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Running Head: INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES PROFILE

Individual Differences Student Profile


Parker Twiss
Instructor: Tracey Meyerhoeffer
EDUC 205: Development/ Individual Differences
Fall 2016

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Individual Differences Student Profile
I hate the feeling of not "fitting in." I can't imagine always feeling that way but that is
how my friend 'Josh' feels all the time. He is a teenager who has higher functioning autism. In
this profile, I will provide general information regarding the physical, the cognitive, and the
socio-emotional development of a student with autism. I will also discuss how the student
approaches learning and will give a summary of my findings.
General Information
Josh is a nineteen year and seven month old, Caucasian student with Asperger's syndrome
who is going to school at the College of Southern Idaho (CSI). Prior to attending CSI Josh was
going to school in Kimberly where his family raises farm animals such as pigs. He has an older
brother who is 21 and a younger sister who is 16, and they all live at home with both his mom
and dad. Josh's routine consists of waking up around 6:30 a.m. to get ready for school. At around
7:30 a.m., he heads to Twin Falls to start classes. After classes, he usually long-boards for awhile
until he gets bored or has to work. Occasionally after class he will head straight home to do some
homework or play video games before going to work. After work, he usually watches television
before going to bed at around midnight. Once asleep, he remains asleep until his alarm goes off.
Physical Development
Josh looks exactly like his peers and has matured appropriately. He is very tall, around
six feet tall, but he insists he is six foot three inches. He also has larger feet at a size thirteen,
although he fits into a size eleven and a half climbing shoe which are made to run small. He
would like to be bigger than he actually is. Josh has short sandy hair, hazel eyes and skin that
only gets dark with the help of the sun. He has some smaller scars on his knuckles, arms, and
knees. He also has a dent on his forehead from falling on a rock when he was five. Josh has 20-

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20 vision in his right eye but 20-100 vision in his left which he calls his lazy eye. He writes and
throws balls with his right hand.
Josh is very fit and gets plenty of exercise. He has a healthy body image. At his job, he
has to lift heavy boxes of groceries and restock shelves, so he lifts things above his head on a
daily basis. Additionally, he played baseball and competed in track during his time in high
school. Since then, he has replaced those activities with long-boarding which provides a good
workout for his core and legs. His gross motor and fine motor skills are fully developed although
he thinks his handwriting and hand-eye coordination need some improvement.
Cognitive development
Josh is currently attending the College of Southern Idaho (CSI) to become a teacher. He
is in all education classes this semester. Josh has always had a harder time learning the material
taught in the classroom, but he has never had to do an easier assignment because of his disability.
He doesn't view his disability as a disability; instead he views it as a challenge to himself more
than others. As a result to Asperger's, however, he has to try harder to focus than his classmates
do. He was diagnosed with this syndrome in the third grade and after that, school was more
challenging. However, some things, such as math and science come more naturally to him.
Currently he is in the formal operational stage of Piaget's developmental theory and says math
and science are easy for him because he thinks in the scientific method and uses logic to figure
things out. He also wanted me to mention that he is a natural when it comes to video games.
After fourth grade, Josh's grades started to move from A's to C's. Therefore, he was put on an
Individualized Education Plan (IEP) shortly after his diagnosis and that helped him with his
grades.

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Josh's IEP consisted of him receiving extra accommodations such as having the lecture
notes printed off so he wouldn't have to copy them. He also received help from a paraeducator to
keep him on task. Josh would participate in all the activities the other kids would and worked
well with groups as long as he had good relationships with the students in them. Overall, Josh
loves to get involved with group discussions and usually has a story pertinent to the material
being taught. In high school, Josh only had to leave the classroom if he needed to take a test;
otherwise he was fully included in general education classes.
Socio-emotional Development
Josh did not get along with his peers for a long time and continues to struggle with it to
this day. He has always been very outgoing but does not understand social cues very well which
make it hard for him to connect with his peers or his elders. When he was young, adults had a
low-tolerance level with him and told him to play with the other kids, but he didn't fit in with the
other kids either. In fact, he was bullied from third grade to his senior year. He wasn't bullied as
much after his growth spurt in eighth grade and things improved even more after he joined the
baseball team. Baseball forced him to socialize with his peers which allowed him to break out of
his shell. He became less socially awkward and even made some friends. He was still naive and
was taken advantage of a lot though. Often, people would use him because he had a car and they
didn't.
Josh views himself as annoying. He feels like he hasn't been socialized properly and has
always been annoying. He is disappointed with how he has turned out. He thinks he is very
awkward and looks back at his childhood and hates how he acted. He struggles with realizing
that the past is the past and that he has the chance to change how he views himself. In addition,
he takes situations like not texting back closer to heart than most individuals. He feels as if he

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hasn't had any true friends until college. Josh is now learning how to make and sustain
relationships.
Summary of Major Findings
My summary of major findings shows that Josh has a few social dissimilarities but is
otherwise a physically and mentally healthy individual. Although school can be a challenge he is
able to find ways to help him learn the materials. Josh has recently been able to establish a clique
within his education classes and is making more fulfilling connections with his peers. He is able
to use dualistic thinking to help him determine on his own right behaviors from wrong
behaviors. Since going to college, he has been able to have some freedom from his assistant
teachers and has had to adapt his learning to include executive functioning to help him achieve
his academic goals. Josh struggles with his epistemic cognition even though he is all smiles
whenever others are around him. He didn't have proper identity diffusion growing up which has
made it harder for him to socialize with his peers. Josh is in the identity vs. role confusion stage
of Erikson's psychosocial development theory. As a result, he is having a hard time determining
who he is and where he fits in this world. I believe that by the end of this year, he will have
developed more socially than any other year in his life because his classes place a major
emphasis on being social. In the short time I have known Josh, I can see that his identity is
becoming more individualized and he is no longer mirroring his classmates' behaviors. I believe
by the end of the year, I will be able to see who the real Josh is.
Josh has come a long way since grade school. He used to think that asking out every girl
in the sixth grade was a good idea; in fact, he was bribed to do this, but he now knows that that
was a mistake. He has learned from his mistakes and is a better person because of those
mistakes; he just doesn't see it yet. He believes that those awkward stages are reinforcing the

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fact that he is an awkward child. Instead, he should view himself as a life-long learner who
makes mistakes from time to time. Josh has a hard time letting go of the past, but I think that he
can learn to look at those mistakes as trial and error. Since he sees everything scientifically,
maybe he will understand that not every trial works, but they are all recorded, so we can learn
from the mistakes and improve the results in the future.

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References

Berk, L. E. (2016). Infants, children, and adolescents: Books a la carte edition. Place of
publication not identified: Prentice Hall.