INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES PROFILE IDP 1 Individual Differences Student Profile Kasey Graves Instructor: Kae Hamilton Education 205: Developmental and Individual Differences Spring 2012
IDP 2 Individual Differences Student Profile EssayIntroduction Over the past few months I have had the privilege to observe a little girl whom I willrefer to as Emily. I observed Emily in the Meridian School District in her general educationfourth grade class. One thing to mention about the school is it is one of the few magnet schoolsin the valley; it is a magnet school for math and technology. Emily has a learning disability, shealso has a communication disorder which makes her learning disability even more challenging.Through this essay I will provide you with information about Emily’s general information,physical development, cognitive development, socio-emotional, and I will provide a summary onmy findings.General Information I mentioned in my introduction that Emily is in fourth grade. She is nine years and ninemonths in age. Emily is a Caucasian little girl. Emily suffers from both a learning disability aswell as a communication disorder. Emily’s learning disability encompasses phonologicalawareness which contributes to her communication disorder. Emily’s parents are divorced. Shehas one sibling, a brother, who is two years younger; he also attends the same school. Shespends one week at her mother’s house from Sunday to the following Sunday and the next weekat her father’s house from Sunday to Sunday. Her brother is in the same house with her and onthe same schedule. Her father is remarried so she also has a step-mother but no other siblings.From the interactions I have observed her family is all very involved in her education. However,her parents disagree with the school that Emily suffers from any disability.
IDP 3 Emily attends school Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m.-3:35 p.m. There is theexception of Wednesdays where school does not begin until 9:25 a.m. to allow forcollaborations. Emily spends the majority of her day in the general education classroom. Shegoes to resource from 2:30p.m. until 3:35p.m. Monday through Friday. Emily takes the bus toschool every day. Afterschool she is picked up either by her mother or step-mother.Physical Development If you were to glance at Emily you would see she appears as healthy as you wish allchildren to be. She has beautiful big blue eyes and shoulder length straight blonde hair; she is avery thin girl, a lot thinner than the majority of her peers. She has no visible scars or birthmarksthat I was able to note. Her physical maturation is very average in comparison with her peers.(Emily has no documented general health concerns; she does not wear glasses, or seem to have aproblem with hearing, and she also has never let it be known that she has any physical defectssuch as asthma.)I have noticed though Emily often holds her face down at her paper as she workswhich leads me to believe she may need to have her eyes examined. Emily is right handed, Ihave found it offbeat though because she only uses her right hand to write; she does not raise herright hand or use her right hand to hold objects. From what I have observed, Emily is physically fit. She always participates in physicaleducation; she also plays extracurricular activities during recess and lunch. I think her eatinghabits have room for improvement. She does not eat breakfast on the mornings she is with herfather. She also does not bring snacks to class like the other children do. I had the opportunityto join her for lunch one day and there was not one thing on her tray that she did not inhale.While watching Emily in the class as well as performing other activities during physical
IDP 4education and recess she shows her large muscle development as well as her small muscledevelopment are average. One concern I have with her small muscle development is herhandwriting skills. She suffers in this area and because it is an area where she showsdifficultyand accommodationsmust be made. For example she must complete her spellingworksheets on a computer, or she must use a word processor to complete essay assignments.Cognitive Development When I was gathering information about how long Emily has been on an individualizededucation plan I was surprised to find out they could only date it back two years. It is assumedshe has been on one since she entered grade school however, she transferred to a new school twoyears ago, and they have no records that go back any farther than that. Currently Emily stays inthe general education classroom for the majority of her day. She attends the resource room forabout an hour and fifteen minutes every day. In general, her grades are below average; she isbelow grade level in all subjects except math. Her math skills are exceptional; she excels at ahigher level than the majority of her peers. Emily has a very short attention span and is easily distracted. She has a syntax disorderwith is consistent with the language disorder. Before all new materials are to be masteredEmily is given a curriculum based assessment from the results her instructor and resourceteacher are able to collaborate to determine if she needs to be attending resource room whilenew materials are being presented or if she would benefit more from the general class directinstruction. If direct instruction will not work for the material she will receive a differentiatedcurriculum approach to mater the content. While Emily has a short attention span she is alsovery eager to be an active participant in class. Her hand is always raised, and she is always
IDP 5willing to try. She is often called on and when she goes up to the board to present she has a hardtime placing words in the right sequence. If she realizes she does not know the answer shesimply states “I forgot” rather than to attempt the problem. She shows she possessedconditional knowledge but she is unaware of how she can represent it in real life circumstances.It is my opinion Emily often does not like to feel left out therefore she tries to participate evenwhen she does not understand the questions. Emily appears to be discouraged when she isincorrect, and she shuts down for the rest of the day and quits participating in class. Emily alsohas a learning disability; I can recall many instances where her general education teacher hasshown Emily different learning strategies tailored to her learning style that enable her to retainthe new information and also apply it. Emily excels in a few of Piagets stages of development, especially when it comes to hermathematical skills. She possesses what Piagets coined at the concrete operational stage whichis appropriate for her age. Upon my observations, I can see that she is currently in the stage offormal operation. Emily is able to “think logically about abstract propositions and testhypotheses systematically” (learning and teaching) Emily understands almost more than I dowhen it comes to mathematics. If you present her with a problem she will be able to solve itsystematically. She also is able to understand the steps you take and why you take the steps in aspecific order.Socio-emotional Development Emily receives most her education in a natural environment so I have been fortunateenough to see her daily interactions with her peers and other adults. Emily gets along witheveryone. She is very well liked and she has no major issues while communicating with her
IDP 6peers. One method her teacher uses is the buddy system;at times you can tell her buddybecomes frustrated while trying to work with her. I believe this is a problem because one studentis ready to move on and Emily is still not understanding the first concepts. I think a bettermethod for this would be peer mediated instruction; students often can grasp material betterfrom their peers and this way no one is getting held back. Emily’s relationship with adults isdifferent. She seeks approval and attention. She is always providing compliments, touching,hugging, and telling stories. She needs to know someone cares, and she honestly needs that hugevery day. Emily possesses self-determination; she wants to succeed and she is determined todo so. She is not aware of her disabilities; she feels like she tries hard and does not accept theoutcome of her work. She has a great self-esteem. She is outgoing and well liked. When I think about Emily’s socio-emotional development from an educated point ofview I am sad to say she is below average in her development. Erickson’s idea of where Emilyshould be is somewhere between Accomplishment/Industry vs. Inferiority. Emily can perform,however she cannot perform at a level that compliments her peers. I believe she is still inErickson’s younger early childhood stage of Initiative vs. Guilt. (Educational psychology forteachers)Emily wants to do things on her own, yet she still fears rejection and seeks approvalfrom her peers as well as the adults in her life.Conclusion Emily needs more help in order to successfully complete school; she is an exceptionalstudent. I feel the problem lies somewhere between her denial and also her parents’. I knowfirsthand the school and all members of collaborations are doing everything in their power to
IDP 7make sure she succeeds. Norm referenced tests should be administered to Emily often to makesure she is receiving an appropriate education. Emily is a sweet little girl who is trying hard. Her parents are not involved in thecollaboration or any other part of her special education, and I believe they need to become moreinvolved because they know her better than anyone else. I would suggest to the teacher thatEmily starts spending her time in the resource room in the morning when they are working onvocabulary because that is the area I see Emily struggling the most. I also would suggestextending curriculum ideas so Emily can think of all problems in a mathematical sequence if atall possible. Emily is atypical students in all areas except cognitively. She is below grade average inmost subjects, and does not understand the why and when of most concepts. In general, she isthe same as all her peers; she participates the same, she is in great physical condition, and sheknows and understands people. The only area I would say she is atypical in besides cognitive issocio-emotional. She still has the mindset of a younger child and seeks approval from adults, shealso feels a sense of shame when she is incorrect. Emily is very organized; she is also a very visual learner. If you could show her imagesof problems she would likely be able to grasp concepts. I believe a more real-life setting forlearning would benefit her. Emily needs more help with her phonics. To assist her with this Ibelieve she would benefit from a reduced spelling list, and also daily participation in groupphonics. With the continued attention of her IEP team, Emily likely has the ability to reach herfull potential.
IDP 8 ReferencesAtherton J S (2011) Learning and Teaching; Piagets developmental theory [On-line: UK] retrieved 10 April 2012 from http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/piaget.htmTaylor, R. L., Smiley, L. R., & Richards, S. B. (2008).Exceptional students, preparing teachers for the 21st century. (1st ed ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.Woolfolk& McCune-Nicolich.(1984). Educational psychology for teachers.(2nd Ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.