Cognitive Case Study "Robyn"

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Cognitive Case Study "Robyn" by Mind Map: Cognitive Case Study "Robyn"

1. Student Perspective (Brooke)

1.1. As a 7-year old girl, I have spent most of life secluded away from regular school as a result of my disability. I attended a day program before I became sick and had to have services come to my home. It is awfully lonely, not having kids your age to play with. Once I felt better, my parents enrolled me into regular school, but I only got to be there for three weeks till I got moved to a different classroom. No one explained why I was moved to a special classroom, away from peers. However, In grade 4, I was brought back to my regular class, alongside my peers. I was ecstatic to be apart of the classroom community because I enjoy learning alongside my peers and hearing them read stories to me. I am in grade 6 now, and although I still cannot read like my peers, I still love listening to them and my teacher read to me. I have even been enjoying art and computers. Sometimes I get frustrated because I can get bored with the activities which often makes me act out. I know it makes my teacher upset, but I cannot seem to help it. When this happens, my peers stare at me and I feel even more frustrated, I tell them “Robyn angry!” but they do not seem to understand. I used to have two close friends in the class that would work with me. But then one day, they just stopped being my friends and did not want to help me anymore. I do not understand what changed? Or what I did? Now, even more than ever, I feel alone at school. My teacher doesn’t know how to help me, and only looks at my tantrums as problems and not as an impulse that I am unable to manage yet. I feel like there is not a place for me at school and in my classroom amongst my peers. I do not like to try anymore because I know I will fail, and now school is just boring.

1.2. In my opinion, there is nothing obvious about what strategies or approaches that my teachers should use. I do feel like I am often being left out of the decision-making process because my teacher and my parents are the ones deciding for me without my input. If they would ask me, I would suggest that I would like an opportunity for more breaks so that I do not get bored so quickly. I would also like more activities because I feel like my attention span is not very long, so having more activities would help me feel a connection to the classroom because I will not get so mad when I am bored. I would also suggest that maybe my teacher could get help sometimes. I know the classroom can be very demanding, so having someone that could help me one-on-one may help relieve her stress.

2. Teacher Perspective (Jesse)

2.1. I have exhausted my options in regards to Robyn’s situation. Robyn is severely developmentally disabled. Her language abilities are very low, she is unable to read, and cannot participate in the curriculum in a meaningful way. Robyn has been unsuccessful working independently since grade 4 and as a result here she is in grade 6 functioning at the preoperational stage so far behind that catching her up seems like a pipe dream. Upon research in the ministry of education I had thought that the implementation of a social constructivist approach to guide Robyn’s learning would make her feel a sense of belonging and fast track her learning and progress. This proved to be productive in the beginning. Robyn enjoys collaborative work and thrives when she is a part of a group or paired with other students for seat work or other individualized tasks. Unfortunately grade 6 is a transitional age full of change and two classmates that had previously taken Robyn under their wing have lost interest in Robyn as they have just discovered boys. I am not so sure the universal design for learning is accommodating her needs. Her misbehaviours and and tantrums are becoming more intense and are distracting the rest of the class from their learning. I am not sure what my next steps I should take. Robyn has been abandoned by her peers, does not have an assistant (and will note have one), and her skills are only regressing. I was optimistic that the IPRC review would add some clarity to Robyn’s situation but first a new IEP must be prepared for Robyn within the resources currently available.

2.2. I have already implemented differentiated instruction by making accommodations through a parallel program. When I had realized that accommodations were not effectively meeting Robyn’s needs modifications were put forward. I have also implemented a social constructivist approach but unfortunately the two student that had previously been assigned to Robyn are no longer cooperating. The universal design for learning along with the “parallel curriculum” is Robyn’s current recipe for success. My current plan of action is to follow the instruction of the committee to prepare Robyn’s new IEP. As the teacher of a full class I can only designate so much time towards catering to her needs. I believe it is imperative that Robyn would excel with the support of an assistant. Until this is possible I will continue to make modifications for Robyn’s learning. I just wish more action had been taken earlier for her.

3. Parent Perspective (Michael)

3.1. I am completely at a loss as what to do with Robyn. This issue is constantly on my mind, both day and night, yet I feel so helpless. I am trying my best to work as closely with her teacher and principal to devise a solution but I think we are all at a loss. I wish the school-board didn’t revert to the inclusive model. Although it initially helped Robyn feel included, it hasn’t been helping her thrive academically. Even now as her peers are getting older, they’re realizing just how different she is and avoid her to “fit in”. As much as I’d like to normalize Robyn and her learning, I know deep down that that just isn’t possible at this point. I sometimes try to research what to do online and it leaves me feeling even more hopeless. Despite her teacher’s best efforts, I can’t help but feel she isn’t given enough attention. I am regularly contacting the teacher and school to check-in on Robyn and I’m probably a burden to them at this point. This makes me feel like withdrawing from the situation sometimes. I hold contempt for the education system and wish there was a clear, effective solution for my daughter. The parents of Robyn’s classmates probably wish she withdraws from the class. Although none of this is my fault, I can’t help but feel guilty that my daughter’s difficulties is probably hindering the learning experience for other students. I also feel guilty that Robyn’s school experience has become subpar at best. If there is no solution to her overall dilemma, I feel maybe it’s best we do everything we can to make her happy, regardless if she thrives academically or not. I am praying the teacher’s proposition of getting Robyn a new IEP and implementing a parallel program is effective! After she is assigned a new IEP I will closely monitor Robyn’s progress or lack-there-of. If there are no noticeable signs of improvement, this may cause me to look into alternate forms of education for Robyn, perhaps with an institution that is more accommodating. I know I cannot have her homeschooled as I work and Robyn would be craving the little interaction she has with her peers. I will do my best to support Robyn after school. Reading with her and teaching her to be patient with tasks could translate well to the classroom. I hope to talk to her about her feelings about school and see what strategies we can work together on to help her self-regulate better. I plan to stay committed and become involved in Robyn’s learning any way I can. Perhaps the teacher has some suggestions as to how I can support Robyn. Open communication with the school community is a must.

4. Interpretation, Connection to the TextDeconstruct the issue/problem in the case Robyn, in grade 6, is identified as being developmentally disabled because she has “limited potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment, and economic self-support” (Ministry of Education, 2017, pg. A16). The evidence in the case supports Robyn’s identification because she ‘exhibits’ many characteristics of managing adaptive behaviours as well as showing no improvements in academic learning. According to Piaget, Robyn’s classmates would be in the concrete-operations stage, which is focused on assigning concrete tasks whereas Robyn is situated more in the preoperational stage affecting her ability to progress at the grade 6 level. The school has implemented a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) by designating it as “fully inclusive”, which allowed Robyn to fully attend regular school whereas before she spent the majority of her learning in a special day program. Though her placement in the same class as her peers is an example of UDL, the teacher approaches Robyn’s situation with a focus on differentiated instruction by first making accommodations through a parallel program. When accommodations were deemed ineffective, modifications were implemented. Some success was had when modifying lessons because Robyn was able to find interest and engagement at the art table. However, heavy monitoring is required because once Robyn becomes disengaged, she employs misbehaviours and tantrums. The teacher has implemented a Social Constructivist approach to guide Robyn’s learning. This framework emphasizes that a student’s teacher and peers can contribute to their learning. As a result, Robyn’s teacher assigned two female classmates to assist her in her day-to-day development. However, the students became less interested in assisting Robyn, leaving Robyn isolated and unengaged. This caused her to regress from the zone of proximal development to a state of not being able to effectively complete a task. In accordance to the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model, as of right now Robin is at the “Read Aloud” stage as she enjoys being read to and is able to listen, observe, and think. The next step would be to take her to the shared practice stage where she would form questions, respond, interact, and collaborate.

5. Summary of the issue/problem Robyn attended a special program for development when she became ill from a respiratory problem forcing her to remain at home with visits from special services worker. By age eight, Robyn attended regular school for just three-weeks before she was transferred to a special resource class full-time until grade four. The regular school has switched to a fully inclusive model, allowing Robyn to integrate back where she has been with the same classmates for two years. Robyn is seriously developmentally disabled. Her language abilities are below the norm, she is not able to read, and unable to participate in the curriculum in a meaningful way. This being said, she enjoys being read to as well as collaborative work. Despite differentiating her instruction through a “parallel curriculum” she has been unsuccessful working independently since grade 4. Being included in other classmate’s work has proven to be the only way she stays engaged. She seems to prefer artistic assignments and easily gives up when faced with anything she deems as uninteresting and must be immediately diverted in order to avoid a temper tantrum. In an attempt to manage Robyn’s behaviour, given that there is no additional classroom support, Robyn’s teacher assigned two of Robyn’s classmates to take her under their wing to provide Robyn with a support network. As of recently (February, grade 6) the two girls have lost interest in interacting and aiding her. Robyn’s situation has only worsened and her plan must be re-evaluated. An IPRC review has been called for, but the committee has requested that the school create a new IEP for Robyn before further action can be taken.