As you will know if you’ve read previous blog posts I’m a big fan of person centred approaches. Having been a bit of a sceptic in the early days I’m now a major convert, bordering on being rather evangelical!
I love the simplicity of the “tools” used. I love the “keeping it real” and the common sense approach and I particularly love One Page Profiles!
Last week I had G’s review, a chance to look at what’s working and not working for him and review all his support needs.
I have a good relationship with his support provider but I’m also someone who thinks relationships can always be improved on and so because this is something we’re trying to encourage families to do in Dimensions through our Family Charter, this time I took along my One Page Profile to try it out with G’s staff and see what they thought. (The good thing about G being supported by one provider and me working for another is that I can share good practice from both with both which seems like a win win situation!)
Building a good relationship with the people who provide support to G is really important to me. I need to trust them and trust can only be achieved if people are open and honest with each other. Relationships always depend on you sharing things about yourself and getting to know each other. Most relationships develop over time and you gradually get to know each other better but when there is a team of people supporting your loved one this can take a little longer. The relationship between families and support staff can be a tricky one too. The staff team, as lovely as they may be are not your friends, they are there to do a job and although it’s a different kind of relationship it’s still one of the most important ones as far as I’m concerned and making sure it’s a good relationship is vital (for me and G)
As individuals we are all different and we all need to be supported in different ways. What works well for one person may not for another. I wanted G’s staff team to know how I like to be supported in my relationship with him. I don’t personally get the chance to talk to them as much as I would like. When I go to collect him he’s out the door as soon as I arrive, eager to come home. When I drop him back he doesn’t like me to hang around and has been known to occasionally steer me towards the door. So, having it all written down and documented in a One Page Profile seemed like a good solution. I was able to write down the things that were important to me and how I like to be supported and I’ve asked his staff team to do the same for me.
One outcome was that G’s staff had been sending us emails telling us what he’d been doing. I love getting the emails, especially when there are pictures as well (but even without!) The e-mails had been written as if they were him talking and I personally don’t like this (some parents do I know, but I never have!) I hadn’t said anything as I didn’t want to discourage the writing of emails and as the emails came from G I had no idea who was actually writing them so didn’t know which member of staff to talk to. By sharing my one page profile I was able to express this preference to all of the staff, without singling anyone out and without making a fuss. One of the staff at the review told me it was her who was sending the e-mails, she had no idea I didn’t like them sent from him (why would she!) and thought it was a nice thing to do, she was pleased she now knew I didn’t like it.
The evening after his review I had a lovely e-mail from the staff member with a lovely picture of him enjoying the snow! It made me smile!
As parents we become used to giving lots of information about our kids but rarely do we think about how we like to be supported as individuals. It’s easy to ask people what they like and admire about your child but it’s not something we get used to asking people about ourselves, we British can be quite reserved about such things! Once you get over the embarrassment it can be really nice to hear what people say. Thinking about what’s important to you and how you like to be supported can be interesting too and although I’ve thought about it constantly for G over the years it’s something until relatively recently I hadn’t really thought about for myself.
It obvious to me that One Page Profiles are really useful tools to use with people like G, They are a quick and easy way of imparting essential information but they have lots of other uses too and can be used by anyone to improve the way you work together and communicate better. Anything that enhances relationships has got to be a good thing in my book, so go on give it a go… what have you got to lose?
[You can find out more about One Page Profiles here… http://www.helensandersonassociates.co.uk/reading-room/how/person-centred-thinking/one-page-profiles.aspx ]
you can read the Dimensions Family Charter here Family_charter (6)