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One-page profile of a child in primary school – Jessenia
What others like and admire about me
- Loving, sensitive and caring
- Brave and determined
- Always wants to do her best and never gives up
- She works really hard and wants to learn
- Jessenia is very funny!
What’s important to me
• To know that people are pleased with her, especially her Mum
• To feel that she is doing well and for this to be noticed, to get lots of praise and awards and certificates. Not to make mistakes
• To know that it is ok to ask for some help, even if her teacher has asked the children not to disturb her
• To be part of what is going on and not to be different to anyone else
• To have a chat every evening with her Mum about anything that is on her mind
• To know that her Mum is ok, Jessenia worried about her if she isn’t well
• To do things at school that she is good at – Jessenia is really good at spelling and gets 10 out of 10
• Not to be told off, this upsets her
• To know the rules at school and follow them and do her best
• To have a lift buddy to go into the lift with at school. Jessenia always has Emma and then chooses someone different too every week
• To have hugs from Mum and Dad every morning
• Not to be too hot
• To know exactly what is happening when she has any hospital appointments and to be reassured
• To use an iPad and computer at home to play games
• To have some time on her own when she wants to
• To go on the trampoline at Orbit
How best to support me
• Understand how much Jessenia has been through, how well she is doing and how brave she is. Let her know you think she is brave, and that you know she is doing her best. The more you compliment her, the more determined she is
• Know that it is really important to Jessenia that people are pleased with her. Following the rules is part of this. For example, if her teacher has said to the class not to disturb her, then Jessenia will not interrupt. Support Jessenia by making sure she knows she has permission to do this. At the moment Jessenia can put a sticker on her teacher’s hand to let her know if she needs her at these times.
• Jessenia always tries very hard. If she struggling with something at school or home, she will not say. Support her by looking for the signs. Jessenia will avoid doing something, fidget or say she’ll do it later. Be ready to offer her some help, remind her that is is ok not to understand .When she is doing well, always let her know you have noticed. It is a big thing for Jessenia to feel that she is not achieving something. If you have to correct anything she does be aware of this and do it as positively as you can
• Remember that Jessenia doesn’t want to be different to the other children. In P.E. at school, she will work hard as long as she can but will need to stop when she has had enough. Jessenia will let you know when that is. At Orbit, when she is going on the trampoline, Jessenia bounces for 2 and a half minutes and then come off to have 15 minutes rest before she starts again. At school play time, Jessenia either walks around with her teacher, sits on the bench in the playground or plays with Zac
• Jessenia does so well that it could be easy to forget that she does need some support sometimes. She talks very fast and it could be that people think that she is excited but actually this is because of her breathlessness. Support her by suggesting that she has a rest. If Jessenia is out of breath and struggling to talk, wanting to sit down, clammy or coughing, she should rest right away and have a drink. Her breathing should return to normal in 10 -15 minutes.
• It is very important for Jessenia for eat and drink enough. She needs a minimum of 1000mls of fluid each day. During the school day, she eats little snacks throughout the day in lessons and break times. and brings in 3 small bottles of juice or water to drink. Cartons of juice are too much for Jessenia to have in one go. Support her by reminding her to drink if her bottles are empty and she is thirsty.
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.