If you’ve been looking for a way to efficiently and effectively communicate key information about your child to their school team, you’re in the right place. Whether your child does or doesn’t have an IEP, I recommend you develop an About Me Page. This unassuming page is a powerful advocacy tool. Whether you’re creating a new or refreshed About Me Page, follow along for the step-by-step tutorial below. If your school year is yet to begin, great timing! If you’re mid-school year, also great. The best time to create an About Me page is when you realize you need an About Me page.
What is an About Me Page?
An About Me Page is a succinct description of your child’s most important characteristics and support needs. The power of the Page is that it is just one page. While you could likely fill multiple pages of important information about your child, the key feature of this tool is its “at a glance” design.
Why create an About Me Page?
Here are some of the reasons to create an About Me Page:
Once you’ve run through the steps below and have a working copy of your child’s About Me Page, I recommend you save it as a PDF and email it to your child’s team members. If possible, send one copy by email and print out additional copies to share directly with key staff members.
Special note: It’s really important to consider and include your child in this process. Be mindful of their feelings and opinions about what is shared about them with their school team. I encourage you to engage your child in contributing to this process in whatever creative ways work for you and your child.
Step 1: Planning
This is the brainstorming phase. Some of the information may come to you quickly and easily, while other bits will take more time. Let’s go through each quadrant of the template and some prompts for what types of information to consider including.
This quadrant is all about where your child shines and feels safe. Ask yourself:
This quadrant is especially important for building relationships. Whatever you include in this section, the purpose is for the adults at school to use this information to connect with your child and plan with your child in mind. Ask yourself:
This quadrant makes space to include any important information about your child’s identity. Some examples that may be important include disability, neurodivergence, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity. Ask yourself:
This quadrant is all about things that are difficult for your child. Consider all areas of life, including personal, social and academic. Ask yourself:
This quadrant is the place for known stressors that impact your child. These are things that the school team will be aiming to minimize or provide accommodations for. Ask yourself:
My Support Needs
In this quadrant, focus on the support needs that, if met, will remove barriers and make school accessible to your child. This list includes both strategies that the school team will use in the classroom as well as the way team members interact with your child. Needs can fall into many categories, including executive functioning, relationships, academic instruction, assessment, self-regulation, transitions or self-care. Ask yourself:
Step 2: Prioritizing
Given that the goal of the About Me page is to keep it to one single page, not everything from your brainstorming lists is going to make the cut – it’s time to prioritize. For this step, the goal is to select the top 3 priorities for each quadrant. While you could likely fill multiple pages of important information to share about your child, your goal here is to be strategic about what information is MOST important and will have the MOST positive impact on your child’s school experience.
Why only one page? Anything beyond a page is likely to have the opposite of the desired effect, which is to really hone in on this key information and have the school team absorb it. What you are going for here is a targeted approach to essential information about your child right now. If, after prioritizing, you have room remaining in any given quadrant feel free to add one or two more points.
Step 3: Composing
How you present information is as important as the information itself. This is your opportunity to use neuro-affirming language and to frame your child’s characteristics and needs in a way that best communicates your perspective and experience. Experiment with your wording, being mindful to avoid deficit-based language and instead keeping your focus on your child’s right to equitable access to education alongside their peers.
Step 4: Creating
There are many possible formats for an About Me Page. I recommend using a grid so that’s what I’ve included in the About Me Page worksheets. The reason is because it’s easy for the eye to flow from one quadrant to the next. What you include on your grid might vary from year to year, or depending on your priorities as a parent advocate.
Congratulations, you’re done!