Getting back on your feet

An example of how this 85 year-old used a one-page profile to help direct all the new support she was receiving in her life following a fall and a short hospital stay. Mary lives at home and had lost her confidence after her accident. Her one-page profile has helped her get back on her feet.

Written by Gill Bailey

Mary's one-page profile

Mary’s one-page profile

Mary is 85 years old, she lives in Preston in a house she owns and she has lived there for around 50 years. She has raised her children there and has fond memories connected to her home and would not like to move anywhere else. Mary’s husband George sadly passed away seven years ago. Since then Mary has been living on her own. Mary has always been independent and says she has been brought up not to expect any help from anyone and to “get on with it”.

Mary has devoted her life to raising her two children: daughter Diane and son John who both have their own families now. They live in Preston and visit Mary on a regular basis. Mary cherishes her time with her children and grandchildren and is delighted when they come to visit. They also often take her for a meal out.

Following a fall caused by an uneven pathway whilst out shopping, Mary was taken to hospital in an ambulance she was thoroughly checked over. Although nothing was fractured she was badly bruised and had lost her confidence in going out, as she was scared of falling again. It was clear Mary would need ongoing support from domiciliary care services and so Alex (a reablement team member responsible for supporting Mary back to living life as she chose) met with her and her family to develop a one-page profile.

The aim was to use the one-page profile with the various people and teams that would be involved in Mary’s ongoing care. It would provide a concise account of what Mary truly wanted and how they could support her best. A lot of rich information came out of the conversations with Mary and her family and this was used to inform her profile, which Mary ultimately wrote herself. We learned that Mary goes to bingo weekly on Mondays and to a lunching club at the local community centre on Thursdays which she thoroughly enjoyed and clearly wanted to continue.

We also uncovered that Mary doesn’t always remember to take her medication and she keeps it on the kitchen table so she remembers to take her tablets after breakfast. It was really important to Mary that she managed her own medication and she didn’t wish for staff to support her with this although she was happy for supporters to ask how she is getting in with her system.

Since the fall Mary uses a walking stick and feels safer and steadier with it than without. Mary is now confident enough to keep to her bingo and lunching club commitments, and considers herself to be “back to normal”.

Mary says that her profile really helps people get to know her quickly and means she isn’t having to tell staff over and over what she needs because the one-page profile does this for her. It means that staff can ensure she has what matters present on a day to day basis and that she is consistently supported regardless of the number of different people involved in providing that support.

A view of the world from a different perspective

Philip's one-page profile

Philip’s one-page profile

An excellent example of how one-page profiles can empower people to achieve their goals. Philip is Autistic and has his own unique perspective on life. With the help of his one-page profile he has been able to do things that had previously worried him and is one step closer to fulfilling his life ambition; being famous!

Written by Suzanne

Philip is 26 years old. He is very witty, chatty and his biggest goal in life is to be famous! Philip is very likeable and he has an army of supporters and admirers. He makes a lasting impression on everyone he meets.

Part of his fantastic character is the fact Philip has Autistic Spectrum Disorder. His view of the world is very different to a lot of people. Philip has helped us appreciate the diversity of looking at and interpreting the world. There is no correct way to perceive our environment however, there are many ways to see the same thing and each of them may be correct if seen from the right perspective. This is what Philip does; he gives us his perspective of how he sees life.

In 2012 one of Philips greatest personal achievements was going to the Supermarket. This took a lot of planning with Philip who initiated the trip by saying that he wanted to go shopping and that if we got him a wheelchair he would go. The wheelchair makes him feel safe even though he has no physical disabilities; Philip is terrified of strangers, people and community life.

We researched several Supermarkets and approached them with Philip’s consent explaining the situation, discussing different types of wheelchairs they provide and the best times to access them. Sainsbury’s at Bishop Aukland were very helpful. We took Philip and checked out different wheelchair options. We also gave Sainsbury’s Philips one-page profile with his consent. His profile has all the important information about Philip, what is important to him, what people like and admire about him and how best to support him. This helped people at Sainsbury’s get a picture of Philip before meeting him so they had a good understanding of who he is. They all read and appreciated the information and I believe it helped them gain a deeper understanding before meeting Philip in person which undoubtedly improved his experience.

Philip goes shopping now every Tuesday. He has had his picture in the Northern Echo and a story about this achievement. He is more comfortable around people and has built a circle of friends from staff who work there. We also used the one-page profile when Philip wanted to go Horse riding. It is a good “ice Breaker” and Philip loves the fact that people know him before he has met them and it makes him less anxious. He is trying new things now and feels more confident that “the world is ready for Him”

Before producing his one-page profile, Philip only went to the moors or places where there are very few people. I can safely say that it has changed his life and he is more involved and having more new experiences than ever before.

Bridging the gap between home and school

An excellent example of how one-page profiles in schools can help pupils and teachers adjust to a new term, build confidence, enhance understanding and communicate additional support needs. Jacob had struggled to make progress with his writing and to engage in certain lessons. His one-page profile has helped him turn this around, with his writing improving significantly and a better consistency in support between home and school.

Jacob's one-page profile

Jacob’s one-page profile

Written by Jacob’s mum Marianne 

My son Jacob is nine years old. He lives at home with me, his dad and his two younger brothers. Jacob loves playing computer games and watching films.

Jacob doesn’t get any formal additional support at school but has been struggling for a couple of years to make progress with his writing. He enjoys being in class but can find it difficult to concentrate when the subject matter doesn’t grab his attention.

Jacob’s youngest brother has had a one-page profile for quite a while and so during the summer holidays before starting Year 5, Jacob and I decided we would develop one for him too. We hoped it would help his new teacher get to know him quickly.

We asked Jacob’s teachers who already knew him well to tell us what they had learnt about him over the last year. We asked them to focus in particular on the things they liked about him as well as the support he needs to get the most out of learning.

We also asked the rest of our family what they love about him. Jacob spent time thinking about the things he most enjoyed about being at school – the things that meant he had a great day there.

Jacob loves playing on his dad’s ipad and decided he wanted to use an app called pic collage to develop what his profile looked like. This meant he could design it as he wanted to.

Jacob took his one-page profile back to school with him after the summer holidays and gave it to his new teacher. A copy was also given to his Kumon teacher which he started at the same time.

The profile is kept on our fridge at home so everyone can see it. His dad and I use the ‘important for’ section in particular when helping him with his homework.

The plan is to update it properly, once a year. As the summer term comes to an end, we will ask his Year 5 teachers to share their learning about how best to support Jacob at school in preparation for helping year 6 get off to the best start.

Jacob is already working out how his next profile will look – he’s decided that the wrestling and superheroes photos will most likely be replaced with Skylanders!

Jacob really enjoyed creating his own profile. He said that he liked having a photo that wasn’t of him wearing his school uniform and he liked being able to find photos of the things he likes to put on it.

When his profile was given to his Kumon teacher, she said it was one of the most useful things she had seen in terms of understanding Jacobs learning support needs straight away.

His school teacher was new to the whole school not just Jacob, so his profile helped her quickly get a feel for what mattered to Jacob, how to get him and keep him interested in learning.

We absolutely loved hearing from his year 4 teachers what they liked about him as did Jacob! It was so good to hear the genuine affection and regard they had for him and to hear how different he is at school from at home. We also found the information about how to support him at school really helpful and detailed. We hadn’t been given this information previously and it made a real difference to how we now support Jacob at home with school work.

Jacob has made much progress in his first two terms of year 5. The school has a better understanding of how to engage in what he is learning and his concentration has therefore improved. He has made more progress in his writing this year than he has in the previous three years and there is more consistency between home and school in how we all support him. I’m looking forward to repeating the process each year and seeing how Jacob and his one-page profiles evolve.

You can find more examples of using one-page profiles and other person-centred thinking tools in a school setting from this website

A snapshot; This is me!

An example of how by developing a one-page profile this mother of three has built the confidence to self advocate and direct her own support.  Marie started her profile journey after a stay in a woman’s shelter led her to Centrepoint Facilitation for Housing. Her story demonstrates how strength, perseverance and better communication can lead to positive life changes.

Marie's one-page profile

Marie’s one-page profile

Written by Carol Carters

Eva Marie is a single mother with three young children who we met in July 2012. She was staying at a local woman’s shelter with her children and was referred to Centerpoint Facilitation for Housing Support.  Eva Marie is 30 years old and likes to go by the name Marie. She has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, and so have two of her children. 

The one-page profile was developed with Marie so that I, as her Housing Support Worker, could learn more about her and her family and how best to support them. It was also intended to help Marie share what was important to her in regards to her children and to assist her in being able to see what a wonderful mother and person she is.  It was hoped that the one-page profile would give anyone supporting Marie a “snapshot” of who she is and how best to support her as an individual.

In order to develop her profile Marie and I first met to work through what is important to her and her family. Together, we then talked about how Marie would best like to be supported, and what people should do to support her.  We met several times in order to develop the profile. During this time Marie was able to find housing and moved into her new home.

The one-page profile helped me and other supports in her life to not only understand her more deeply and support her in the way that she wanted and needed, but it also identified all of Marie’s gifts and strengths.  It gave Marie a huge sense of self achievement, helping her to see how she has persevered and how strong and independent she really is.  Since the one-page profile was developed with Marie, she has taken pride in being able to advocate for herself and make the community connections that she wanted for herself and her girls.

Soon after her profile was developed, Marie received an eviction notice from her landlord.  Marie felt that the eviction notice was unfair and started proceedings to dispute it all on her own.  I supported her in this, in the way that her profile specified.

The impact the one-page profile has had on her has been significant in her feeling strong and able to deal with the different challenges that her disability and the disabilities of her children present.  Marie and her children are supported in the way that works for them, as people can clearly see what this looks like.  When I am away, the backup Housing Support Worker can take a look at Marie’s profile and know how to support her and her family.

Marie is more confident in her own abilities and is able to advocate for herself in many different situations such as her income, her children’s school, and her tenancy.

Read how Helen Sanderson Associates are using person-centred thinking tools with people who are homeless or who need support to find housing here.

Getting the right support in school

Jordan OPP

Jordan’s one-page profile

An excellent example of how by using a one-page profile in school, teachers can respond to the individual needs of their students, modifying their language and offering the right support for their future.  Jordan lets her profile speak for her when she doesn’t feel comfortable doing so herself and has had a great response from her teachers and school.

Written by Barb Swartz-Biscaro

Jordan is a 15 year old young lady from Dunchurch Ontario, Canada. When Jordan was starting secondary school in 2011, she and her mom created a High School one-page profile that included her vision of what she wanted to achieve. They felt it was really important to use a profile since she was moving from a very small elementary school and had some emotional and academic struggles. They wanted to educate her teachers about who she was and how to help her be successful.

Jordan and her mom worked together to type up a detailed profile using the information from the interactive one-page profile workshops they had taken part in.  The workshops also included an activity focusing on developing vision boards.

The profile was sent to all of her teachers at the beginning of each semester as well as the guidance counsellor, principal and vice principal. Each of the teachers responded by thanking Jordan and her mom for sharing it and offering essential information for supporting Jordan. The teachers used it to refer to throughout each semester and in conversations with Jordan’s mom. It is updated every new school year.

Most importantly Jordan is able to attend school with the confidence that her teachers are aware of who she is without having to explain herself verbally. Her Grade 9 French teacher noticed specifically the information about public speaking being a real struggle for Jordan.  He made arrangements with her to make the process less stressful and help her grow in that area. By the end of the semester Jordan was feeling much more confident about speaking in groups. The one-page profile also helped ensure that she had the necessary courses for her career choice.  At the end of the first semester after really struggling with Math, her teacher suggested she drop down one academic level in Grade 10. Her guidance counsellor saw this recommendation and referred to her vision in her profile which included a college diploma in child care. Her guidance counsellor knew that she would not achieve this vision if she were to take the recommended Math and spoke to Jordan’s mom about other options to keep Jordan in her current academic level. Jordan sought Math tutoring over her Grade 10 year and has achieved a high average in Math.

In Grade 10 Jordan started the year with some new teachers and struggles and worked with her mom to make changes to her profile to reflect this. Most notably, a teacher was calling her by her last name which she did not like but was uncomfortable asking him to stop. She added this to her profile and handed it to him and he began using only her first name. She also added that the location of her locker is significant to reducing her anxiety levels and the school accommodated her by giving her a locker central to her classes.

Jordan has seen great success with her profile and its updates. It seems to speak for her, which she is not comfortable doing. Teachers have appreciated receiving it and made whatever modifications they could to help her have a successful school day and year.

There is a website dedicated to sharing examples and best practice of personalisation in education where you can find out more about using one-page profiles in schools:

Birth plan using a one-page profile – “push it good”

An example of how using a one-page profile format to produce a birthing plan gave these first time parents the confidence and control they needed in labour. Robin and Adam’s story also describes the benefits of presenting important information in this way to medical staff; helping them tune in to the couple and support them in the birth of their daughter.

Written by Robin and Adam

robin and adam's birth planWe are first time parents who used a one-page profile format to write our birth plan. We had noticed that most birth plans being given out during our hospital tour were only casually glanced at by the nursing staff and we wanted to make sure that the people present at our birth would pay greater attention to ours. We had very particular requests and it was important that we delivered the information in a way that was quick and easy to read.

To write our birth plan profile, we invited our friends and family for tea and we casually shared what we thought we wanted.  They offered suggestions and ideas and it worked well because it was casual and at home.

We shared our birth plan one-page profile with our family doctor and OBGYN (both of whom loved it!). We kept a copy in our medical file and also had a copy placed on the door of our birthing suite.

During some of the more tense and scary moments of my daughter’s birth, we were able to keep all support staff on the same page thanks to our plan. This was helpful to them since they were not fumbling with a five page document which is what they often had to work with.

More importantly, it helped us as first time parents to have a team that knew how to support us best.  Naturally, we were terrified of the labour process at the time, and this enabled us to have a sense of control in what is sometimes a chaotic process.

Having our birth plan in a one-page profile format also really helped the nursing staff understand what was important to us (get her out as safely as possible!) and what support we needed as first timers (I don’t handle blood well!). Many nurses and students came up to us afterwards wanting to know more about it, and how they could encourage other parents to write birth plans in this way.

We really feel that producing our birth plan in this way was paramount in making our labour experience such a positive one. We had one nurse come in with an iPod and sing “push it good” by salt-n-peppa on a whim and we actually laughed during labour. How many people can say that?  We later learned that the nursing staff felt comfortable going the extra mile as they felt that they knew us as a couple thanks to our plan and it really helped them know how to make our experience a positive one.

If you would like to read more about people’s experiences using person-centred thinking tools in pregnancy and labour you can follow our pregnancy, parenting and personalisation blog here.