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Monday, April 25, 2011

On Being a Special Education Teacher: A Personal Assessment


A PERSONAL ASSESSMENT

NAME OF CHILD     :       ***

BIRTHDAY             :       ***

HOME ADDRESS     :       ***

ASSESSED BY        :       Annabelle Villanueva



BACKGROUND HISTORY AND PHYSICAL EXAMINATION
          
           *** is the youngest among four children. His father is a company supervisor abroad. His mother and three siblings are already with his father. His parents were the first to go there, followed by his three siblings just last year. His papers were not approved by the embassy because of the declaration there that he is a special child. It was then put into writing that he would be under the care and supervision of his grandmother.

           Upon birth, *** looked perfectly normal. He was a very cute baby (he has mestizo features just like his two sisters and one brother). Slowly, his grandmother noticed some differences which were then compared his siblings when they were still babies. At four months, they had MRI performed on him and the doctor’s assessment then was that he had cerebral palsy.

            As he was growing up, the progresses he made in the developmental milestones were far different—much slower—than his three siblings. Since then, up to the present, he has not yet developed his speech, has not responded yet to his own name when called, has not harnessed his grip due to weak hand muscles, has not run unguided though he has learned walking by himself, has not developed strong muscular power like most children his age, and has not socialized/played regularly with other children (due to weak motor skills).

INITIAL ASSESSMENT

             When I first met ***, I observed that his weak motor skills were the first noticeable.  Hence, after that, I checked what items were applicable to him in a motor skills checklist downloaded from the internet (attached herewith). We noted that his motor skills are in the range  of a 1- 2 year old kid, far from his age. Some expected motor skills at age 1 and most of those at age 2 are not yet achieved at present.

               Since then, every meeting, I further observed he would not look at me when called; though he has fleeting eye contact and he would turn to the direction (and look at his laughing classmate, then he would laugh too), he could not talk yet, though one-syllable words, “ma-ma, da-da” were heard once, his actions are slow due to weak reflexes, his hands could not hold the toys well,  and could not lift a chair yet (during “pack-away chairs” time), but he would hold our hands when “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat” is sang to him, with “rowing”  actions with him, he would laugh when tickled, and he had no close interaction with his classmates.

              He could sit still on his chair for long periods of time, but would occasionally stand up.

              During snack time, he would pick his crackers with “softness”  in his fingers. He could sip from a straw, but his drinks had to be put on his hands, and his hands guided.  He loved to wash his hands, with assistance in the opening and closing of the faucet, and the getting of soap. He could not yet wipe his face alone.

              One time, a classmate grabbed his milk drink while he was sipping it. He had no reaction whatsoever, he just looked at that classmate for a moment, then stared blankly at the ceiling ( he would do this staring at the ceiling a few times during class sessions).

              He could walk unaided, but could not do brisk walking and running by himself. He could not go up and down the stairs by himself yet.
     
              During home visit, he was watching some lively children’s music videos which he loved to watch often. I noticed that he tried to imitate what the video’s characters were doing, for example, in the portion of the song “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush,” ….”this is the way we wash our face…, he made a “washing” motion  with his hands to his face. He was laughing and smiling as he as watching, standing up in front of the TV.  At eating time, he was given a spoon, and he held it with an awkward grip. He could not yet eat by himself,  could not yet go to the bathroom by himself, could not yet change his clothes alone.

              The Developmental Problems checklist I downloaded from the internet would be presented in the next home visit.

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

               My initial assessment showed that ***, aged 5 years, has the mental age of a 1-2 year old. His gross motor and fine motor skills are very delayed due to weak muscles; he could not grasp properly; his grip is weak; hence, toys cannot be held in the proper manner (though he likes to play, as shown in his laughter when played with), he has no speech yet, no interaction/social relationship with other children, no cognitive as well as emotional development yet, and no self-help skills yet. From my research and from close observation, I noticed developmental delay, speech and language delay, no hearing loss (but hearing problems were not ruled out), no head-banging/hand-clapping/repetitive motions, and he has motor delay. I did not refer to the Autism Rating Scale because he has fleeting eye contacts.

              In conclusion, *** has global developmental delay and severe language delay. In another guide from the internet, the Diagnostic Tests for Developmental Problems are made:

  1. General appearance and observation
-      *** has no abnormality of shape in features of face and body
-      He is not alert; he seems weak; he has no major interaction with us
-      He is not obese
     
  1. Physical Examination
-      When looked at physically, ***’ looks are normal

The following have been recommended:
              -   Check-up by a developmental pediatrician
-   Neurological examinations
-      Visual acuity
-      Assessment of vision and hearing
-      Speech pathology assessment
-      Blood tests
-      Liver function tests
-      Thyroid function tests
-      Urine tests

* His progress would be monitored during class days and home visits. Assessment tools and keen observation would be used/done every step of the way. -- ARV

            



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