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Individual Differences Profile Essay
Firth, Anny
Instructor: Dr. Egbert
Education 205: Developmental Differences

Individual Differences Profile Essay
Every student possesses a unique personality and learning style. From the way they dress,
to the way they challenge their self to go the extra mile, every child will vary. As teachers set
their curriculum, they must take into consideration the learning styles, personality, and behavior
of each individual student. Teachers must equip themselves with the proper tools to help each
individual achieve his or her personal best. In this profile, I will address the physical, cognitive,
and social development of a student with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. I will provide a
summary of the complications such disabilities have on a students learning and development.
General Information
Ty is nine years and three months of age. He is a white male of average height. Tys
family consists of a biological mother, father, older brother, and younger sister. Both parents take
an equal role in the students life. Tys mother is employed as a nurse, working a twelve hours a
day schedule. Tys father owns his own business as well as assists in coaching both boys in
wrestling. Ty follows a rigorous schedule for a student of his age. Ty travels approximately
thirty miles to school each day. Ty is picked up from school, then travels, twice a week to Boise,
Idaho (240 miles) for wrestling training. Ty also trains locally the other two days, traveling to
tournaments on Friday afternoons. Ty does the majority of his homework while traveling with
the help of his older sibling. At times, Ty is able to complete his homework at home with the aid
of his mother. The majority of the time, homework is completed over the weekend in twenty
minute increments. The student has his own bedroom as well as personal work space. Ty is well-
developed and maintains a healthy lifestyle.

Physical Development
The students physical characteristics are; dark blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skinned.
Ty has no distinguishing features. Tys physical development is above average when compared
to his peers. This is partially because of his wrestling training. Tys large motor skills are
developed by his trainers to be able to perform certain moves. The students rigorous training has
allowed him to develop skills similar to a child two to three years older. Ty, as well as his family,
maintain a healthy eating style as well. Thus, his body fat as well as other weight related issues
are controlled. Ty is also more physically fit compared to other students of his age.
Tys small motor skills are average in comparison with other students of his age. Ty can
control small objects with ease. The students penmanship exceeds the other males in his class.
While participating in art and crafts, the student is able to place small objects where needed and
maintains good scissor control. Ty is able to move figures with ease when using them to count.
The student is also able to control framing materials when creating a focus area. Tys overall
physical development exceeds the average student of his age.
Cognitive Development
Ty is a mainstream student. He has been in a formal school setting from the age of three
to current. Until first grade, Ty participated only in a mainstream classroom. In 2011, the student
began receiving extended education outside the classroom. Ty is pulled from class for
approximately one hour a day to receive specialized reading and phonics services. Ty is
extremely intelligent in his ability to remember facts. The student shows tremendous interest in
facts regarding Germany, as well as many different animals. Ty excels in cursive handwriting
and will often be more likely to complete his work if the use of cursive is encouraged. By
allowing Ty to complete his work in cursive, he is able to correctly decode the phonics in many
words. Ty is unable to read work if there is not blank, white space in between the separate
questions. Ty must also have assignments enlarged; this is not because of a sight issue but rather
to his dyslexia.
The students ability to maintain focus and stay on task varies throughout the day. When
Ty is properly medicated, he is able to complete work and actively participate in classroom
discussions. However, when the dosage of medication needs adjusted or medication has lapsed,
the student is unable to maintain any focus. Ty displays many negative behaviors, such as
breaking pencils, chewing his clothing and is unable to sit still when his medication is wearing
off. Ty has learned how to control many of his behaviors over the past year. In previous years,
the student would hide under his desk, as well act out in other various ways.
Ty shows behaviors from both Piagets Concrete and Formal Operational learning
stages (Parsons, 2008). Ty is able to distinguish reality from fantasy both verbally and in his
writing. When asked to write a fiction story about sharks, Ty will write about the one shark
speaking to another and playing hide and seek. When asked to write a non-fiction story about the
same animal, Ty will describe the sharks hunting and communication behaviors with facts. Ty
also demonstrates skills of reversibility. The student is able to take a base ten stack and separate
it into singles, then reverse them back into a base ten stack. Student is unable to perform
seriation activities, such as least to greatest data, from a line plot, or distinguishing volume
differences, therefore, making him unable to complete all the aspects from the Concrete
Operational stage.
The behaviors that the student displays from the Formal Operational stage are
hypothetical, analogical, and deductive reasoning. Ty shows high intelligence in analogical
reasoning. Ty is able to explain verbally all aspects of several analogies. Ty is also able to teach
such aspects to other students. When student is asked what if there were no sharks in the
ocean?, he is able to use hypothetical reasoning to explain the consequences it would have on
the ocean food chain as well as the fishing industry. While Ty excels in several areas of his
cognitive development, he also shows delays in areas.
Socio-emotional Development
Ty maintains healthy relationships with his family members as well as the adults in his
life. However, Ty struggles to make friends with other students his age. During recess Ty enjoys
finding unusual rocks or engages in imaginary play with one other student. Ty demonstrates a
low self-esteem. During class time, if Ty is unable to comprehend the material he will often try
to make other students laugh to deter them from knowing he is struggling. The student also
shows signs of embarrassment when needing to leave class for reading and phonics help, and
will often sneak back into class leaving all of his materials from the other class in his backpack.
Ty enjoys sharing his knowledge with others, both students and adults. Each day Ty will
come to class excited to share a new animal fact he had learned the previous night. By sharing
such facts and receiving interest from his teacher and classmates, he is able to enhance the social
and academic aspect of his self-concept. Tys perception of what his teachers think of him is a
large part of his self-concept.
According to Eriksons theory of psychosocial development Ty is in stage four,
industry verse inferiority (Parsons, 2008). Ty is not content in trying something; rather he
needs to be able to succeed in quest to gain acceptance from friends, but more so, the adults in
his life. He displays this by becoming frustrated when he is unable to comprehend the subject
being taught. Again, then he engages in negative behaviors to gain acceptance by making others
laugh. While still in his age appropriate stage, Ty is mildly delayed in some aspects of his
social-emotional development, compared to his peers.
Summary, Conclusions and Implication
In summary Ty is an intelligent student with an incredible thirst for knowledge. Ty
displays many characteristics from his age appropriate stages, however, also exceeds in some
areas as well as is delayed in others. Ty is physically active and maintains a healthy lifestyle. Ty
needs to maintain a medication schedule to be able to achieve academic success. Ty also needs to
continue with his extended learning in reading and language. Overall, Ty demonstrates
behaviors consistent with students of his age group.
Tys strengths are his cursive handwriting as well as his ability to memorize facts. Tys
drive to succeed stems from his need to gain acknowledgment from the adults in his life. Ty
responds best to positive reinforcement. Ty is motivated to work harder if one expresses
approval of his work or behaviors. Tys weaknesses are in his reading skills (due to his dyslexia)
and his inability to focus (due to ADHD) when medication is wearing off. I believe that Tys
strengths need to be acknowledged and his weaknesses must be constantly addressed in order for
him to reach his full potential.
The learning strategies that would be most beneficial to Ty include but are not limited to,
scaffolding, cueing and positive reinforcement. By giving Ty clues or prompts, he is able to
complete the majority of his class work. Ty responds well to receiving rewards for good
behaviors, such as five minutes of online learning for completing a section of his class work. Ty
also benefits from breaking down math into steps. Due to Tys disability, he is able to complete
more work if it is broke down into smaller increments with downtime in between. Ty naturally
wants to please the adults in his life, therefore when he receives encouragement from them he
Ty also responds well to class management that includes a daily schedule in which
smoothness is incorporated. Enabling Ty to transfer from one activity to another without chaos
keeps him from becoming overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. In connection with Bruners
theory, and iconic learning, Ty is able to retain and comprehend material at a higher level, if he
is able to relate it to something in his life (Parsons, 2008). Ty excels in being able to apply
common core standards to daily situations. However, he is struggling with the writing required in
many common core standards. Frequent assessments are needed to form a teaching strategy that
is most beneficial to this student.
As teachers access individual students it becomes ever more apparent that no two
children are alike. Teachers must continuously assess their teaching styles and the learning styles
and needs of each of the students. With several disabilities, and levels of severity, it is essential
that teachers collaborate with administrators and families to provide the best tools for a student
to reach his or her full potential.


Parsons, H. S.-B. (2008). Educational Psychology. In s. L.-B. Richard Pasons, Educational Psychology (pp.
46-48). Madon, Oh: Thomas Wadsworth.