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INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES STUDENT PROFILE

Individual Differences Student Profile Essay


Crissie Gard
Instructor: Dr. Egbert
Education 205: Developmental/Individual Differences
College of Southern Idaho

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES STUDENT PROFILE

Abstract
This document is, in summary, my observation of a student named Jack. I observed Jack in a
classroom setting and interviewed him over the phone. Jack is a student with a 504 Plan and has
been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and manic depression. I observed
his daily routine and how he interacts with adults and peers. I observed his academic process and
how he performs in class as well as outside of school. I noted my findings and what I think could
help Jack do better academically and developmentally.

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES STUDENT PROFILE

Individual Differences Profile Essay


I had a chance to meet with a student, that I will call Jack, and his family. Jack is in sixth
grade. I observed Jack at his school for two class periods, which are an hour and a half long
each. I also interviewed him over the phone. Jack has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit
Hyperactive Disorder, a syndrome that interferes with an individuals capacity to regulate
activity level, inhibit behavior, and attend to tasks in developmentally appropriate ways. He was
also diagnosed with manic depression. He was diagnosed with ADHD when he was around five
years old and manic depression when he was ten. According to his mother, Jack also has been
thought to have a mild form of Aspergers Syndrome, but has never been officially diagnosed.
General Information
Jack and his family are Caucasian Americans. Jack is male, age 12 years and five months.
His family configuration consists of his mother, younger brother, and himself. Jacks daily
routine, or his established procedures, consist of getting himself and his brother up and ready for
school at 6:30 am. Every morning, he has a cup of coffee. He explained to me that this is a part
of his routine and that if he does not have coffee in the morning it is hard for him to function
normally. Jack strives on routine and does not do well with change. He and his brother ride the
bus for 45 minutes to public school and attend until 3:15 pm then ride the bus home and are
usually picked up by a babysitter four days per week. They spend the rest of the day at the
babysitters house because their mother works until after 10:00 pm. Jack usually does his
homework on the bus.
During school, Jack attends five classes that include math, language, keyboarding,
history, and a study period called Mentors. Jack does not have an Individualized Education

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES STUDENT PROFILE

Plan. An IEP is a form of communication between school and family, developed by the group of
people responsible for the education of a child with special needs. Fortunately, he does have a
504 plan, because he has ADHD, which means that his school and teachers are aware that he has
special needs as a student. He also takes medication for ADHD daily. He also plays football and
wrestles, during their seasons, as extracurricular activities.
Physical Development
Jack has dark blonde hair, has brown eyes, and has light skin. He had an under bite, a
class three inclusion, but has since had braces. He still talks with an impediment. Jack broke all
three bones in his right elbow and had to have surgery to repair it. He has a scar that is
approximately three inches long. Other than the scar, he has no visible blemishes or birthmarks.
Jacks physical maturation, or the developmental changes associated with the biological passing
of time, seems to be close to his peers upon visual comparison. He is much thinner than his
classmates are. His mother said that he is around 30 percentile, height and weight, for his age
range. Jacks general physical health seems to be in good condition with a few minor
impairments, or physical damage and/or deterioration, such as, he is nearsighted, has severe
astigmatism, and wears glasses. Jack is severely allergic to bees and wasps. He has been
hospitalized three times for being stung. Anywhere that he visits frequently must keep an epi-pen
on hand at all times.
When using a pencil, Jack is right handed. He uses his left hand when tapping on an iPad.
Jack does participate in physical education and is highly active and very athletic. He gets
adequate nutrition because he eats constantly. He loves fruit and vegetables. He usually keeps
food in his backpack and always saves food from lunch to eat after school. Jacks large muscle

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES STUDENT PROFILE

development seems appropriate for his age. His eye-hand coordination is proficient. He
participates in sports and also runs, jumps, and plays with other kids. Jack is developmentally on
task with same-aged students. His fine motor skills are also comparable to other students his age
in muscular development. He can use a pencil and can cut paper. He likes to draw but says that
he does not do it very well.
Cognitive Development
Jacks academic and school history consist of several changes and placements within
special classes. He is currently in sixth grade and has been in a variety of classes and programs.
Before he was diagnosed with ADHD or depression, he was placed in regular education classes.
Jack continues to be in regular classrooms at this time. He was placed in a special education
program when he was diagnosed with ADHD and had an IEP from kindergarten to second grade.
From first grade through third grade, Jack was placed in advanced math and reading classes. He
was ranked 5th in the nation, for his age range, in math. He participates in regular math and
reading classes at this time.
Jacks academic behaviors seem normal compared to surrounding students. He takes
medication for ADHD so his attention span is that of a general student of the same age. He
particularly enjoys reading and reads at a ninth grade level. Jack really loves learning new things
but has had a hard time in a classroom setting prior to this year. As a student, he does well in
school and has average grades. Unfortunately, Jack cannot function without having a routine. If
his routine is changed, even slightly, he seems disoriented and gets emotionally upset. Jack is in
Piagets theoretical fourth stage of cognitive development or the Formal operational stage
(Berns, 2013). Formal operational means that the child can think logically about abstract ideas

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES STUDENT PROFILE

and hypotheses as well as concrete facts. Jack thinks about his future and is striving to meet his
goals. Since reading is one of his favorite pastimes, he will read his library books over doing his
normal schoolwork or homework. He really enjoys books by Dean Koontz but sometimes gets
into trouble because he would rather read than do his assignments during class time. He likes to
think about what is happening in his books and how it could pertain to the real world. Jack is a
tactile learner. He loves art class and does very well with hands-on artwork like pottery. Visual
stimulation and being able to actually touch what he is learning about really helps Jack. He is
mechanically inclined and likes to fix things.
Socio-emotional Development
Jacks interactions with peers seem to be normal for his age and gender. He tolerates
other students but is ostracized because he is above average, academically, compared to his
peers. Sometimes distracted by other students, Jack is usually reprimanded before the other
student who is being disruptive. He has few friends but seems to have normal friendships with
the friends he does have. According to Jack, he does not have a best friend and has had
challenges making and keeping friends because of medication changes disrupting his emotions
and making his mood unstable. He is social with other students and does not seem to have a
problem communicating with them.
Jacks interactions with adults are problematic. He seemed defiant towards adults but,
upon further observation, this is normal behavior from other students at his school. There is no
respect for student or teacher by either party. Jack is defiant towards his mother but she
encourages this behavior by allowing him to talk back and by constantly yelling at him instead of
discussing things. Jacks self-concept, or an individuals perception of his/her identity as distinct

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES STUDENT PROFILE

from others, is somewhat mediocre. He has low self-esteem, the value one places on his/her
identity, and is emotionally unstable. Jack seems self-confident around others but prefers to be
alone most of the time. During certain situations, such as when he is reprimanded, he gets very
emotional and seems to break down. His outlook on life is fairly positive. He is not overly
negative and does seem to see the pleasant things in his life. When he gets older, he has his sights
set on becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon.
Jack is in the fifth stage of Eriksons psychological developmental stages, the Identity
versus Role Confusion stage. This stage is where adolescent children, age 12-18, try to establish
their own identity (Berns, 2013). His socio-emotional development has suffered as a result of his
relationships at home. Jack understands that he is different from most students his age. He does
know that he is smart but has trouble with social interactions with adults. He has always had to
fight for his role within his family. Not having a father figure has causes some identity issues
with him. He struggles with having matured too fast because he is the oldest male in his
household and believes the responsibilities of that role are his to deal with.
Summary, Conclusions, and Implications
The summary of my findings deduce that Jack is in a fragile state at this point of his life.
He is a student at risk, which means that he has a vulnerability to negative developmental
outcomes. He is not getting adequate help from his school or family. I do not believe this is
happening on purpose but because there is a lot of misunderstandings between Jacks mother and
Jacks educators. His mother is unaware of all of the things she could be doing for him
academically because she also has ADHD and other psychological disorders. The educators at
Jacks school have not taken every precaution to make sure Jack does not fall behind. I

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES STUDENT PROFILE

absolutely know that Jack could be doing better in school if he was provided the proper
resources. He does, however, have a positive outlook for his future. If he continues to keep a
positive attitude, he will have a better chance at getting the help he needs. Unfortunately, the task
of securing his goals will all be up to him. Jack is a fairly happy student and tries hard to be on
task and learn new things. He is a smart student and has a lot of potential.
My general conclusion is that Jack seems like a normal boy who loves to read and play
sports. He enjoys the same types of activities and social interactions as other students his age.
Physically, he is in good health and is very active. He seems to be right on target
developmentally for his age group, although a bit underweight. He continues to take medication
for ADHD daily. Jacks under bite has been fixed but he still talks with an impediment. He wears
glasses to correct his astigmatism and nearsightedness. He is also cognitively ahead of his
classmates and reads well above his grade level. Although he is in regular classes, Jack is gifted
and talented in math. He shows some social competence, behavior informed by an
understanding of others feelings and intentions, the ability to respond appropriately, and
knowledge of the consequences of ones actions, and seems to have a normal relationship with
students in his age range. Jack is at the same maturity level as other boys his age although he
struggles with his identity and role in his household. Even though Jack has certain disabilities, a
reduction in the function of a particular body part or organ, he does not see himself as disabled or
incompetent.
Jack has many strengths but has a few needs as well. He has found a medication that
seems to work better than any of the others he has tried. He is aware of his needs and knows that
it is important that he takes his medication regularly. Jack controls his dosages and lets his

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES STUDENT PROFILE

mother know how he feels with each change. He also reminds his mother when he is running low
on medications so she can get them refilled for him. Other than medications for ADHD, Jack has
no need to see his doctor.
Academically, Jack has average grades and is very intelligent, but is not getting the help
he needs from his school staff or from home. Not having an IEP has made it difficult for jack to
get ahead in school. He does have a 504 plan, but this does not really benefit him within the
classroom. Jacks teachers are quick to reprimand him, even when he is not the one causing
disruptions. He does well in school but would do better if he were getting the attention he needs.
Emotionally, Jack is very sensitive. Unless he is angry, he has trouble expressing his feelings.
He has a lot of stress at home. Jacks mother has a very authoritarian style of parenting which
is a parenting style that is characterized by unquestioning obedience to authority. Jack is
constantly in trouble at school and at home. He is very defiant towards adults, especially his
mother, and constantly fights with his younger brother. Jacks microsystem, or activities and
relationships with significant others experienced by a developing person in a particular small
setting such as family, school, peer group, or community, does not run very smoothly and seems
to be a struggle for him.
Specific strategies that should be implemented for Jacks learning and development could
include an IEP, seating arrangements, implementing a different type of discipline or reward
system, and possibly a mentoring program. His educators should be taking a more active role in
his education and plans for the future. He is very smart and is willing to learn even though his
teachers do not seem interested in his success. Jacks teachers need to be well aware of what his
needs are and apply the proper changes instead of just sending him into the hallway to redirect

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES STUDENT PROFILE

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himself. Advanced placements would benefit Jack so he does not get bored with regular class
work. Jack would also profit from an advanced reading and math curriculum. A curriculum is
the goals and objections of an education program, the teachers role, the kinds of activities
planned, and the way they are scheduled.
Jacks classes need to work on classroom management and seating arrangements to better
fit his needs. Since he has ADHD, a seating arrangement could enhance his class time greatly. It
would help to move Jack away from open windows and away from high traffic areas. He is
highly distracted by other students. A seating chart would help the other students stay focused
and keep unwanted distractions down to a minimum from and for all students. Implementing a
different type of disciplinary system would help Jack redirect in a more positive way. He could
also gain from a mentoring program to help build his relationships with adults. He is a wonderful
child and deserves to have opportunities in his education. Jacks teachers need to utilize their
skills, as professionals, to help keep him from falling behind.

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES STUDENT PROFILE

Reference(s)
Berns, R.M. (2013). Child, family, school, community: Socialization and support
(9th ed.). Belmont, Ca: Thomson Learning, Inc.
Sousa, D.A. (2007). How the special needs brain learns (2nd ed.).
Thousand Oaks, Ca: Corwin Press.

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