SOME CASE STUDIES

  1. Simon aged 3. Simon appears to have developed normally except for the fact that he has not learnt to talk. Simon has met with a speech therapist who was not sure whether Simon’s difficulties were due to learning needs or to more complex language difficulties. The speech therapist suggested that Simon see an educational psychologist in order to assess his learning and development needs in more depth.

    An educational psychologist met with Simon and observed him playing with toys. She also carried out a full assessment of his development. It became clear that Simon was in fact of average ability, however he had very specific difficulties in understanding the spoken word. This would require specialist teaching which is extremely effective at this age in helping him to learn to communicate better in the future.

    The educational psychologist reassured the parents that Simon should develop well with the correct support. She was able to suggest other professionals who should be involved in order to work alongside the speech therapist ensuring that Simon’s speech should develop alongside his learning.


  2. Richard aged 7 had always been a happy child at school and at home. Over the past six months however Richard’s parents have noticed that he had started to become more irritable at home and would lose his temper quite quickly. He was beginning to show reluctance to go to school and would complain of tummy aches. Richard’s parents discussed their concerns with Richard’s class teacher and discovered that the class teacher was wondering if he was finding it difficult to cope with class work. He seemed to have a slow approach and was not concentrating well and was becoming naughty in class. He never seemed to finish all his work. Richard’s class teacher wasn’t sure if this was due to lack of ability or some other problems and felt that this needed looking at in a little more detail. The schools special educational needs co-ordinator had been consulted and school were developing some strategies to meet his needs. These did not seem to be working however.

    Richard's parents were concerned to know if there were any underlying difficulties and any other ways by which Richard might be helped in school. They contacted an educational psychologist who was able to meet with Richard, assess his educational needs and talk to him about school. The psychologist also discussed his progress with his teachers and parents. It became clear that Richard had a specific learning difficulty. His inability to concentrate was due to short-term memory difficulties and he also had problems co-ordinating his hands, which led to slow handwriting. Richard’s frustration affected his behaviour. It was thought generally however that he was of average if not above average potential.

    Together the parents, Richard, the teachers and the psychologist worked out a strategy that would help Richard concentrate and write more easily. Understanding the nature of his needs also gave Richard the confidence to know that he could cope better given the right sort of help and that he too could develop his own strategies. He became less tense and stressed about school, happier at home and began to make good progress.

  3. Mr and Mrs Thomas have a daughter Clarissa aged 5. Clarissa’s behaviour has become increasingly difficult at home and she has difficulty sleeping. She does not like being away from her mother. Mrs Thomas has been in hospital for major surgery this year. Mr and Mrs Thomas wondered how best to manage Clarissa 's behaviour at home which was becoming a great pressure to all concerned. The parents met with the educational psychologist for three sessions to share their concerns and to look for some ideas. This was sufficient to help them understand how to support Clarissa with the same strategies and to unravel some of the worries at home that may have been contributing to Clarissa 's behaviour. It was not necessary for the psychologist to meet Clarissa. A follow up session was offered six months later, and the situation continued to be more settled. Clarissa had responded to her parent 's new approaches to her.

  4. Melissa and Tony aged 10 are both due to transfer to high school in a year 's time. Their parents are unsure about their abilities and are wondering which high school would suit them best.

    The educational psychologist provided a full assessment of their ability in literacy, numeracy and intelligence. From her knowledge of the local schools she was able to help the parents formulate views in relation to the school environment which would best extend their potential.

  5. Tania aged 13 was making very little progress at school. She had always previously done well and her teachers had been pleased with her. However for some reason she began to avoid schoolwork and was withdrawing into herself at home. She did not want to talk about school or what she was doing in her social life with her parents. Tania 's parents were at a loss about what to do.

    They contacted an educational psychologist to see if any advice could be given. The educational psychologist discussed Tania 's needs in detail with them and helped them to look at how they could communicate better with Tania at home. Tania agreed to talk to the educational psychologist and they met in private for a couple of sessions. Having gained her confidence the educational psychologist discovered that Tania was being bullied at school. She was frightened to tell school or her parents for fear of what might happen next. This considerable worry had meant that she was unable to concentrate on schoolwork and she had withdrawn into her own shell.

    The educational psychologist was able to reassure Tania that the best approach was in fact to talk to the school about how the bullying might be dealt with. The school were extremely receptive and supportive and were able to put good strategies in place. At the same time Tania 's parents were involved throughout. Tania 's ability to deal with bullying was also addressed. Tania was able to return to the happy well-adjusted young person that she always had been before.