In celebration of Learning Disability week, I am delighted to introduce my guest blogger, Georgie, a leader in demonstrating the value of one-page profiles

My name is Georgie. I am 17 years old (nearly 18!) and I have just finished school. I have autism and an acquired brain injury and because of this I had a Statement at school. I have no idea what this said about me but I think it meant that the school got some money to help support me. I have a one page profile and I do know what that says because I did it with my Mum and Dad. It has been a really important thing for me to have and I would like to tell you about this.

At school each year I had new teachers and teaching assistants who did not know me well. Some of them thought that I was just like all the other students because I know how to cope with the things I find most difficult. But Im not like all the other students, Im me. I needed my teachers to know the things that are important to me, because they really matter to me and knowing about them helps to make my days good. I had two operations because I had a huge abscess which took over the left hand side of my brain and because of this I have learning difficulties. Im a really good learner but I need to learn in a certain way and need people to help me. At first the school gave me lots of different teaching assistants and I found this very hard because they didnt know me or understand me, even though they were very nice and did their best to help me. Finally in Year 12 the school paid attention to my one page profile and so they gave me two teaching assistants to support me every day who got to know me really well. I was happy with them and they knew when I was not happy even though I would not say anything.

pic 1Miss Whiteman is the Vice Principal for Personalisation at school and we have looked at my one page profile together when I was finding things tough and worrying. She got to know what matters to me and how to support me the best and made sure that other teachers and teaching assistants knew all of this information. It doesnt take long read my one page profile but it definitely helps to make sure things are right for me and that I have good days at school.

pic 2Next year I may go to college to study child care. I had to have an interview with James from the learning support team and I took my one page profile to share with him. He thought it was helpful to get to know me a lot better even though he already had my LDA document. I made sure he kept a copy so that he can share this if I do start college.

At the moment I am volunteering 4 days a week in the Reception class at a primary school. I really love it there. The children all love me and want to be with me. I help them with their learning and help the staff by getting the classrooms ready. Before I started at Brooklands Farm Primary School I sent them my one page profile. The Head of Lower School shared my one page profile with all the staff in the Foundation Unit and this helped me to have a really easy start to my work there. I knew that they knew about my difficulties but they also knew what Im really good at and what people like about me. For example, Im very sensitive to noise and this is on my one page profile. I do know how to cope but it is good if people understand that noisy times can be difficult for me. Sometimes when the children are being really noisy the staff check that Im okay with this. If they hadnt seen my one page profile they wouldnt know this important thing about me.

My Mum shared my one page profile with a school she is working with and the Deputy Head saw that I am a Northampton Saints rugby fan and that I have a season ticket. Her two sons both play in the first team and when she read how important this is to me she got me two signed photographs which made me feel really special.

I think it is a great idea for everyone to have a one page profile especially if you have special needs like me and need people to understand you. I am really hoping that I get an apprenticeship at a primary school because that would be the perfect job for me. My one page profile will be really important for people to get to know me not just that I have autism and learning difficulties. I am really glad that I have a one page profile and I will show it to anyone who I think needs to know all about me.

Advertisements

The importance of being involved

An example of how using a theme for a one-page profile can help capture the imagination of the person producing it and those using it. This story shares how an avid football supporter is assisted to have a better understanding of his support team and them to him, by producing a one-page profile.

Written by Sarah Macey

Bob's one-page profile

Bob’s one-page profile

Bob is a 57 year-old man with an insatiable passion for football. A season ticket holder and an avid fan, Bob loves everything about Nottingham Forest FC. Bob has a learning disability and has lived in the same residential service for over 20 years.  He has an understanding of his needs and is able to verbalise his immediate desires, although bigger concepts are more challenging.

Over the years Bob has had several similar versions of the one-page profile.  These were usually initiated by new support staff wanting a simple, positive introduction to Bob’s personality without focusing on his disability. More recently the team felt that the one-page profile would assist Bob better if he had greater involvement in producing it. They felt strongly that Bob could and should help design it, which in turn would ensure that they were supporting him in the way that he wanted.

Bob is rarely interested in paperwork but immediately became interested in the profile when staff presented it in a football theme. This was the first step in encouraging his involvement and getting him to start to talk about what was important to him.

Bob used to live with his elderly parents.  Ever since moving into the residential service, Bob has struggled to comprehend the roles of support staff and the boundaries that exist, making references to ‘servants’ and ‘friends’. Using the one-page profile Bob made a correlation between his favourite football team and the support team in his service, this has helped in his understanding of roles significantly.  Bob was asked which role he would personally like to have; he chose to be the owner of the club.  The (staff) team are viewed as there to try their hardest for his club, whilst the manager’s role is to get the best out of the team and occasionally show a yellow or red card if a player (staff member) commits a foul.  Senior managers/auditors are described as fourth officials.

The new one-page profile has had an unexpected outcome for Bob. Because the football theme captured his imagination so well, it has led to him understanding the roles of everyone associated with his service, when before he did not.  Even more importantly for Bob, the profile has emphasised his passion for football.  Not only are the existing staff team more aware of this, but new staff members joining the service immediately know about the importance of Bob’s hobby across his whole life.

Having a one-page profile based on his favourite football club appeals hugely to Bob.  The familiar terms used have helped his understanding of how the staff team are structured and the roles held  by each person.  To staff, Bob is seen as a unique person with a significant social activity that helps to define his life.

Revolutionising the way we teach

One-page profiles are used with every pupil in this school so that teachers can personalise the education and support that they give. Capturing the individual information about each child in this way has changed the way they teach and share information. This is Sion’s story.

Sion's one-page profile

Sion’s one-page profile

Written by Teacher, Carys Bird

Sion is 14 years old, born one of twins, he is on the autistic spectrum and has no verbal language but makes his needs known by making noises and reaching for items. Sion has severe learning disabilities, and attends a Special Needs School.

As a school we took the approach that each pupil would have a one-page profile and a person-centred review.  Sion’s profile was developed as part of that piece of work.  We wanted to take a person-centred approach to education to ensure that we supported each pupil as an individual and to make sure that others had positive and useful information about each child as they came into school as visitors or professionals.

Sion’s one-page profile was developed by classroom staff, as well as others who know him well.  It has been added to and changed over the years as Sion has grown and developed.  We use the person-centred review process annually and this gives us the opportunity to formally update Sion’s profile with his parents and other professionals who support him.

Sion’s one-page profile can be accessed quickly from a file in the classroom enabling people to identify Sion, and to be immediately aware of how best to support him, as well as giving them a positive description and information which helps them to engage with Sion.  As he enters ‘transition’ it will be used to inform the development of his Transition Plan.

Using one-page profiles throughout our school has made understanding the needs of pupils at each level much easier.  For Sion, it has taken the guesswork out of getting to know and understand him, especially for new staff coming into school, and professionals who are starting to work with him through transition, such as his careers adviser.

Other people knowing how to interact and engage with Sion has led to him feeling more comfortable with staff and has reduced his anxieties when around new people. This has resulted in him having more positive connections with others and he will now sit alongside his fellow pupils in class of his own accord.

As all staff understand the importance of consistency in supporting Sion, he is now able to have more social opportunities out and about as part of his school day.  Staff no longer have to delve into huge files to find the information, which is not clear and concise, in order to support Sion well . His one-page profile holds all the vital information and positively presents Sion, making it easier for people to support him in what he wants to do and build a relationship with him based on a deeper understanding.

To learn more about personalising education visit www.personalisingeducation.org