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Individual Differences Student Profile

ID# 102959
Instructor: Tracey Meyerhoeffer
EDUC 205 CO2W: Development / Individual Differences
Spring 2014


Individual Differences Student Profile

For my individual student profile, I interviewed a teenage girl named Monique. Monique
has had a learning disability called dyslexia ever since she was in kindergarten. I enjoyed my
time learning about her educational struggle and interviewing her family. For this essay, I will
explain how my educational experience in Development and Individual Differences and the
development theories from class relate to Monique and her educational experiences in this essay.
Additionally, I will provide details about Monique's physical development, cognitive
development, and socio-emotional development and then a conclusion of my results as they
would relate to a classroom setting.
General Information
Monique is an 18 year and 3 month old Caucasian girl who lives with her mother, stepfather, and 15 year old sister. She also has a step-sister that is 31 years old, a step-sister that is 28
years old and one step-brother that is 23 years old who live on their own. Monique is a junior in
high school and attends a full day of school. Monique has her driver's license and will drive to
high school when the weather is good; otherwise, she gets on the bus with her sister at 7:25 a.m.
in the morning and gets off the bus after school is released at 3:56 p.m. After school, she will do
her chores, which are the dishes, folding laundry, and cleaning her room. Often, she will help
make dinner. Once she is finished eating her dinner, she does her homework until it is her
bedtime. If she does not have homework, she plays on her computer or watches movies.
Physical Development


Monique is a Caucasian woman with blonde hair, hazel eyes, and fair skin. Monique
wears glasses because of her poor eyesight. Additionally, she did have braces on for three years
compared to the two year time frame of most children. According to the orthodontist, her teeth
did not want to keep in the right placement causing her to need more time with braces. Monique
is five foot six inches tall and weighs one-hundred seventy pounds. Even though Monique has
always been heavier than her younger sister, it has not had any emotional effect on her positive
attitude about life. Monique dealt with bed wetting until she was 15 years old. Her pediatrician
had her on three different medications and a special diet to help stop her bed wetting. A blocked
kidney was the cause of her bed wetting. In the end, she had to take medication to remove the
blockage and have ultrasounds done, and bladder tests to check the internal functions of the
kidneys and bladder. Furthermore, Monique has had asthma since she was 3 years old. She uses
an inhaler for all physical activity. Monique uses her right hand to write with as well as her other
daily functions.
Monique is in good physical shape because she exercises at school in her physical
education class as well as lifts weights with the other students in her class. Monique loves to play
volleyball, basketball, and soccer. In addition to sports, Monique exercises weekly in the spring
to get back into shape for her life guarding job in the summer. She eats a healthy diet without
being a picky eater. Contributing to her large muscle development, Monique swims twenty-five
laps a week in the pool to keep in shape during the summer. She also helps her mother carry
seventy-five pound bales of hay and five-gallon buckets full of water to their livestock on their
small farm, which also has contributed to her large muscle development. Additionally, Monique
likes to draw, create art projects, and write in her journal helping her small muscle development.
Also, Monique has never had any problems with her hearing either in school or at home.


Cognitive Development
Monique is a junior in high school and learns in the general education classrooms as no
special education classrooms are needed for her at this time. At the beginning of her education,
Monique's cognitive development was delayed. Monique was diagnosed with dyslexia by her
first kindergarten teacher. Also, Monique had to have two years of kindergarten in order to be at
the first grade level for reading and math. Since Monique could not understand other student's
perspectives or focus her attention on more than one aspect of the classroom, she was at the
Preoperational Stage of Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory. This is the second stage of the
four stages of development. Monique was pulled out of the classroom for one hour each day to
get help with her reading, writing, and pronunciation of words by a special education teacher.
Her attention span was very limited in a classroom setting and could get distracted easily by the
other students in the classroom. At that point of her education, math, reading, writing, and
language were all considered her academic weaknesses. Monique was very shy and her
participation in class would depend on if it was a group activity or personal activity. She excelled
in individual activities, but she also would take more time to complete the activity than the other
students in the class. Limiting her participation in class to individual activities would be
considered centration. Monique's main focus was only on the individual activity that she was
doing, not on the other student's activities. From the first grade through the fourth grade,
Monique's educational routine entailed her special education teacher taking her out of class for
one hour each day. On testing days, Monique needed more time to complete a test than the rest of
the class, so she used the special education room to take her tests. The methods that the special
education teacher used to help teach Monique reading and writing were by using scaffolding and
phonemic awareness. Her pronunciation, math, and language improved while her reading level


has always been lower compared to her grade level. By the fourth grade, Monique was at the
Concrete Operational Stage, which is the third stage of four stages in Piaget's Cognitive
Development Theory. Monique was able to start focusing on more than just her activities in the
classroom and could now have a better relationship with the entire class. Group activities were
not as frightening for her. Monique's fourth grade science teacher told her mother that her
mathematics would not be a problem for her once she matured; he was correct. By the sixth
grade, Monique was not being taught by her special education teacher anymore. Monique's math
grades were B's and C's and her language scores improved as well to B's. Monique's sixth grade
teacher gave her lower reading level books and more time to read the books for book reports in
order to help Monique. At this time, Monique moved into the Formal Operational Stage, which
is the last stage of Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory. During this stage, Monique began to
use symbols to represent numbers in algebra and create hypotheses in science. In Monique's
freshman year of high school, Monique was only receiving tutoring from her mother and sister to
help in language and reading. Accordingly, Monique was performing well in classes that
matched her maturity. This is an example of Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development. The
teachers at this point thought that Monique needed to have social interaction, an example of
Vygotsky's Socratic dialogue. Also, Monique's language and reading grades, with limited
tutoring at home by her mother, were B's. Math became a strong subject for her, and she was
receiving A's and B's in algebra classes. Unfortunately, Monique was only at a seventh grade
reading level her freshman year. Now, Monique is a junior and continues to have good grades
and maturity. Her grade point average on her last report card was a 3.2. She is excelling in math,
science, art, physical education, and home economics. Her reading level is now between a ninth
and tenth grade reading level. Even though Monique is taking all of the same required classes as


her other classmates, she only asks for tutoring help from her mother or sister once in a while on
her assignments. In the future, Monique will graduate from high school next year and wants to
go to CSI to be an EMT.
Socio-emotional Development
Monique is a genuinely, happy person who loves life at home and around adults. Her
self-concept is being naturally happy with herself and proud of whom she is around her family,
friends, and adults. She fits in well with her friends at school and in her church youth group once
she gets past her shy stage. She is shy at first when she meets new people and then becomes
more social after she gets to know people. Although she is very secure in herself and does not
allow peer pressure to change her in any way, her social interaction with her peers at school is
stunted. Now, Monique is functioning at the Identity Versus Identity Diffusion of Erikson's
social-emotional development. As a result, she has adolescent egocentricism where she believes
that the other students are all watching her and commenting about being held back in school.
She feels self-conscience about not being with her first kindergarten class and not graduating
with them this year, which makes her have low self-esteem. Though Monique has matured in
age, she uses more mature social interaction with adults. She still reverts back to a form of
egocentricism found in younger children when faced with their peers.
Summary of Major Findings
Monique has a loving and supporting family that has helped her deal with dyslexia since
kindergarten. She has always had a delightful attitude about life, because of her family's caring
and compassionate support. At the age of 18, Monique still deals with egocentricism and is selfconscience about being a year behind in high school when she is socializing with her peers.


Around adults, her friends, her church youth group, and her family, she is very proud of herself
and a happy person.
Monique's teacher diagnosed her in kindergarten with dyslexia. Her teacher created a
learning environment that was needed for her to develop and hopefully reach her right learning
level. As a result of her dyslexia, her cognitive development has been consistently one level
behind. Her special education teacher taught her separately for all of her weak classes until the
sixth grade when group or peer learning was considered a better learning environment for her.
Although Monique is receiving As and Bs in her classes, her reading level has always remained
lower than her grade level. Throughout her education, Monique will likely have a lower reading
level, but she is intelligent enough to maintain a high grade point average. Accordingly, she will
not let her reading level keep her from getting a college degree.
Monique is not at her "typical level" of cognitive development because she still has the
problem of dealing with egocentricism and her low weakness of having a lower reading level
than what is expected. According to Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory, Monique has
always been a level behind in her development due to her dyslexia. Even now at 18 she is
dealing with egocentrism, which shows that she, at certain times, will revert back to the
Preoperational Stage. Fortunately, Monique has always been at her "typical level" of physical
development. She has from the start of her educational period been able to exercise and improve
her large muscle development and small muscle development. At 18 years old, she helps lift
heavy items on the farm and swims laps for her work. Monique is at her "typical level" of
general development and has a good outlook on life. At this time, Monique is not quite at her
"typical level" of socio-emotional development. Her happy and confident personality allows her


to function well around adults, her friends, and family. Once she graduates from high school, her
self-consciousness about her dyslexia causing her to be a year behind in school will not be an
issue for her with her college peers. When Monique starts college, she feels that she will be equal
to all of the other college students. Her positive attitude will help her accomplish her future
The strategies that I would use in the classroom to teach a dyslexic child are scaffolding,
phonemic awareness, zone of proximal development, and group or peer learning. Scaffolding
allows the teacher to give the child hints or clues to better solve problems. This positively
encourages the child to keep trying in order to learn. Phonemic awareness improves a child's
reading, reading comprehension, and ability to spell. When the child is first diagnosed with
dyslexia, a special education teacher should work one on one with the child to give proper
guidance and use the specific educational tools needed for that child. At this point, the child may
be distracted in a classroom with the other students or frustrated if he or she could not do the
same tasks that are assigned to the other children. As the child shows improvement and advances
in school, the child should be in class learning with group or peer learning. This allows the child
to be tutored and helped by the other students in the class. Group or peer learning uses both
scaffolding and dialogues to provide new information that might help the struggling child learn a
better way of understanding the material. When the dyslexic child remains in the classroom and
in his/her zone of proximal development, the dyslexic child can perform challenging tasks with
proper guidance.


Monique's learning disability has taught me about the resilience of children. Learning
about her dyslexia and her challenging educational experience has taught me how important it is
for an educator never to give up on a child with learning disabilities. Monique's positive outlook
on life has helped her to improve and be able to learn without doubting her ability. As Monique
starts her college education, she will continue to be below her correct reading level. She knows
that she has to try harder than other students in order to maintain the high grade point averages
required of her. In the future, Monique's egocentricism will not affect her in college with the
realization of being an equal among her college peers. Everyone who knows Monique considers
her to be an inspiration to them, me included. From her enlightening interview, she has made me
aware of what I need to learn in order to determine if a student has dyslexia and how to teach a
dyslexic student in the classroom.


Garguilo, R.M., Parsons, R.D., Lewis Hinson, S., & Sardo-Brown, D. (2003)
Development/Individual Differences. Belmont: Wadsworth Thomson
McLeod, Saul. "Lev Vygotsky." Simply Psychology. (2007). 1-3. Web. 10 Mar 2014.