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.
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.