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Student Profiles:

Meeting the Individual Needs of

Students in Special Programs
Rachel Gens, Rebecca Sonnek, Janet Williamson, & Charise Powell
Student Overview
Student Age Gender Race Native Grade Special Services
Language Population

1: G. L. 9 M White English 4th Special Speech,

Education Occupational
Therapy, Reading &
Math Intervention

2: SM 18 F White English 12th - DCD - SpEd Academics, life

Transition skills, social skills

3. KK 18 F white English 12th- DCD-SpED Work Experience


4: JAC 9 M Latinx Spanish 4th EL EL - Level 1

Student 1: Background
Student Age Gender Race Native Grade Special Services
Language Population

1: G. L. 9 M White English 4th Special Speech,

Education Occupational
Therapy, Reading &
Math Intervention

G.L. lives with his mother, father, and two younger brothers. In 2016, he was referred for occupational therapy due to
parental concerns with his neurosensory processing and how it might be affecting his behavior and attending skills.
Assessment revealed that G.L.’s motor planning skills, particularly his visual motor skills are delayed, and that he suffers
from sensory defensiveness. G.L. also showed retention of several primitive reflexes, which can interfere with typical
development of behavior, learning, motor skills, visual skills, and attention. G.L. is reading below grade level and struggles
to acquire math skills typical for his age. He also struggles with the articulation of certain sounds in spoken language. He
was referred for a special education evaluation by his 3rd grade classroom teacher. His parents supported evaluation for
speech, but declined to have an evaluation completed for other special education services. He currently has an IEP and is
working on articulation goals during the school year. During the summer, he attends occupational therapy and works with
a private tutor in reading and math.
Student 1: Strengths and Challenges
Strengths Challenges

G.L. is extremely kind, thoughtful, and G.L. experiences a tremendous amount of anxiety
compassionate towards other children and adults. when learning something new. He lacks self-
He is a hard worker and shows perseverance when confidence and occasionally shows low self-
faced with challenging tasks. He enjoys social esteem. He is underachieving in both reading and
activities and has strong interpersonal skills. math. In reading, he struggles with fluency and
comprehension. In math, he struggles with
number sense and problem-solving.
Student 1: Child’s Day
Service Activities

Occupational G.L. worked on a perler bead project designed to support development of visual
Therapy discrimination and fine motor skills. He then completed an obstacle course addressing
gross motor planning and muscle coordination. The session concluded with handwriting
practice to work on fine motor skills.

Math G.L. worked on an activity in which he was asked to match visual representations of
Intervention fractions to corresponding cards featuring a numerator and denominator. The teacher
then provided instruction in solving multi-step problems and problems related to elapsed
time. The lesson concluded with skip-counting practice.

Reading G.L. participated in a guided reading lesson. The lesson focused on informational text
Intervention reading strategies, including previewing headings and other nonfiction text features,
generating gist statements and section summaries, and connecting new learning to
personal experiences.
Student 1: Teacher Interactions
All lessons were fast-paced, and the instructors changed activities frequently enough to hold G.L.’s
attention and keep him engaged.

Math and reading instruction featured a balance between modeling, guided, and independent practice.

During occupational therapy, the instructor provided an extensive amount of coaching and
encouragement. Prompts were designed to reinforce procedural and conditional knowledge as well
as build self-efficacy. G.L. responded to this well as it raised his self-confidence.

Since instruction was personalized and provided in a 1:1 environment, the teachers were able to be
responsive to G.L.’s individual strengths, needs, and learning style.
Student 2: SM

Age Race Grade Native Language Disability Services

18 White 12th - English DCD-mild Life skills, academic,

2017 grad speech, social skills,
work experience

SM is an 18-year-old female who graduated in May and will attend the transition program in the fall. She
was adopted from Russia when she was 9 months old, moved to Germany for a short time with her
adoptive parents, and then arrived in the United States. Originally the family resided in Michigan but
moved to Minnesota after 2 years and stayed within the same community for the last 10 years. Although
there is a history of other languages, it appears she has only spoken English. For most of her life, SM lived
with her adoptive parents; however they separated in 2014 and she has lived between them for the last 3
years. Throughout her life, SM has received counseling for ADHD and PTSD (individual and family).
- Strengths:
- Friendly
- Volunteers to assist
- Engages in academics
- Participates in outside activities
- Follows directions
- Challenges
- Very distractible
- Frequent stories
- Unaware of social boundaries/safety
- Appears “normal” when observing verbal exchanges
- Weaker receptive skills and difficulty processing new information
- History of Reactive Attachment Disorder
- Easily shares with unfamiliar people; relationships with friends/family easily broken/weak
SM’s Day
- Arrives early, greets the teacher and then pulls out her phone
- When others arrives, talks with them - puts her phone away
- Answers questions and engages in conversations that start instructional period
- During instruction, readily volunteers and participates in activities
- Observed to talk nonstop, mostly tells her stories but does expect responses from peers
- Unsure if she would listen to another’s story/experience
- ESY activities include baking and field trips to various locations
During the School Year:
- 70 min/day of life skills/academics
- 20 min 2x/week speech/language
- 70 min/day work experience
- Took general education classes (modified curriculum) in US history, Total Fitness/Team
Sports, Digital Photography, Health, Ceramics
- Had ESP support when in the general education setting
Student 3:
Student Age Gender Race Native Grade Special Services
Language Population

KK 18 Female White English 12th DCD Life skills, Work


KK lives with her mother. KK was born with lacked oxygen at birth. KK has apraxia,
and DCD. She received special education birth to current time. She is in 18-21
program which is transition program for young adults with disabilities. KK goal is
to gain work experience and be a productive citizen. Parents are supportive and
want KK to be able to functionally read instructions, have job skills, and socially
able to express her understanding and needs.

Strengths: Happy person, enjoys talking with others, and is a hard worker

Challenges: Her verbal communication is difficult at times, and staying on task. At

times accepting redirection mostly at towards the end of her time there
Child’s Day:
Arrives to work by parent
Fills out a timesheet for check in
Get directions from kitchen helper (job coach arrives)
Begins her first task with a cue card picture of task
When finished with a task she’d check off on the sheet and went to the next on her sheet
She did this until her cue card sheet was completed
After 2 hour work she finished filling out time sheet and called parent to come get her
Teacher Engagement:
Job coach directed with prompts on reminding what she needed to do the tasks
and assisted with redirection as needed to stay on task and complete the task completely
Student 4:
Age Race Grade Language Services

9 Latinx 4th Spanish EL-Level 1

Family: Lives with mom, dad, sister, relatives (unknown). Dad has lived in the country for a few years; he
has strong English skills. Mom, student, and older sister just moved to MN from Mexico in the middle of

Academics: JAC has basic math skills (addition, subtraction, and multiplication). MAP assessment: Both
1%ile. Very enthusiastic about learning and absorbing a lot of information from being in the classroom full
day (was being pulled out, I fought against this and JAC was then pushed back into the classroom). JAC
loves to write narratives (in Spanish).
Strengths Challenges

● Fit right into the environment within a ● Level 1 - Low English language skills
day or 2 (4 competencies)
● Very positive throughout the day ● Challenges with students whose
● Has certain friends that he gravitates racial identity differs
towards ● Speaking whole group
● Loves sports ● Full day; drained after about 6 hours
● Helpful, even if he struggles full
meaning and understanding
● Willing to try new things (all day!)
● Supportive and familiar environment
Child’s Day:

Arrives first and sits quietly; waiting for JC to arrive

Immediately becomes social when his ‘support’ gets to class

Breakfast - doesn’t eat much (culture?)

Morning meeting (loves games, answers with 2-3 words in Spanish)

Math (see below)

Reading: Books in spanish or bilingual books on computer program. Works with partner on letters and letter sounds.

Lunch: doesn’t eat much (culture?)

Recess: Soccer or racing

Reading: Works in workbook for part of time and listens to content for other part (peers translate-JAC contributes 1

Global Studies: listens and looks at content - joins small group for activity (not on task)

Writing: works on personal narrative in journal with a partner