One-page profiles in transition – Supporting someone now and in the future

An example of how using a one-page profile in the transition from school to independent living empowers people to direct their future support and start to build strong relationships based on good understandings, with the new people in their life.

Calum's one-page profile

Calum’s one-page profile

Written by Sally, Calum’s mum

My son is a bit of a charmer! He is very affectionate, has a great sense of humour, is cheeky, and has a deep infectious laugh. Like most 20 year olds he knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like and although he doesn’t express himself verbally, he lets you know exactly what he wants.

He has some real loves and interests; his laminated hoover catalogue page, watching DVD’s, especially Happy Feet, going out for walks and to the local pub for a meal. He has a great fondness for jaffa cakes and extra strong mints. He also knows which people are likely to have a packet of mints in their pocket!

Calum’s one-page profile was developed as a precursor to developing his transition plan. We wanted the key people in his life to be clear about what was really important to him and what they needed to know at a quick glance about how to support him. We needed this because Calum would be moving into supported living once he left his specialist residential school. Maintaining continuity was crucial, but just as important was that others could use Calum’s one-page profile to get a sense of him as a person and start to bond with him in this way.

Together Calum, a team leader from residential, Calum’s key worker, the speech and language therapist and a friend of mine got together at his school ahead of developing Calum’s transition plan. Calum had laminated pictures of things that were important to him and other pictures of things he was interested in to help keep him engaged and to act as prompts to talk about what was important to him. Calum was central to the process and his presence made it dynamic and thought provoking. It is, as parent, uplifting to hear what others like and admire about your child and the affection felt towards him by those who know and work with him.

Creating Calum’s one-page profile was an especially important process for the staff at his school, as they were unfamiliar with person-centred thinking tools.  It became the first step in the school beginning to embrace this type of approach and they began to change their practice as a result.

Calum’s one-page profile, in essence, was the catalyst to collect more detailed information about him, covering everything from how he communicates to his evening routine. Calum’s receptive understanding is somewhat limited and he uses ‘Objects of Reference’ to communicate, so for Calum the profile provided those who have access to it, with a clear idea of how best to support him whether in the classroom or out and about.

The one-page profile also provided the means to think about trying new things or visiting new places and reinforced the belief in those working with him, that they were supporting him in the best way possible.

Creating a one-page profile was the first important phase in developing Calum’s person centred transition plan. It gave those working with Calum the opportunity to fully explore the things that it was felt were important to him and what needed to happen to support him now and in the future. I feel confident in the next phase in Calum’s life because of this process and I’m very proud of what he has achieved so far.

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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.

 

 

An alternative to setting targets through SEN Statements

A wonderful example of how one-page profiles can help schoolchildren who experience autism communicate what is important to and for them whilst sharing their personal skills and gifts in a way that works well for them. Connor’s story demonstrates how one-page profiles can be used in person-centred reviews as an alternative to solely setting targets through SEN Statements; putting him at the heart of all decision making.

Connor's school one-page profile

Connor’s school one-page profile

Written by SENCo Debra Ayers from Blaenbaglan Primary School

Connor is eleven years old and has a dual diagnosis of speech, language and communication difficulties and autistic spectrum disorder. He is very caring and loves singing and drama. His personality endears him to adults and he has built some good friendships. He speaks as he finds and has a sense of humour if the joke isn’t on him.

Connor’s one page profile was created in readiness for his transition to Comprehensive school so that the new people in his life could get to know him a little before meeting him and Connor could tell them what he thought was important for them to know about him.

Connor completed ‘what’s important to me?’ independently and ‘good day bad day’ was shared with staff to create ‘how best to support me’. His peers, staff and family contributed to ‘what we like and admire’. He created his profile in school using ‘Pages’ (i-pad) and included a video. The profile was completed over the course of five teaching sessions in a week.

Connor’s profile is on display in school and has been shared with staff in his new school, his family, the LEA and professionals who are currently working with him. It was sent out with his invitation to his first person-centred review. It has been used in preparing for this review through discussion with Connor, his mother, teacher and speech and language therapist, identifying what’s working / not working and possible outcomes to be considered in the review meeting. It’s a working document which he can amend and add to.

He has loved making it and it portrays so much about him, even down his choice of colours and use of video. It has helped staff working with him gain a deeper insight into his views in and out of school. It has certainly helped us realise the importance of not assuming we know everything! Even his mother was surprised at one thing he included in ‘best ways to support me’. It helped us realise how astute Connor is about his likes, strengths and needs. It has helped family and professionals realise how they can support him and use the profile as the link to encouraging him to become increasingly independent by offering something that we know he wants or is important to him and putting in strategies that will enable this to be successful.

Connor loves sharing his profile with others and it has helped him to build relationships with less familiar adults and peers. The profile, as part of the person-centred review process, has, undoubtedly, made Connor central to the decision making process and the outcomes are pertinent to him at this moment in time, rather than having targets set linked to his Statement of SEN and what we as parents and professionals consider to be important for him.

We thought we knew Connor well before producing his one-page profiles but he still surprised us and his mother. It gives an amazing insight that we just hadn’t managed to achieve before! The person-centred review process, has changed the way we will prepare for and conduct review meetings. Connor is now at the heart of the process, being fully involved in the meeting and actively buying into the outcomes because they are important to him.

Seeing the child that I see

A strong example of how this mum’s battle to constantly advocate and inform has transformed since creating her son’s one-page profile. Now she is able to sit back and listen as she has the confidence that the people supporting her son understand him well and see the child that she sees.

MalcolmWritten by Malcolm’s mum

My son Malcolm is almost 10 years old and is a very smart, funny boy who is such a positive, contagiously happy fellow. We had known from his toddlerhood that he had some delays in his development and seemed to be oblivious to much of the activity around him. It was very clear that he was bright and much of what we saw could be fluffed off as being a third child and my mom had said that boys seem to speak later than girls, so we weren’t concerned.

When Malcolm was 6 he was assessed for Aspergers and Autism. His older brother was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was 6 and Malcolm seemed to be progressing socially and speech-wise, much slower than his peers. At that time he was not clearly on the Spectrum. By the time he was 7, the paediatrician labelled him with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and put him on medication. The medication certainly helped but when he was 8, he started to show signs of emotional struggles that seemed greater than the ADD label. After he was assessed by a team at The Children’s Treatment Network in the spring, they had found his characteristics seemed consistent with an Autism diagnosis.

When Malcolm started his grade 4 year at the age of 9, there were so many new staff members to the school, including the principal, that it seemed a good idea for me to create a one-page profile for them to get to know my son and to know how to help him through any social/emotional struggles he may experience during school. The year prior, he had started to hit himself in the face when he was overwhelmed with frustration, I felt that the staff could understand more about what drove this behaviour, how to recognise the triggers and therefore how to support him to avoid it, as well as how to guide classmates in supporting him in a non-judgmental way.

As a part of my role with Community Living, I have been creating one-page profiles for various facets of people’s lives to help others get to know them. I created a profile for my son for him to enjoy his own information, for him to feel that he doesn’t have to tell each staff member, respite contractor or Camp Councillor about his struggles but can simply hand over his profile for them to learn from. I provided the information and observations as well as found photos of pride for him (the faded photo of him getting a bulls eye in archery) and Malcolm proofed it.

Malcolm’s one-page profile has been shared with his Respite Contractors, his homeroom teacher, and all other supports in his life at school. We have also used it for his transition into a new school where he will be attending Extended French.

It has been very helpful to us as parents. It is easy for people to jump to conclusions about the behaviour of our son as it isn’t a common reaction for a child to try and hurt himself. The profile makes staff aware of this possibility arising but it focuses more on what great things my son can do and interests he has, and it helps people quickly want to get to know him so he can feel safe and appreciated without the stress of a poor reaction from others.

I have found that teachers and students are more protective of him and will rally around him when others might make fun of him or respond negatively.

Whether it is because of the one-page profile or because he is surrounded by a great group of people, it isn’t clear why he is now so engaged and cared about. But it is clear that the profile has eased the constant explanations, the reactions of others, and the quick to judge comments. Our energies are now focused on the future and not having to continuously inform and advocate.

I have found that our time is better spent with teachers and support staff just getting updates and funny stories during meetings now. I really enjoy just listening during a conversation rather than informing and so often there is only positive information being passed to us and not the constant worries of the staff who may not understand why Malcolm is acting in a certain way.

I believe that Malcolm’s one-page profile has helped others move past the negatives and the uncertainties and just see the child.

The history of one-page profiles

Written by Helen Sanderson

Laura's one-page profile

Laura’s one-page profile

My daughter, Laura, had the first one-page profile when she was six, nine years ago. She had been in Year 2, for three weeks, when she came home one day in tears, saying the teacher had told her off for wearing the wrong trousers in PE.

When we went to see Laura’s teacher, she explained that she had not told Laura off, but had pointed out that if she only had shorts, and not jogging bottoms, then her legs would get cold. She also said that she had not really been able to get to know Laura, as she is quiet in class.

We decided that we needed to help the teacher to learn more about Laura – and quickly. At that time I was the Department of Health’s expert advisor in person-centred planning, and I knew this could be a helpful approach, but I also knew that teachers would not have the time to read the detailed plans we were using. So, I created a one-page version for Laura – a one-page profile. At first we called it a one-page plan, but quickly realised that was wrong, as all plans should have actions. Instead, this was a person-centred summary, a profile, of who Laura is and how to support her.

The first part of a one-page profile is an appreciation – what people like or admire about the child. We involved Laura’s extended family in contributing to this. It was lovely for Laura to hear what her family likes and admires about her. Then, over a hot chocolate in a cafe, Laura and I thought about what was important to her – her yellow Teddy Sunny who slept on her bed, her three cats, the stick insects and wondering if their eggs would hatch; and what we know as her parents about the best ways to help and supporter her – recognising that she finds change difficult and needs lots of reassurance, and that she can perceive a small negative comment as a big telling off.  Laura drew a picture of herself for the background of the profile and we made an appointment to share it with her teacher.

‘This would have been very useful to have had at the beginning of the year’, she said. She talked about how helpful this information would be at some of the important transition times, like children coming from nursery into school, and moving from class to class.

Laura’s one-page profile helped her move from class to class. Each year we updated it with Laura, and her teacher and Laura drew a new picture or chose a photo of herself.

Fast-forward now to 2013 when, at the same school, Norris Bank, every child has a one-page profile. Back when Laura was six, and I was nervously sharing her first one-page profile with her teacher, I would not have believed that we would now be sharing the journeys of 100 other people – all using profiles for better empowerment, choice and control in a variety of situations. It really excites me to think what could be possible if more people knew about and had access to this simple but incredibly effective tool!