Feeling valued and supported at work

Corrina wrote this story last year (before the birth of her first child). She shares with us how using a one-page profile in her role as a primary school teacher has helped her feel valued as an individual within her staff team and how it has significantly improved her appraisal and performance management process.

Corrina's one-page profile

Corrina’s one-page profile

Written by Corrina Warren

I am 26 years old and I am a primary school teacher at Oxley Park Academy, I have worked at Oxley Park for five years. I work in Key Stage Two and I love working and learning alongside the children. In June 2013 I am due to become a mum for the first time and I can’t wait for my son to be born.

I have a one-page profile as a member of staff at Oxley Park Academy. As a school we are currently working hard on driving forward personalisation  and the Academy Principal, Cathy Higgins, felt that it was important for the staff to be valued as individuals as well as the children.

We had training on what the purpose of a one-page profiles is and how to develop each section. Cathy then asked us to write our own for us to share with her at our Performance Management meeting. The purpose of doing this was so that Cathy had a greater understanding of the staff as individuals and what she could do to support us and to help develop us as professionals.

Teachers have Performance Management Meetings with Cathy on a termly basis. As part of the review process we share our one-page profiles and update Cathy, where necessary, on any amendments that have been made. Cathy uses the information from the one-page profile to help us set targets as well as offer strategies and guidance in order to help support us as individuals.

For me personally, the ‘Like and Admire’ is my favourite section of my one-page profile. This section reminds me of how I am valued and appreciated by my colleagues and always makes me smile when I read it. However, in terms of usefulness, the ‘How to support me best’ section is the most important. This is the section that is reviewed and updated most frequently and is the most important bit for Cathy to know because ultimately she is the one who implements the support for me.

Having the one-page profile and sharing it with Cathy has meant that she now has a greater understanding of what she can do in order to help me achieve my goals at work and ensure that what’s important to me is being met. Cathy knows that I like structure and for my job role to be clear, because of this I now have a clearly defined job description which outlines my roles and responsibilities. This has supported me greatly as I know who and what I am responsible for and no longer worry about things that are not part of my job role.

I now feel that I am able to confidently approach Cathy if I have any concerns about work and my work/life balance and I use my one-page profile to help me do this. It enables me to communicate with Cathy and share my feelings in a way that I might otherwise find difficult to do. Having the information written down in front of me ensures that I share how I am really feeling and Cathy also keeps a copy of it to keep on file with my Performance Management Meeting notes so that she also has a record of what has been agreed.

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What makes this pupil tick?

This school introduced one-page profiles to all pupils in Alan’s year. The profiles helped pupils think about what was important to them and what support they needed, not just for academia but to achieve their wider ambitions. This is how one-page profiles and the activities around creating one-page profiles worked for Alan.

Alan's one-page profile

Alan’s one-page profile

Written by Manchester Grammar School

Alan is a Year 10 pupil at MGS. He is one of our top academic performers and is a tremendously talented young man. It was really interesting for us as a staff to see how someone in this bracket would respond to the activities of the one-page profile.

Whilst it is often the case that one-page profiles can help to solve problems, it is not immediately obvious that Alan has any. The hope was that through engaging with the one-page profile process, Alan would take the opportunity to reflect on the position that he is in and set himself some ambitious targets for the short and medium term. It would also be a chance for Alan to put in writing and discuss with his parents and tutor anything that he thought could be improved upon and the part that they might play in this.

Alan said of his one-page profile; ‘It gets people to think about their strengths weaknesses and what they could do to improve themselves. It made them think about what makes them tick and asks them to try to do certain things more often so that they have more good days.’

When talking about his own experience Alan said, ‘Personally I was using it to think about support I might need in subjects that weren’t quite going as well as the rest rather than things that were going badly wrong.’

This was interesting as it shows that even for a top performer the one-page profile could help to focus the pupil’s mind on subtle aspects of school life that might need attention. Alan placed a lot of value in the supplementary exercises that we did beyond the one-page profile. The first of these was an activity where he imagined that he had been sent to the future, first by five years and then by ten years, and wrote a letter to his current self, to explain what life is like there.

‘It made me realise that I haven’t decided what I want to do yet. It made me start to identify important decisions that are on the horizon and made me think about where I might be going in the future’ he said.

The next activity we asked Alan to do was to consider what was working at school and what wasn’t. At a parent – Form Tutor meeting these ideas were discussed and both parties made contributions to Alan’s ideas.

Of the general process Alan said, ‘Working/not working gives the important people in school an idea about how people are getting on. If you’ve written down serious things are not working then parents and teachers would act on it.’

Of his own experiences Alan said, ‘I was struggling with Islam in Religious Studies, especially exam preparation. This was discussed after working/not working and Form Tutor day. My Form Tutor spoke to my teacher about it and it has made a big difference.’

Having a one-page profile at school to think about his academic studies, his relationship with peers and teachers, his future and  to identify what support he needs to achieve what he has outlined as important has been very helpful to Alan. It has given him another way to get his point across and helped him think about his school life and wider life with greater reflection.

One-page profile are being updated throughout the year and Alan is sharing a draft version

One-page profile – A vehicle to talk

An example of how introducing one-page profiles within the school gave teachers a valuable insight into their students, equipping them with information that would lead to better support and relationships.

John's one-page profile

John’s one-page profile

Written by Manchester Grammar School Head of Year

John is a Year 10 pupil at MGS. Academically John did not have a good start to Year 10 and his report at the end of his first term was not as good as we had hoped. His teachers were citing a lack of effort and his exam grades were way down on previous reports. We had hoped that each of our pupils would benefit from the one-page profiles in many ways, but it was a particularly opportune time for John to start the process.

Following his report John was having regular meetings with me (his Head of Year) to discuss his individual subjects and his approach to work. Meanwhile John was completing several activities with his form tutor around our one-page profile programme. It was the one-page profile and in particular the section on ‘What is important to me?’ that was the most useful. John had received guidance about filling in his one-page profile from his Form Tutor and from me. He knew that when he came to explain what was important to him, he was only supposed to include things that either he could consciously control or things that he could control with the help of others.

In ‘what’s important to me’ John wrote,

‘To get a good night’s sleep. I feel I go to bed well too late and then have to get up really early. This affects me in my lessons as I feel droopy and put no effort into my classwork.’

He also wrote,

‘To get a healthy breakfast. Usually I don’t get breakfast because I don’t put the effort into getting breakfast. During some lessons I can only think about getting some food at break or lunch and therefore my classwork suffers.’

This gave me as John’s Head of Year an immediate insight in to the problems that John was having. As John always seems like a cheerful and awake young man when I see him it had never occurred to me to talk to him about sleep and his diet. The one-page profile gave me a vehicle to talk about these issues with John and very quickly I was able to gather some more information around the subject. It turned out that John was only having breakfast one school day per week and that he was rarely in bed before midnight. All of a sudden it was not surprising that John’s concentration in lessons and the quality of his work had deteriorated. In ‘How best to support me’ John had simply written,

‘Send me to bed at a reasonable time so I am allowed to have a good night sleep.’

and,

‘Either give me some breakfast or remind me to get breakfast.’

This is very simple advice that I have acted upon. Whenever I see John in school I make sure that he has had breakfast and check what time he went to bed. I have also asked his brother to keep an eye on him as well. When parents were shown the one-page profile there was an opportunity for John and his Form Tutor to discuss these issues and suggestions with them face to face.

Using John as an example, the one-page profile process has resulted in the school receiving some very important, yet simple information about a pupil. Parents, teachers and the pupil were then able to work together for a solution to the identified problem.

Who decides a child’s potential? 4 benefits to using one-page profiles in School

Cathy Higgins

Cathy Higgins

Written by guest blogger Cathy Higgins, Head teacher at Oxley Park Academy

I’ve always found it strange when people talk about a child reaching their full potential. What is their full potential and who exactly decided it? It strikes me that by identifying this invisible finishing line and then pushing a child right up to it and nothing more, we are seriously underestimating what is possible.

I’ve worked in education for 30 years and have been Head Teacher three times. In 2005 I was appointed to Oxley Park Academy before it had even been built and was fortunate enough to take Headship at a time when I could influence its shape from the bottom up; quite literally – I was on site with a hard hat helping design something wonderful for our community!

When we opened in October that year, we had 100 pupils. We now have 550 and a waiting list but our size isn’t the only thing that has changed. In July 2011 we converted to academy status. We are still a state school but rather than taking direction from our local authority, we are funded centrally which means we have the freedom to develop the curriculum and to allocate money to the areas that we know supports our pupils, staff and community best.  In short, it has allowed us to be more person-centred and using one-page profiles with all 550 of our pupils is one of the ways that we do this.

In September 2011 we employed two people to drive forward our approach to personalisation. We don’t have Special Educational Needs teachers here at the school because we see every child as having individual requirements and we firmly believe that by adopting person-centred practices within our school’s culture, we can support and teach each child well.

One-page profiles celebrate the individual gifts and talents of our pupils. They also capture the essential information about what is important to and for each child and it is this that enables us to support and encourage them far beyond any pre-determined potential.  The profiles are stored in each classroom and electronically. They are added to continuously and redeveloped in full as pupils move to the next year group. Being able to dedicate time and resource into embedding these types of person-centred thinking practices into our school’s culture has been one of the most powerful outcomes of our academy status. The benefits for our pupils, teachers, parents and community (after all – each and every empowered child will be taking these values with them for the rest of their life) as a whole are magnificent.

Here are the four main benefits we have experienced by using one-page profiles:

1)      Better Understanding: To be truly person-centred we have to treat every child as unique, special and with unquantifiable potential. One-page profiles encourage pupils to think about what is important to them and empowers them to tell us how we can support them best.  The ‘what people like and admire about me’ section is exclusive to each child and encourages us (parents, teachers and classmates) to celebrate their individual skills and gifts.

2)      Better relationships: Children can often act differently at home and at school and by bringing parents and teachers together through a child’s one-page profile we can improve our understanding of them and support them better. The pupils themselves have learnt to celebrate their individuality and support each other, forming better and more positive working relationships with their peers and teachers.

3)      Good education: We believe every child has the right to a good education. A one-page profile highlights how we can support a child to learn well. It might lead us to use special equipment to aid with maths or communication or it might be as simple as encouraging them to ask questions or ensuring they have somewhere quiet to sit and concentrate. Whatever the profile identifies we are able to respond.

4)      Reflection: Both pupils and teachers have reflection time at Oxley Park Academy. We see this as vital for learning and progression as well as good mental health and wellbeing.  The profiles helped us to identify the need for this time (highlighted as something that is important) but they are also a tool that we reflect upon.

 

5 top tips to use one-page profiles in schools

Tabitha SmithWritten by guest blogger Tabitha Smith, then SENCO and Deputy Head at Norris Bank Primary School, Stockport

I’ve worked in education for over 20 years and 18 of these have been in Stockport. It was whilst teaching at Norris Bank Primary school in 2008 that I was first introduced to one-page profiles. Helen Sanderson is the mother of one of our old pupils and she came into school to talk to us about Laura’s progress. She introduced us to a single sheet of paper which communicated perfectly what people liked and admired about Laura, what was important to her and how best we could support her. This was the beginning of something huge; our personalisation journey.

We immediately saw the value of the one-page profile as a means to improve communication, learn about the individual requirements of each child, celebrate their gifts and talents and therefore teach and support them well.

At first we introduced the profiles to years two and six. We wanted to use them to help pupils in the transition from infant to juniors and from primary up to secondary. We had decided early on that this was not a tool to be used just with the children that had been identified as having ‘special educational needs’ as our belief is that all children have special or individual requirements and that each of them would benefit from using a one-page profile.

The children were incredibly excited about and receptive to creating their profiles. It wasn’t the first time we had asked them to tell us what they needed to work well but it was the first time we had introduced such a positive way of capturing this information, of embedding this culture deep into the roots of our school. We soon realised that we needed to give every child the opportunity to create their own profile and so we made this commitment.

I won’t lie and tell you that it was easy. It wasn’t. We have 340 pupils at Norris Bank and the coordination of communication between pupils, parents and teachers as well as the administration that was required, was enough to cause even the most committed of professionals a few sleepless nights! But we did it. In 2009 we achieved our aim or arming each child with their own one-page profile and setting a system in place that means that each year they re-work their profiles in time for their move to the next class.

We now know what each child needs to be supported well. This could be something as simple as how they like to be encouraged, what type of classroom environment they thrive in or whether there is any equipment the child needs to aid their communication or learning. Our parents are able to share with us the things that they love and admire about their child and we can celebrate this together – bridging the gap between home and school life. We have a point of reference for every parent’s evening and a detailed introduction to new teachers of each and every pupil. And crucially, our pupils feel valued and empowered to tell us what is important to and for them.

This year I accepted a Headship at a new school and I will be taking my learning of one-page profiles and the power of personalisation in education with me but I wanted to share with you five top tips to successfully introduce profiles in your school. I said before that it wasn’t easy – but as we have been through the process, we have learnt what works and what doesn’t work and now have a system that is absolutely achievable for schools – and believe me, the results are well worth the effort!

Using one-page profiles in a school setting:

  1. Understand their worth: It is important that the people making it happen (the teachers, pupils, parents and admin staff) understand how a one-page profile can benefit a child in school, how it can aid their learning, improve communication, highlight the need for new measures of support and celebrate their gifts and talents. We did this through training sessions, but also having resources like this blog site is a great way to share the ‘power of the one-page profile’!
  2. Give yourself time:  It takes time to achieve a task of this scale and giving yourself an unrealistic time frame will only de-motivate you. Think first about the practicalities of training people about one-page profiles, producing them, involving parents, capturing and storing the information then base your time scale on this.
  3. Keep it simple: We learnt early on that trying to type up each and every one-page profile and store them electronically wasn’t for us! We now send post cards out to parents at the end of each school year and they add the section about what they like and admire about their child. The children then return the cards to the class room and work through the sections ‘what is important to them and how best to support and encourage them in school’. Pupils personalise their postcard profiles with colours and drawings which further capture their personalities. The cards are then kept in a plastic flip wallet by the teacher and can be taken out and looked at or added to at any time.
  4. Involve parents: The benefits of a child having a one-page profile far transcends school and involving parents in the process early by getting them to add to the profiles is a good way of introducing them to the tool. We had an army of volunteers helping us when we first rolled out the project and although now we have streamlined it, we don’t need this administrative support, we still involve parents and are able to capture their rich insight into their child.
  5. Walk the walk: Capturing information isn’t enough. It is how you use it that will make your introduction of one-page profiles in school a success. We adapt our teaching style to our pupils based in what they have told us. We make decisions about their support based on what we know about them. We share this information with parents and with their new secondary school because we believe it is of vital importance. We see each or our pupils as individuals and whilst they may all be taught the same curriculum, we do it in the way that best suits them.

Speaking out – not suffering in silence

An example of how a one-page profile can help communicate the essential information needed to support a child with a long term health condition in school. Jessenia doesn’t like to make a fuss and can find it difficult to speak out about what she needs. Her one-page profile does this for her and ensures she is not put at risk because of a lack of information or understanding.  

Jessenia's one-page profile

Jessenia’s one-page profile

Written by Jessenia’s mum 

My eight year old Jessenia attends Oxley Park Academy and is in Year 4.  She was born with a congenital heart defect and has had four major heart operations since her birth, and many minor procedures. The last one was when she was five years old.  Jessenia is a child that likes to please the adults around her. She wants to be recognised for her well-behaved manner and strives for this recognition. She has a maturity about her and relates more to older children and adults.

As Jessenia’s mum I felt that she needed a one-page profile because physically she looks well, so unless you know of her heart condition, it would be difficult for someone who didn’t spend much time with her to recognise that she was having difficulty.  PE is quite demanding for Jessenia and although she wants to join in with her classmates she can’t always keep up and often just needs to sit down and rest.

Also walking long distances is very difficult for her as her heart has to work twice as hard as everyone elses and therefore she tires a lot quicker. She is flat footed too and this causes pains in her legs. We wanted to make sure that adults would recognise when Jessenia needed help as Jessenia herself doesn’t like to make a fuss and tends to suffer in silence because she doesn’t want to disturb the class.

Signs of Jessenia needing help can include constant coughing, sweating and tummy pain.  Jessenia finds it hard to eat, drink and breathe together and therefore eats a lot slower than her peers and subsequently needs more time to finish her meal or drink. This is why we asked that she be allowed to eat some of her lunch at break time and be allowed to drink during class time.

Jessenia’s one-page profile is kept in her classroom and also a copy in a central file. It helps her teacher to recognise when she might need some help and also lets her know what Jessenia’s needs might be when she is in difficulty.  It also means that if her usual teacher or teaching assistants are not around, the crucial information is readily available for whoever is in charge

Jessenia has found her one-page profile particularly helpful because it means that she doesn’t have to explain to adults why she is using the lift and why she needs liquids throughout the day.  She lacks confidence and doesn’t like to be put on the spot. The profile has also helped Jessenia because she knows that all the adult staff are aware of her issues and if she finds something difficult she is more comfortable to say so.  She now appreciates that others want to help her and will keep an eye on her.

As her mum, knowing Jessenia has a one-page profile has given me the confidence that all adult staff taking care of her when I’m not there are aware that she has a heart defect and that she is physically unable to keep up with her classmates sometimes. It also means that when she shows real signs of difficulty and may be in trouble, I am reassured that people know exactly what action to take.

Starting with your best foot forward

A wonderful example of how this boy’s one-page profile communicates all the things he can do, loves to do and that are important to him. Freddie’s mum felt that before using the one-page profile she’d be introducing her son with a long list of things that he struggles with. Now she has the perfect way of introducing him as the kind, brave, caring, giggly and perseverant boy that he is.

Freddie's one-page profile

Freddie’s one-page profile

Written By Freddie’s mum Tracee

When my son Freddie first started school, I hadn’t heard about one-page profiles. And so I made a list of everything I thought his new school might need to know as Freddie has Down’s Syndrome and sometimes needs a little extra help to go about his day in the best possible way.  Reading the list out loud, compiled mostly of things he struggles to achieve, to the assembled faculty was fairly depressing – and not just for me I imagine!

When I created Freddie’s first one-page profile I didn’t know too much about them, except that I liked the concept. And though it was a step forward, it wasn’t as balanced as it could be and crossed into what our family needed instead of focusing solely on Freddie’s needs. I’ve since had access to a book and workshop on the subject and now we include the people in Freddies life and as much as possible, Freddie himself, in compiling new versions and we update it every year.

We use the profile whenever Freddie starts a new class, goes to summer camp or joins a new club. Even summer camps he has attended in previous years appreciate an update on where Freddie is in life at that time.

When we hand out Freddie’s profile, we know we are giving Freddie the best possible chance of success in a new setting. Not just for him, but also for the person charged with caring for him. And in our family, successful days usually equal very happy days.

We’ve had very positive feedback from camp orgnanisers, who look forward to meeting this smiling boy who loves to read and run and jump outside. They like that they can quickly understand how best to support him and who of their team is best placed to provide that support.

Importantly the profile focuses as much on what Freddie can do and likes to do as it does what he needs support with. I feel this means he isn’t underestimated when he goes somewhere new. It means someone has information to build the foundations of friendship on and can suggest activities they can do together that he will like.

At school, when we presented the profile to the new class teacher she took it to the Head, who could immediately see how useful this simple person-centred thinking tool could be and said she was going to recommend that all children with special needs in the school had one.

Freddie’s younger sister Eden doesn’t have special needs. But when Eden starts school, I’ll be providing her teacher with a profile all the same as I want her to have the same opportunities for success as her brother. I can see the benefit in all children having one-page profiles in school and this is something I would love to happen.

I worry less about Freddie starting something new. Everyone involved gets the opportunity to start with their best foot forward and that can only be a positive thing.

We’re due to update the profile in the summer and as Freddie is that bit older (he is six now) I’m looking forward to including him a little bit more and recognising how much he has grown during the year.

What a difference; empowered, settled and happy in school

An example of how using a one-page profile from an early age has helped Lucy express what she needs and positively influence the support she receives.  Lucy’s one-page profile has followed her through school from the age of eight and at age thirteen, it’s hard to imagine how things would have turned out without it.

Lucy's one-page profile

Lucy’s one-page profile

Written by Gill Goodwin of HSA

Lucy was placed for adoption aged two after moving to foster care just before her first birthday due to extreme neglect. Now thirteen, Lucy has settled well however the legacy of her difficult start means she can become very anxious, has some difficulties with learning and some sensory problems. Lucy has a statement of educational need and receives full time support in her local mainstream school.

Since being eight years old Lucy has had a one-page profile. At the time she was experiencing symptoms of anxiety and we had hoped that a profile would enable her to be happier and more relaxed in school and optimise her relationships and learning.I visited Lucy and her Mum at home and we talked about what made a good day for Lucy and the kind of things Lucy felt would make a difference for her. I then spent some time with her class teacher and teaching assistant in school. Putting together the profile with Lucy’s mum meant that we were able to double check that it fully reflected Lucy from her perspective and covered all the important information that people needed to know to support her well.

Almost immediately after introducing Lucy’s first one-page profile her level of anxiety reduced and in turn some of her repetitive behaviours such as adjusting her clothes and pulling up her socks. It also had a positive effect on her skills such as reading aloud and her motivation to try activities in school.

Each year we update her profile in preparation for the school year ahead. Now that Lucy is in secondary school her Special Needs Coordinator goes through the one-page profile with her Teachers and Teaching Assistants at a meeting before the year starts. She ensures all staff have a copy and that the TAs in particular know the best ways to support Lucy and enable her to have good days.  Little things like teachers smiling at her specifically when she enters the room make her feel more relaxed.  Lucy’s one-page profile means that staff are aware of the things that can make Lucy upset and ensure that situations do not escalate and that she is supported to stay calm.

As she has matured Lucy has been able to identify the kind of support she knows will help her and is confident to tell her learning coach and SENCo. For example at her annual review she was able to say why she found the support from one TA less helpful and could explain that she needed her to give information one step at a time and not give the next instruction while she was writing or thinking. Having the one-page profile, and it so clearly belonging to her, has meant Lucy seems to understand that it is her responsibility to let people know how to support her in the best way. She also knows the way to phrase things and is therefore becoming empowered to influence positively the support she is given.

School staff  in her new school have quickly got to know Lucy and what makes her tick and these close supportive relationships have been pivotal in her successful inclusion into a large mainstream comprehensive school.

Lucy has had a one-page profile for so long now that it is difficult to know how things would have been without one! Lucy is happy, settled and has all the opportunities at school and at home open to her, which is what she and her family had wished for.

What he can do, not what he can’t do

An example of how this mum has used one-page profiles to support her son well at school and to ensure that the family’s relationships with health professionals are equal and balanced. Marianne wanted to introduce her son by describing what he could do, not what he couldn’t do; the one-page profile was the perfect tool.

Written by mum Marianne

Alex's one-page profile

Alex’s one-page profile

When my son Alex was about to start pre-school I knew there would be things about his support needs that I needed to be able to communicate to his teachers.  However, I really didn’t want to introduce him or for him to start school life with a long list of things that he needed help doing. I wanted the new people in his life to meet him as the cheeky, funny, confident little boy that he is.

Alex has Down’s Syndrome and from the very early days it has felt like professionals can often be more interested in what he can’t do rather than what he can do. I just didn’t want his education experience to be the same.  Unfortunately it already felt like it was going to be. I found myself filling in statements of special needs for his assessments and I realised how easy it would be to fall into this mindset. I wanted to counterbalance this with positive statements. Starting school was a massive milestone for Alex and I was determined to start him off on the right foot.

Alex’s one-page profile sets out how we want him to be treated, what is important to him and how he wants to be supported. We had used the same profile when Alex attended a short term respite centre and had a very positive reaction, with staff feeding back that it really helped them to understand him.

Using a one-page profile with Alex and his school means that we can be sure that we are presenting him in the best way and have the confidence that people will support him well.  Alex loves playing with his friends, tasty snacks, TV programmes, bubbles, singing and playing with water. He can need support when eating – to be reminded to slow down, he doesn’t understand danger –  so needs people looking out for him and he uses Makaton to communicate so it is essential that people  use this method with him.  His one-page profile covers all of this and much more and is in a simple easy-to-read format so can be picked up and understood quickly.

We update Alex’s profile every  year and I love charting his development and growth in this way.  Each year we see he finds new interests and discovers greater independence. My favourite part of updating his profile is talking to his classmates about what they like and admire about Alex. It is so nice to hear that he is well liked and fun to be around.

Since using a one-page profile with Alex and realising its potential I have introduced one for our family too. We find that we interact with so many health professionals, it sets out how best those relationships can work for us. For example, it is easier for us to have meetings on Thursdays and we prefer to have the opportunity to review paperwork in advance of the meeting. Setting out our stall in this way is empowering. It puts us on a more equal footing and as such we are in a stronger position to advocate for our son.

A wake up call

An example of how a one-page profile has led to successful communication between Paul and his support worker Robin by drawing out the key information ‘what is important to you and how do you want to be supported?’

Paul's one-page profile

Paul’s one-page profile

Written by Support Worker, Robin

Paul is a young adult in his early 20’s who dreams of going to college and experiencing life on his own, all while getting an education. He currently lives with his parents but is looking for his own flat. We decided to create a one-page profile with Paul so that I, as his support worker, would not only know how to best support him, but in what areas he does want my support and what he wants that support to look like.

We sat down one afternoon with some friends and just talked about the various ways support could be provided. Paul then wrote his own profile.  It was shared with me and my direct supervisor. We used it to problem solve how we would ensure Paul received his support in the way he wanted.

It made a huge difference for me as his support worker in the sense that I now know very clearly what he wants from me. It had never previously dawned on me to ask ‘how’ he wanted communication between us to look until he mentioned it. The one-page profile sets out what is important to him, and he now knows how I can help him achieve that.

Our communication has become much more successful since I have been using the medium he has chosen – text message. It sounds simple (what 20 something year old man doesn’t prefer to keep in touch via text?) but before he noted it on his one-page profile it hadn’t occurred to me. Paul used to worry about appointments and whether or not he had the time and date correct. He used to leave me phone messages which wouldn’t always get passed on and this would lead to anxiety and missed appointments. Now he simply sends me a text message whenever he wants to confirm anything or needs reassurance and I can reply straight back to him.

Paul respects my boundaries of only texting during business hours, and I respect his desire to use that as our primary communication method. Instant answers work best for him, while still enabling him to see the answers to his questions in writing if he forgets what was said earlier. Over all our working relationship is better as a result. It was a big wake up call for me too. I communicate with most of my friends via text and it is the preferred medium for many so it makes sense that this would work for Paul too.

The one-page profile has absolutely achieved what we wanted it to! I am able to support Paul to the best of my ability with this information and we have been able to progress along much quicker than before.