This is an example of how one-page profiles can change perceptions and attitudes. It also demonstrates how a person with autism and learning disabilities can be supported to make positive changes, growing and adapting with them through life.
Written by Suzie Franklin, Jennie's mum.
My daughter Jennie is twenty-two years old. She has a great sense of humour, is affectionate, creative, honest, determined and fun to be with. She has a lovely flat, close family and friends and enjoys art classes, horse riding and trampolining. Jennie used to be described as 'challenging' until she started using one-page profiles and positively changed her life and the way people perceive her.
Jennie has autism and learning disabilities and has worked hard to achieve her independent lifestyle. The one-page profiles she has used over the years have helped her to do this by communicating what is important to her and how people can support her to do what makes her happy and healthy. She is a very impressive young woman.
Jennie's first one-page profile was used as a 'top tips' for everyone in her life to get to know her better, provide consistency in support and communicate with Jennie in the way that was best for her. At the time, Jennie wasn't able to dictate much verbally but her voice ran throughout and we produced the one-page profile using our in-depth knowledge of what was important to her and how best to support her by closely watching her behaviour and what it was telling us. It was shared with the rest of her family and everyone who supported her as well as teachers, social workers, doctors, coaches, instructors and even her hairdresser! People who saw it commented on how useful it was and some even helped add to it by saying what they liked and admired about Jennie.
One of the things we realised when we started using person-centred thinking tools with Jennie was that despite having a fun seeking personality she had few friends of her own. Most people outside of her family were paid to be in her life. Having a one-page profile and identifying what was important to her has empowered Jennie to try new activities and develop new friendships. It has put her in the driving seat to make more choices in her life. Jennie even used her one-page profile to show to prospective support staff when she was picking her team for her new flat. It gave them an easy to understand picture about Jennie and meant that she was able to communicate very early on how best they could support her.
As Jennie's independence has grown living in her own home, the one-page profile has changed with her. What is important to Jennie and how she needs supporting has changed significantly since her first one-page profile but this has all been led by Jennie and the people around her keeping her profile accurate, up to date and always reflecting Jennie's voice.
Having a one-page profile has enabled Jennie to truly be in control of her own life. Decisions are Jennie-led, not service-, organisation- or support worker- led! Importantly, they have also changed the way Jennie is introduced and perceived. Jennie is no longer referred to as 'challenging'. Now she is described as happy, active and independent. Thanks to Jennie's one-page profile her positive reputation precedes her and the things that are important to Jennie are kept at the centre of everything that she does.