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Individual Differences Student Profile Skinner, Shanna Instructor: Dr. Egbert EDUC 205: Individual Differences, 10:00 A.M.

INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT STUDENT PROFILE Individual Development Student Profile Recently, I had the privilege of visiting with Tyler, a white male and third year college

student at College of Southern Idaho who was diagnosed with Epilepsy at the age of seven. Tyler and I spoke about his education, past and present, his family, and his friends in order to gain knowledge and strategies to develop a better understanding of the education needs of students with the brain disorder Epilepsy. Specifically, Tyler and I discussed his sister, mother and father, what subjects in school he was/is able to excel in, what was/is hardest for him to learn and his friends; each of the previous components acting as an aid in information gathering and assessment. General Information Tyler is a twenty-one year and seven month old white male who was diagnosed with the brain disorder Epilepsy at the age of seven. Epilepsy is a disorder in which a person has repeated seizures (convulsions) over time. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain activity that cause changes in attention or behavior. Tyler is the older of two children; he has a sister Kyndal who is 18. They both live with their parents, Bud, fifty and Kaysie, forty-six. Bud is a worker for Twin Falls Street departments. Kaysie is an educator at Filer Intermediate School, teaching reading, social studies, and spelling to 6th grade students. Tylers epilepsy was inherited from his mother Kaysie, who also has it. Tyler goes to college in the mornings Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7a.m. to 11 a.m. He attends four classes which are aiding him in finishing his final 12 credits in the Business degree he is going into. After school, he goes to work building pipe, wood or wire fences. If he doesnt have a busy afternoon building fence, he trains outside peoples colts and rope horses.

INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT STUDENT PROFILE After work, he goes home and spends two to three hours practicing for rodeo and two to three hours on school work. His parents hold his little sister and him responsible for doing chores and getting their homework done on time. When Tyler and his sister were little their grandparents

often helped get them to and from school and kept them after school to help with homework and other activities. This family is an example of an Egalitarian family, a family in which both sides of the extended family are equal. In this type of family the mothers parents have as much right and responsibility as the fathers parents. Physical Development Tyler has dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. He has a dark skin complexion. Tyler has fake front teeth which resulted from one of his falls during a seizure. Tyler is six foot and five inches tall, and weighs one-hundred and seventy pounds. Other than his bad eyesight and epilepsy, he is in good physical health. He is right handed. Tyler is above average in physical fitness. He works out to stay fit for rodeo competition and riding colts. He eats well and prefers fruits to sweets. He is able to eat anything he would like and does not have any known allergies. Tyler is able to drink anything he would like also, but alcoholic beverages affect him more than an average person as a result to the medications he takes to control the seizure episodes. He is average among his peers with regard to large muscle development. He is able to run, jump and participate in all physical activities. He is average among his peers with regard to small muscle development. He is able to write, tie knots, stamp leather and cut out different patterns for leather work. Cognitive Development

INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT STUDENT PROFILE Tyler is in his 3rd year of college at College of Southern Idaho. He has a very high academic achievement. He graduated high school with honors. Tyler is good with numbers and enjoys mathematics and any class that has real life applications. He does well on tests in any class thanks to his photographic memory. Tyler loves to learn new things in all aspects of life. In Vygotskys Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), or difference between the level of capability (Parsons, Lewis-Hinson, & Sardo-Brown, 2008), he can perform individually. The

level at which he can perform with aid, Tyler is above average in his abilities. He is able to attain knowledge and is a grade A student. His ability of being a good test taker by scanning the reviews the teachers hand out and remembering them, boosts him further in his education then most of his peers. Tyler has been on task his whole way through life. His epilepsy disorder hasnt held him back in any educational aspects. As a seven year old, when most of his peers were somewhere between the end of the Pre-operational Stage of cognitive development and the beginning of the Concrete Operational Stage of cognitive development, Tyler was able to understand abstract ideas in the Formal Operational Stage of cognitive development. In the formal operational stage, the fourth stage of Piagets theory of cognitive development in which the child can think logically about abstract ideas and hypotheses as well as concrete facts (Parsons, LewisHinson, & Sardo-Brown, 2008), Tyler was reading at a 7th grade level as a 2nd grader. Socio-emotional Development Tyler is and always has been shy with his Peer Group. His peer group, or individuals who are approximately the same gender, age and social status and shared interests; is a small group of friends, he hangs out with at rodeos and during rodeo related activities. Tyler didnt and


doesnt like his peers to know about his disability. Tyler interacts with adults well and is able to have conversations with highly educated adults. When communicating with an adult without peers around, he likes to ask questions about the things that he doesnt have knowledge of and learn about every aspect of life. Tyler has a high Self-Concept, which is the perception of his identity distinct from others. He knows who he is and who he wants to be throughout his life. Tyler has a high level of Self-Esteem. He loves himself for who he is, and doesnt care what other people think about anything he does. The one thing he doesnt want people to know and judge him about is his epilepsy. According to Eriksons Stages of Psychosocial Development, Tyler is in the Intimacy versus Isolation stage. The Intimacy versus Isolation stage is characterized by young adults, age nineteen to forty years old, that need to form intimate, loving relationships with other people. Success leads to strong relationships, while failure results in loneliness and isolation (Parsons, Lewis-Hinson, & Sardo-Brown, 2008). This is evident in his attempts of opening up to people about his difference. When the individual he opens up to and informs about his epilepsy treats him differently after they find out, he recesses and doesnt open up as easily the next time. As stated above, Tyler is more in need of forming intimate, loving relationships with more people; this typifies stage six of Eriksons eight stages of Psychosocial Development. Psychosocial development is the relation of the individuals emotional needs to the social environment. Summary, Conclusions, and Implications Tyler is considered a normal and above normal person with regard to his physical development and socio-emotional development. Cognitively, he is at a higher level than

INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT STUDENT PROFILE most. Tyler is an active learner and is capable of being very successful in life. Tyler has had great support from his family and loved ones in making sure his physical and educational needs are met. As a result of this, his disability is not a major setback; it is merely just a small obstacle

in his life. Tyler is a very active young adult who enjoys going out and leading a normal life. He is perfectly happy being outside working and being around horses. Tyler is an extremely bright individual that has no problems getting As in his classes and on tests. He is able to communicate easily with adults and peers around him, and understands what is being taught to him easily. Tyler is of average build, average height and weight for his age. He is active in rodeo, and has good health except his eyesight and epilepsy. Even with Tylers disability, he is able to carry out a normal lifestyle. Tyler demonstrates a typical socioemotional level. He is interacting with his peers more and is able to communicate well with adults, and takes a great interest in what adults have to say. Tyler is at Eriksons Intimacy versus Isolation stage of development, because he is building relationships and opening up about his disability. When the person he opens up to starts acting different around him, he closes off his emotions and feels isolated by them. Tyler is able to take medication to help control his over active brain. He has to make sure he gets a full nights rest and gives himself enough time to wake up slowly in the morning. Tylers seizure episodes happen when he doesnt follow the previously stated steps. Tyler is a very capable individual, when it comes to academic success. He has proved himself over and over again, when it comes to school work. Tylers disability in the past has caused Tyler to miss out on school activities, but has never affected him in his academic success. Tyler is emotionally capable to deal with his disability on his own. His family has a history of the problem and knows how to deal with the episodes. Kaysie, Tylers mother, was and is still upset that she is the one

INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT STUDENT PROFILE that has passed the disability on to her son, but they have dealt with that as a family and have moved on to lead a normal life. Different strategies can be implemented to support the students learning and development. One strategy to help students with epilepsy is to bypass a vulnerable working memory; teachers can adapt some of their activities to focus less on retrieval of information and more on recognition tasks. Students with memory problems can show their understanding of a concept by responding to questions or Prompts, which use the information they know. A teacher can use Concept Mapping, a cognitive strategy that utilizes graphic structures and links phrases to expose a students understanding of interrelationships. For an example, while teaching Language Arts, teachers can use Elaboration, an information processing strategy that emphasizes links between information stored in long term memory and new information, by using a graphic organizer such as a web to display the information you are looking for. A second strategy teachers can use is exposing the students to the new information as often as possible. This engages students in learning the same concepts and skills many times throughout the day. For example, take a student who is learning the word full and its meaning. At home, he or she is told that his or her cup is full of milk. Full is used during a song in class, with the teacher highlighting the term for the student. During the students individual tutorial, he or she practices putting beads into a cup until it is full; during speech and language therapy, the student might identify pictures that illustrate full. The student learns how to generalize the term, in other words, he or she understands that the same wordfullapplies to many situations.

INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT STUDENT PROFILE A third strategy teachers can use for teaching children with epilepsy is individual instruction. One-to-one tutorials can support the regular curriculum by addressing the same themes and topics multiple times. When having one-to-one tutorials, a teacher can use Direct Instruction, a demonstration of a task to be learned. This will enable the child to be able to use Observational Learning on an individual basis with the teacher, therefore making it easier to grasp the concept he or she is learning. Teachers can provide Outlines and Analogies to help students further their understanding. By using these strategies and others, teachers will be better able to help students who have epilepsy with their learning needs.

INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT STUDENT PROFILE References Bryant, D., Smith, D., & Bryant, B. (2011) Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Classrooms College of Southern Idaho: Boston, MA: Pearson Publishing, Inc. Parsons, R.D., Hinson, S.L. & Sardo-Brown, D. (2008). Educational Psychology: College of Southern Idaho. Belmont, CA: Thompson Learning, Inc.