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Running head: INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES PROFILE ESSAY

Individual Differences Profile Essay


Howard, Taj
Instructor: Dr. Egbert
Education 205: Developmental Differences 10:00

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES PROFILE ESSAY

Introduction
This paper was fun to write because I investigated a great kid who has a lot of potential
despite his diagnosed disabilities. His desire to do and to be better are evident in everything he
says. There are more children in the United States with diagnosed disabilities now than at any
time in our past. Is the reason due to us discovering new disabilities or is there a truly greater
percentage of impairments? That is a question for another, very complicated paper but teachers
need to focus on providing accommodations like quiet, secluded rooms and wheelchair ramps
more than at any other time. Doing any less than everything reasonably possible to give disabled
children all the tools they need to succeed is illegal. The logic behind this is that these students
need advantages to make up for their disadvantages, giving disadvantaged students every
opportunity to self actualize, or reach their full potential.
General Information
Jaden Benson is in many ways your typical 9 year old American boy. He has bright blond
hair, eyes that are distinctly blue, and fair skin with just a few freckles scattered over his face. As
you can probably guess, he is Caucasian. Jaden lives with his mother, stepfather, 3 brothers and 1
sister in a home in Twin Falls, ID. He attends Harrison Elementary School during the week
starting at 0840 and ending at 1530. The fun isnt over for him yet at that point, he also attends
their afterschool program under the 21st Century Enrichment Grant from 1530-1830 (including
home travel time). Jaden gets both enrichment activities and tutoring from this program. This is
his only extracurricular activity, unless you count church which Jaden attends weekly on
Sundays. Overall, Jaden seems to have a typical fourth grade life until you are told that Jaden is
dealing with severe ADHD or Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, a learning disability
exhibited by inattention and impulsivity, and has been diagnosed with ODD, or Oppositional
Defiant Disorder. ODD is repeated hostile and disobedient behavior towards adults.

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES PROFILE ESSAY

Physical Development
Jaden is of a smaller stature for his age than many of his peers, standing at 45 inches tall.
His build is lean, and he would easily fit into the second or third grade class just based on
physical appearance. He is right handed and his muscle development seems to be on track. He
effortlessly dribbles a basketball, throws a small football, and runs across the playground. He can
also write in cursive, and has a full range of motion, exhibiting both small and large muscle
development. His physical appearance seems to indicate overall good health. He is not overly
thin, his eyes are clear and white, he does not complain of generalized pain or fatigue, and his
skin and nails have a normal red hue. He is mostly observed alone when playing on the
playground but when he can, he loves to play team sports like basketball with his peers. He also
can be observed playing on the playground monkey bars, another of his favorite activities.
Jadens mom cooks for the entire family and Jaden makes sure I know that she leaves out
the salt and butter. This is to reduce the chance of high blood pressure and cardiovascular
problems in her family. Jadens favorite foods are bananas and cooked carrots and he states that
he eats broccoli a lot. Overall it seemed like the family had a well-balanced diet.
Cognitive Development
Jaden gets help with his homework in his resource classroom all morning long. This
resource helps Jaden cope with his Learning Disability, a disability that makes it difficult for
the brain to acquire new information, and catch up on the homework load that he always seems
to be behind on. The class uses personalized tutoring, small class sizes, and more patience to help
kids that seem to need a little more assistance. In the afternoon, Jaden is placed into a regular
classroom illustrating inclusion. Jaden and his teachers report that Jaden has a very hard time
focusing on learning material and gets distracted extremely easily. He told me that every little
sound in the room he can hear. Learning new material, then, is a challenge. I tested Jadens stage

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES PROFILE ESSAY

of cognitive development which is an individuals brain task development, and for his age, he is
exactly where he is supposed to be. When I showed him two strings of equal length then
crunched one up, he correctly stated that they were both the same length, demonstrating the
principle of conservation. This is a test to determine if the student is in Piagets Concrete
Operational Stage of Development and he fits in that category. Those in that stage can use logic
to solve concrete problems (Parsons, 2008, p. 45).
Socio-emotional Development
Jadens socio-emotional development, or social and emotional intelligence, is poor at
best, and this is an area that his disability is very evident. The majority of the time, Jaden is a
softspoken, quiet child unless he is exhibiting symptoms of his Oppositional Defiance Disorder.
During these episodes he will not listen to instructions, yells at the instructor, and is very
incorrigible. Despite having a great disposition the majority of the time, Jaden reports having a
hard time making friends. As I said earlier, I see him alone much of the time at school so it seems
to be true. Jaden views himself as different from the other children, both mentally slower and
physically smaller. His lack of self-esteem, or mental image of his self worth, is evident in his
speech and in the timid way he interacts with others. Because of his disability and mental image,
Jaden seems to get frustrated very easily. His frustration leads to outbursts or simply a desire to
quit.
Around adults, Jaden is very respectful the majority of the time and was delighted that I
took the time and energy to interview him and focus this paper on him. His lack of self esteem
made it unbelievable that someone would notice and take an interest in his life, so I was happy to
do it. Jaden desperately seeks attention and approval, especially adult approval. After observing
him, it is apparent that Jaden is at Eriksons stage of Industry vs. Inferiority, a stage
characterized by being productive or guilt if there is a percieved lack in that area. He feels like he

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES PROFILE ESSAY

is not acquiring the social and intellectual skills that school demands at the same rate as his peers
and feels inferior because of it.
Summary
Jaden has a supportive, large family that wishes to see him succeed. Because he can be a
difficult child his mother occasionally gets frustrated with him, and he reports being picked on
by his older stepbrothers. As a member of a large family, Jaden sometimes feels insignificant and
his ADHD problems and poorly developed social skills compound the problem making him feel
like he is not as advanced as other children. As a result Jaden exhibits low self-esteem and seeks
attention and approval from others. Jadens mom reports that sometimes he is so intent on being
heard that when speaking he will not physically move until someone acknowledges and responds
to what he said.
Jaden's resource class helps him a great deal with his homework load, which can feel
overwhelming to him. Jaden wants more than anything to just be like everyone else. He is
thankful for the extra attention he gets in the afterschool program.
Conclusion
Jaden is not at a typical level of development in the cognitive domain, or domain in
Bloom's taxonomy dealing with mental abilities. He suffers from severe ADHD for which he
takes Vivance. Due to ADHD, Jaden has a very hard time focusing long enough to learn new
material. He is over a year behind in most subjects. Jaden states he feels stupid and not like the
other children. In the physical domain, Jaden is at a typical level of development. His small
stature is most likely genetic due to his parents being of a smaller size, and his reflexes, muscle
development, and motor skills are well developed. This is evidenced by his skill with game balls,
running, writing, etc. In the socio-emotional domain, Jaden is not at a typical stage of
development. He suffers from low self-esteem, has outbursts when he is frustrated, finds it

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES PROFILE ESSAY

difficult to make friends, and his mother states he is often a difficult child but occasionally an
angel.
So what can we do to intervene in this situation? Medically, Jaden takes Vivance for
ADHD and Abilify for ODD. Jadens frequent illness is tied to the anxiety, or internal tension
due to situational stress, and psychological fear that school initiates in him. Helping him with his
socio-emotional issues will increase his physical health. Educationally, Jaden's physical
environment, or classroom materials and physical condition, needs a quiet room with few
distractions and attention by a teacher that will teach at his pace. Jaden needs help from a oneon-one tutor that can encourage him, positively reinforce him, and help him develop the
foundational skills he is lacking. Once he feels that he has developed those skills, he will be able
feel industrious rather than inferior. If a personal tutor is unavailable, online help with
headphones such as Kahn Academy math and science would be a great alternative, blocking out
distractions and making learning fun at his level. Jaden needs to be tested for light and contrast
sensitivity, he has some troubles with reading and he may need an Irlen filter considering 20% of
people do. Emotionally, Jaden could use a peer/friend group that is supportive of him. Jaden has
a deep need to be listened to and shown appreciation. Kids at his age are not the best at that so
maybe he needs a group of similar children to be around, perhaps a support group for ADHD
children. A good idea would be putting children in groups in his resource class, then doing
activities that force them to interact with each other like playing Jenga or working on a math
game. Sousa (2001) recommends breaking the tasks up into smaller, easily completed tasks, and
keeping them interesting by using groups and making a game out of school tasks (p.60).

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES PROFILE ESSAY


References
Parsons, R.D., Hinson, S.L. & Sardo-Brown, D. (2008). Educational Psychology: College of
Southern Idaho. Belmont, CA: Thompson Learning, Inc.
Sousa, D.A. (2001). How the Special Needs Brain Learns. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press:
Sage Publications Ltd.