives at home with us, her Mum and Dad. She sees Grandma often, spending time with her going shopping at least once a week.  Melissa has support from a personal assistant through her personal budget and lives the life she chooses, has a voluntary job and spends quality time with her friends and family.

Melissa attended a special school and we were invited to a meeting in her last year by Cath (the local Person Centred Practice coordinator) and Liz (a family expert in person-centred approaches).  The meeting was about hopes and fears for the future; we had hopes for Melissa’s future but these were often outweighed by our fears of what the future held…we had never heard of person-centred approaches or what support was available or how to ask for it.  After the meeting we felt more hopeful and had support from Cath to get the ball rolling for Melissa’s future.  We wanted to capture information about Melissa to share with others, match her with someone who could support her well and use to support her getting a personal budget.

Melissa already knew Cath from her time spent in school and it felt comfortable having chats at home all together to think about the things that were important to Melissa and what good support looked like.  Our starting point was developing a one-page profile together.

Being able to capture what we know as parents to share with others was really important.  We hadn’t used any other support for Melissa apart from family, so the one-page profile gave us confidence that people would have the right information to support her well.  The first time we used it (and the first time we had any involvement with social services) was meeting with the social worker for Melissa’s personal budget.  The one-page profile helped us enormously because we had captured the information in advance and we didn’t forget things when answering questions. This made the meeting a positive experience, the social worker was impressed with the profile.  We also used it to think about the type of person we wanted to support Melissa and the information they would need to know to support her well.

Beginning with Melissa’s one-page profile started the ball rolling to think about other person-centred thinking tools we could use; we used a communication chart to give more detail about the support Melissa needs around her epilepsy and migraines, and the matching tool to think about the type of person that could support Melissa well.  We update it to reflect the changes in Melissa’s life, for example when she finished at college and was thinking about what she wants to do next.  Melissa now has a volunteer job which she loves, has made new friends and kept in touch with old ones, takes the lead for arranging get togethers with her friends over coffee before going bowling and is taking control over her own life with confidence.

Melissa’s profile helps us all to think about what is important to her to have quality in her life and the support she needs to achieve this. It’s great to be able to capture this on one piece of paper.