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Individual Differences Student Profile

Field, Laura

Dr. Egbert

EDUC 205: Developmental and Individual Differences


Individual Differences Student Profile

I had the opportunity to meet with John and his family about the difficulty of growing up

with a different ethnic background than the community. John was adopted by his family from

Chicago, Illinois when he was a baby. John is a black gentlemen and has faced many different

trials because of it even though he is exactly like his classmates.

General Information

John is a gentleman who is nineteen years and two months old. John is a black man and

was adopted from Chicago, Illinois, which has a prominent black community. John lives with his

parents and his older brother on the family farm. John helps his father and older brother with

chores on the farm such as feeding the cow, pigs, and chickens.

John’s daily schedule includes working on the farm like previously mentioned and also

working on creating music. He also does odd jobs around to help his family members and other

community members. John enjoys to go play basketball with his friends and he was on the

basketball team in high school. He enjoys the exercise.

Physical Development

John is taller than most people his age and is skinny and lanky. John has dark brown hair

with lighter brown eyes. John has black skin. John has moderate asthma that is kept under

control by his medication and when cases are very bad he has an inhaler. His asthma can leave

his unable to breathe at times and it is very important he has his inhaler at all times. John seems

to be on the same maturation level as his peers. He handles situations the same way that his peers

do. John is right handed and writes and does mostly everything with his right hand.

John is good physical shape from playing basketball and working with the animals on the

farm. The farm allows the family to have fresh meat with less fat. This allows for the family to

have healthy home cooked meals. The nutrition in these meals help him to have good health

including physical health. He has full range of motion in all of his limbs and he has strong

muscles built up from the exercise he has done with basketball. His small muscle development is

just as well as his large muscle development.

Cognitive Development

John graduated high school in May of last year and had good grades in all of his classes.

He kept up with his homework and paid attention in class. John loves to learn new things in

everything he does and has a thirst for knowledge and asks questions when he does not

understand something. John also helped his classmates if they didn’t understand something in

class. He would try to explain it in another way.

John is on task cognitively and continues to work on his memory and brain development.

In the stages of cognitive development according to Piaget as stated by Roberta Berns, John is in

the formal operational stage. This stage is where children beginning to understand abstract ideas.

For example, government is an abstract concept. This stage also includes logical thinking and

being able to “construct all the possibilities of a proposition, those related to fact and the ones

contrary to fact” (Berns, 2013). John is also a very talented individual with his music which is

another example of the stage because music takes some abstract thought.

Socio-emotional Development

John’s interactions with his peers are on the same level as most of his peers. John is a

very social person with many friends from all different walks of life. It was difficult at times to

make friends at times because of his different skin color. John has had to deal with people

looking at him like he was different all of his life. He told me of one incident where he was

walking though Wal-Mart in a different town then he lives in and he was starred at. He said that

it made him feel like an outsider. John is polite and has good manners with the adults in his life.

He is shy around adults sometimes but he gets along with mostly everyone he meets.

John has a good outlook on life and is very religious which helps him to know that he has

a purpose in life. His self-concept and self-esteem are strong because of his outlook and the

belief of his church. In the stages of socio-emotional development by Erikson as stated by Berns,

John is at Intimacy vs. Isolation phase. This phase is after a child has developed an identity and

they are “now able to establish intimacy with themselves and with others, in both friendship and

love” (Berns, 2013). John knows that he is different but he is trying to work past that and form

intimate, loving relationships with his friends. His friends have made this easy and they have

formed close friendships.

Summary, Conclusions, Implications

John has lead a somewhat typical life with development that matches his peers. He has a

great support system with his family and friends. John is very nice when people say something

rude about his different ethnic background and does not lash out against them. John loves

working with animals and his music and does not let his ethnic background hold him back.

John is at a “typical level” of development in each of the previously mentioned domains.

Cognitively, John has done very well in his development since he was able to get good grades in

high school. He continues to challenge himself and one way he is doing that is with creating his

music and pursuing a career in it as well. Another thing that was able to help him with his

cognitive development is learning how to take care of the animals on the farm and all the

knowledge that comes with taking care of animals.

Physically, John is at the same maturation as his peers but he does have asthma which

can be a road block in some of his activities. He has built up good endurance and can keep up

with most people his age. John is very much right handed and his life activities have added to his

physical development. Socially and emotionally, John has developed very well. John is very

social with many friends. John was on the basketball team which has helped him feel like he

belongs. He brushes off the weird looks me may get from other people and trie not to let them

get to him.

John has one medical weakness and that is his asthma so that causes an issue in his

development because it inhibits his breathing at times. John has many educational strengths, such

as being in the top of his class in high school and learning about his music and the animals on the

farm. These all help develop his cognitive development and increases a higher level of thinking.

John worries that someone is going to make fun of him for his different skin color and that

causes anxiety every time he goes to a new place. John also has had to deal with bullies and

close-minded people but he has dealt with these people is a smile on his face and he don’t let

them get to him.

Some specific strategies that should be used to support John’s learning and development

include organizing students in group with something in common, engaging the students in

projects that they actually have an interest in, and also asking students to act out, make a skit, or

a rap about the material. Organizing students in groups with something in common would help

John feel like he belonged when the trial of being different became too hard.


Berns, R.M. (2013). Child, family, school, community: Socialization and support (7th

ed.).Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning, Inc.

Sousa, D.A. (2007). How the special needs brain learns. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press:

Sage Publications Ltd.