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Ecosystemic Case Study Report: Casey Davila Zorayda Delgado San Diego State University

ECOSYSTEMIC CASE STUDY REPORT Abstract: In conjunction with my practicum site course, this report provides information about my work with Casey Davila. As a school counselor trainee, I have been assigned to collaborate and support Casey in the education setting. Being assigned to work closely with Casey, as allowed

me to learn about the ecosystems that impact her and the reciprocal relationship amongst them. I have also conducted interviews with individuals that interact with her and performed observations across different settings. Finally, there are several proposed interventions stated in this report that will support her in her ecosystem components, in order for her to gain skills to help her to further succeed not only in her education but also in the social aspect. These interventions were developed after conducting the ecosystemic assessment and modifying the preliminary hypothesis. The modified hypothesis indicates that Caseys impulsive and tattling behaviors are methods for her to get adults attention and this has led me to explore new techniques in order to support her in these areas. All names in this report have been changed for confidentiality reasons. Keywords: school counselor trainee, interventions, ecosystems, ecosystemic assessment, preliminary hypothesis

ECOSYSTEMIC CASE STUDY REPORT Ecosystemic Case Study Report: C. D. Out On the Soccer Field, Learning the Different Skills Casey loves to play soccer but has difficulty with some social skills. She does not have many friends but hopes to soon make new friends. These are some characteristics that describe Casey Davila, a 7 year old girl; in second grade who has attended the same elementary school since kindergarten. She is of Latino descent and the primary language spoken at her home is English. She lives with her biological parents and her older sister whom is a 5th grader at her elementary school. Her father is a marine and her mother is currently not employed. The reason Caseys mother contacted the school counseling department was to obtain additional behavioral

support and resources for her daughter to further develop and practice her social skills in order to promote her overall academic success. To further comprehend Caseys social, emotional and academic performance, it is essential to explore the relationships between her different ecological systems that may be impacting her. The ecological approaches utilized to learn more about Casey reflects the main components of Bronfenbrenners ecological systems theory (Merrell, 2011). As illustrated in Appendix A, a replica of Bronfenbrenners ecological systems theory with the contexts and environments that Casey is exposed to was created to demonstrate the interaction across these systems. This theory allowed me to learn the complexity and reciprocal relationship between the systems. A more in-depth understanding is highlighted by acknowledging her immediate home environment. Her family dynamics are unique given that her family identifies with the military culture. For instance, this culture compels the student to be flexible and adjust to her fathers deployment process which may impact her social, emotional and academic development. In addition, by taking Caseys age into consideration, it is apparent that she may still be developing


her social and behavioral skills that may currently be perceived as concerning. Equally important is the impact of her active community involvement compared to the less frequent encounters with her family members who live in Michigan. Consequently, throughout the report these systems will be examined to highlight how they might be impacting her educational success. Developing the Skills to Succeed As soon as I was assigned to work with Casey Davila, it was imperative to learn as much as I could to be able to collaborate with her in providing a supportive school environment to reach her academic and personal potential. The preliminary hypothesis before conducting the ecosystemic assessment presumed that some of the behaviors that Casey was demonstrating had become problematic and were affecting the different systems in the ecological model; more specifically her home environment, academic achievement level, soccer team interactions, classroom dynamics and peer relationships. This initial hypothesis developed from statements presented across the mesosystem and microsystem found in Appendix A. Caseys mother shared with the school counselor that at home and with her soccer team, Casey was having difficulties with some social skills such as self-control, yelling and expressing feelings appropriately. In addition, Caseys teacher stated that she struggled when she tried to make new friends and maintaining those friendships. According to her teacher, she noticed that there was an increase in her tattling. Although her social behaviors needed to be considered, the initial hypothesis did change as further exploration of the ecosystemic assessment occurred. The preliminary hypothesis failed to distinguish that her social behaviors were not affecting the academic component of Caseys ecological model. This was revealed once the record reviews and interviews with her teacher were conducted. By reviewing her cumulative file it became apparent that Caseys academic

ECOSYSTEMIC CASE STUDY REPORT level was not being affected by her behaviors. In contrast, according to her teacher she is performing at the grade level standards and she reads and writes well. The hypothesis was modified and it specifies that Caseys behavioral acts such as tattling and impulsivity are methods to seek attention. The new hypothesis was supported with record reviews and the

different observations conducted. The ecological components that impact this hypothesis will be presented in the following sections of this report. A Closer Look at the Different Systems There were a total of four observations conducted across the different education settings that were consistent with Caseys impulsive and tattling behavior. The first method was performed in the schools library and it was an ABC observation which describes the antecedent before the behavior, what the behavior looks like and the consequences (see Appendix B for observation data recorded). During this observation Caseys class was visiting their schools library. Casey first searched for a book that she was interested in. Upon noticing that she could not find it on her own she interrupts the librarian who was helping out another student. Since the book she wanted was not available, she was told to search for another book. Another behavior that became apparent during this observation was tattling. Casey decided to tell her teacher that a classmate grabbed two reading books instead of one. A classroom observation was also conducted in which Casey started playing with her shoes and then with her hands. The third observation was during recess time. Casey went to the library for recess and played the board game Candyland with two other girls. Some of the components in the Target/Peer Interaction observation presented by Merrell (2011), were used to examine the positive and negative peer interactive behaviors. A positive behavior recorded was that Casey waited for each girl to take their turn. She also praised the girls when one of them would advance a lot of squares

ECOSYSTEMIC CASE STUDY REPORT during the game. Once the game ended she commended the girls by saying that they were all winners. In contrast, Casey demonstrated negative interactive behaviors by not allowing the other two girls to start the game; instead they let her go first. In addition, she whispered something to one of the girls in her ear and not to the other girl. The fourth method was a classroom observation during a math lesson. While the teacher was in front of the class

presenting the lesson, Casey looked around. She also raised her hand to try to inform the teacher of what her classmate next to her was doing. Overall, the observations were consistent. For instance, I was informed of the impulsive and tattling behavior that Casey portrays across the different educational settings. I perceived some of the antecedents that led her to not respond appropriately to her peers and when she tattles. The behaviors were evident when she attempted to grasp her teacher or the librarians attention. Some of the consequences were that she was instructed to return to do her work. Spotlight on the M.V.P. Soccer Star Reviewing Caseys cumulative file and Aeries, the schools database system, provided additional information about the impact that the school and home component may have on the student. These files have confidential information about the students and may be difficult to access, however, for this case study they were accessible under the supervision of my site supervisor. The cumulative file supports the modified hypothesis because Caseys behaviors are not impacting her academic performance; instead the focus of support indicates that it is with the development of her behavioral and social skills. Caseys report card from kindergarten and first grade highlight that her academic achievement level in reading, writing and math subjects was proficient; meaning she was meeting the grade level standards as expected by the student norm. I was able to determine that her strong academic record reported in these files were consistent with


her current academic performance that her teacher specified during the interview. In addition, her report card indicated her behaviors during each grade. Throughout kindergarten and first grade she had received an excellent level for her behavior. However, the last trimester in first grade, instead of receiving an excellent remark in behavior she received satisfactory which still meets the rules level standards but there was a minor change in the level she had previously received. I found this interesting because through sessions with her, I found out that her father was deployed during that trimester. This is a component that needs to be further explored to learn if her fathers deployment played a factor in the change of her social skills behavior. Another component that stood out to me in her cumulative file was the two letters informing her parents that this was the first truancy notification, that Casey had several unexcused absences. For a chart illustrating the total numbers of missed school days refer to Appendix C. Furthermore, meeting with Casey briefly introduced me to another family and community component by sharing one of the reasons she had missed a school day. She communicated that her family does not celebrate Halloween and that she had not attended school on that day. The attendance and truancy policy have been a factor in this case study and further information needs to be considered in this aspect. The Sideline Coaches Perspectives One of the interviews I conducted was with Caseys teacher. It was an informal interview where I was able to ask her about Caseys academic performance and interactions with her peers. As previously mentioned, she clarified that Casey was performing at grade level across her academics. However, she described that Casey struggled with situations that involved conflicts. She indicated that instead of trying to solve a difficulty with another classmate, Casey would immediately demand the teachers attention by tattling on the other student. An example she shared was that one of Caseys classmates did not want to be friends or play with her. This

ECOSYSTEMIC CASE STUDY REPORT caused Casey to become very upset and she immediately told on her classmate. She described that tattling occurred often throughout the school day. Another informal interview was with the school librarian. The reason for this interview was because Casey enjoys going to the library during recess. From this interview I learned that the librarian noticed that Caseys behavior had changed a little from last year. The librarian

stated that this year she has reminded Casey a few times of the school rules which are being safe, responsible and respectful because of behaviors she has displayed in the library setting. This was something that was not common last year. What stood out to me in the interview with the school librarian and Caseys teacher is that they both mentioned Caseys older sister. I learned that Caseys older sister is proficient in her academic level; she is mature and has no behavioral difficulties. This provided me with further insight of how her sibling dynamics may be impacting Casey. According to both of these interviews they implied that Casey may feel pressured by the way her older sister is perceived. These interviews provided me with additional information for the initial hypothesis, in which I became aware of possible self-esteem and behavioral difficulties that have resulted in ways to get attention from others, since she may be getting compared to her older sister. Lastly, I had a phone interview with Caseys mother. I utilized this interview to introduce myself and gain rapport by providing her mother with information of the evidence based social skills curriculum that I have implemented into the sessions. Although I did not ask many questions her mother mentioned that she was interested that Casey would learn techniques of how to calm down and not use high voices. She asked if Casey was cooperating during sessions and if she was sharing her feelings. According to her mother this was something that Casey had difficulty with at home. By communicating with her mother I was able to further learn

ECOSYSTEMIC CASE STUDY REPORT information about Caseys behaviors at home and the interest in support that her mother is interested in. All interviewees did cooperate and were interested in further collaborating to support Casey in the education setting. I decided to interview her mother, teacher and librarian because they interact and support Casey in different educational settings. Future questions will concentrate in gaining more information about Caseys strengths across these settings; inquire if any behavioral changes have occurred, I will like to stay informed about her academic performance and further explore the relationship between Casey and her older sister. Something that I need to keep in mind in my future work with Casey is the reported information from her mother and my site supervisor. I have not witnessed the behaviors that she displays at home and

the few outburst behaviors she displayed at school in the beginning of the school year. These are areas of concern that need to be explored to further support her with developing appropriate social skills and how to identify and be in control of her feelings. Future Skills to Succeed A current intervention that is taking place during counseling sessions is the Second Step evidence based social skills curriculum. Some of lessons presented have been fair ways to play, distinguishing the school rules and identifying feelings. This intervention has encouraged the student to role play possible school conflict situations with peers and I have been able to support her throughout her problem solving process. It has become evident that the student has knowledge of the school rules, however, she has some difficulty applying them to situations that she may come across. That is why the Second Step curriculum provides a space to explore and develop her social skills. She has been able to express her feelings of what makes her frustrated. Second Step curriculum will continue to be implemented and support her to develop her social



and peer relationship skills. This intervention is evidence based and to assess there will be a selfreport and weekly check-ins to discuss how she has confronted different situations at home, in the community, with her peers and in class. An important proposed intervention is ways to support her to identify what she could do when she is feeling frustrated. A possible visual intervention that will support her to identify when she is feeling frustrated has been added to Appendix D. Future implementation of this visual will need to be modified to fit the students input such as what appropriate ways to respond to frustration are and what triggers her frustration. This intervention has been selected since the home and school environment have pointed out that outbursts and inappropriate behaviors such as loud voices, kicking and pushing occur when Casey is upset or frustrated. With the collaboration of her teacher and home environment this intervention will be implemented to become aware if Casey responds accordingly with her modified intervention when faced with a frustration and if a reduction of frustration outburst has occurred both at home and in school. Another proposed intervention is educating Casey about the difference between tattling and what information is appropriate to let teachers and school staff know about. A visual intervention detailing the difference between tattling and informing will be proposed, in addition, to holding the teacher accountable to record how many times Casey tattles. This will allow the teacher and student know how frequent tattling occurs at school. Ways to reduce tattling will be proposed in the future with collaboration of Casey, her teacher and parents. The collaboration from all her ecosystems, which are her home environment, school and community, will be essential to the proposed interventions. In order to continue to support Casey in her academic, social and emotional development all systems must unite to ensure that she is reaching her potential across these components.



Merrell, K. W. (2011). Behavioral, social, and emotional assessment of children and adolescents (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.