Case Study of a child outlining his development in relation to theory

Customer Inserts His/Her Name
Customer Inserts Grade Course
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The paper shed lights on the development of a child and the influence
of schooling on his development in accordance with the theory of
theorists such as Bruner, Piaget, & Vygotsky and also with the policies
& procedures of school and the government. The names and other labels
have been kept fictitious on the account of Data Protection Act (2003)
that calls for confidentiality of information relating to individuals,
“If you handle personal information about individuals, you have a
number of legal obligations to protect that information under the Data
Protection Act 1998.” The target child in this case will be assumed as
Tim, and his school residency will be known as Learner Primary School.
The members of the staff who have contributed for the child`s
development will be labeled with reference to their professional terms.
Tim is a 7 year old boy in Year 3 who is confronted with the condition
of verbal speech disorder coupled with hypotonia, called as speech
apraxia, described in detail later on and congenital radio ulnar
synostosis (CRUS). Tim is the only child of his parents with no other
siblings (brother or sister). He belongs to a well-off family with a
good financial standing. There were also no in-born injuries associated
with Tim`s delivery. He goes to a mainstream school and is part of a
small class that includes total of 19 children with lower aptitude. The
children are grouped in accordance with their assessment and performance
on the literacy and speech. This enable teacher to provided divided
attention so as to make sure none is left out. It is because many
children with speech apraxia are shy and finds it difficult to express
their needs or raise question independently. They need encouragement and
support from teachers. Secondly, such children tends to resist
interaction in a large group, thus, small groups having few members are
beneficial for their social skills. Tim is at the level of 1C, 1C, and
1B in reading, writing, and maths respectively.Since the group includes
most of the children with lower abilities, two general assistants and
one one-on-one teaching assistant beside the class teacher, have been
recruited to meet educational needs individually.
At the end of key stage 1, children are expected to have reached desired
level 2 whereas Tim has not achieved the expected grade and level even
into key stage 2 but there are many children like Tim who lacks the
expected development rate (Dfe, 2012). The city council & Learning
Primary School are supporting Tim in the form of provision of additional
specialized equipments and games that were introduced by Maria
Montessori to encourage such children. These games are free of time
limits that give Tim a confirmation that he is doing it for himself
special children need more time to break down words or tasks into small
pieces and repeat those to fine hone their skills (Fidler, 2004). Tim is
receiving educational support of equipments as well as financial support
from the city council. He is also having therapies by Speech Language
Therapist (SLT) so as to develop at a greater pace of time.
The SLT in collaboration with TA persistently aid the global development
of Tim thereby focusing on his physical progress as well as development
in literacy and numeracy. The progress is frequently discussed and
recorded in the meetings with staff members and Tim`s mother to plan for
upcoming speech sessions. The mother of Tim profoundly supports his
son`s educational needs at the school and tends to generously reveal any
information that can help his son`s development. His mother is an
educated social worker working for a state-owned NGO. She has various
university degrees and so she considers the healthy life, both at school
and home, very important particularly in the case of Tim.
The words and sentences of Tim are not in a consistent pattern. His TA
observed that he has lot to say but somehow he is unable to coordinate
his lips and tongue position to produce a sound of word. He has
difficulty on retrieving the conversations and on picture naming tests
as well. Therefore, Tim has been given a differentiated reading scheme
in which specialized home reading books that gradually increases in
difficulty, aims at boosting his capacity in literacy by focusing on the
aspects such as the understanding and the meaning of written text, the
skill to recognize complicated elements and graphic signs of the
English, and the eloquence of his speech. Furthermore, TA also
incorporates high frequency word phases and graphical cue cards. The
books go home daily with Tim that in turn produces more fruitful results
as child`s subject attachment and support from family members tends to
elevates the growth in the child.
Tim is given a nick name of “cherub boy” due to his low tone and low
truncal strength. This is due to Hypotonia that is characterized as a
state of low muscle tone whereby child has weak muscles and breathes
control problems (Boston Children`s Hospital, 2012). This is also common
among children but Tim seems to be recovering from it at a faster pace
due to earlier intervention by speech professionals and various
Tim has a good receptive ability but lack the expressive ability that is
he know and can understand every letter in the word or a sentence but he
cannot speak up the whole word or a sentence correctly in a right
sequence. According to experts, in such a scenario, brain of the child
works faster than his tongue due to which Tim has to struggle hard to
express his voice and concerns simultaneously. Tim`s TA articulates that
Tim talks better when he is engrossed in other activities of his
interest, when he is not focusing on the speech sequencing. Tim is good
at arts, painting, and block building. Tim has a power of creativity and
imagination which he communicates through his art sculptures. Secondly,
Tim`s cleverness split the longer word or sentence into small fragments
because he is not able to repeat back all the words in the sentence thus
no one can doubt over the intelligence of Tim because his cognitive
(intelligence) ability is unaffected (Australia Dyspraxia Association,
Tim is also interested in the discussions and debates to a large extent
but due to verbal dyspraxia he has difficulty in communication skills
and lacks social skills as well. He tends to do better with one other
child or maybe one more thereby he significantly performs better on
one-to-one basis but social interaction in a school setting is essential
for a child to improve his self-confidence. Fortunately however, the
one-to-one TA works in more of a two-to-one role with Tim and another
child. This benefits Tim greatly as he has formed a fantastic
relationship with him and the other child on his table.
Tim has to struggle with his gross and fine motor movement skills as
well. He has difficulty in performing tasks such as grasping small
objects or writing legibly or turning the pages in a book. This
indicates that Tim is also going through the effects of CRUS which
directly affects the child`s forearm movement and is usually congenital
that it is an inborn disease (Medscape, 2012). Thus, Learning Primary
School asked government to provide funding for buying specialized
equipment for Tim through which he can be comfortable at writing and
reading, for instance, an adapted computer, specialized pencils that can
be grasped easily, equipments that can improve Tim`s grip etc.
Tim dislikes writing manually as it hurts his arms and hands. Therefore,
all handwriting work, requiring extended period of time, is done on an
adapted computer provided by government as a financial assistance for
Tim. Learning Primary School has acquired licenses for various software
programs which help children to sharpen their numeracy skills and
motivates them towards mathematical concepts thereby requiring them to
simply read and spell rather than write it (Dyslexic, n.d.). Such
programs create enthusiasm and attachment among the children through the
combination of exciting computer games and learning process. Due to
introduction of such technology oriented activities, Tim seems to be
improving greatly his reading level increasing from a P9 in 2010, to a
1C in 2011, and his writing level from a P9 in 2010, to again, a 1C in
Tim did not develop his speech pattern in a normal manner due to
development delay. On the contrary, children improve their speech skills
gradually in a typical pattern but Tim forgets them as quickly as he
learns them. The relationship of Tim with his TA is extremely important
as he seems to be a confident child with him. Experts have estimated
that 10% of the population is yearly affected by such condition with
majority constituting of boys (Australia Dyspraxia Association, 2012).
Tim is still using simple sentences in his speech containing very few
words. Furthermore, verbal dyspraxia creates problems in moving mouth
and tongue in the coordinated manner. This explains why Tim is having
difficulty in learning new words in accordance with the therapist and TA
learning models. When he learns how to say a sound of “p” before a
vowel, he cannot say the same sound after the vowel. For instance, he is
able to produce the sound of “p” before vowel like “pa” but
placing the vowel before the sound of “p” like “up” will make
Tim completely lost. He produces it like “uf”. Apart from this, even
if Tim recognizes the sound of a specific letter like “t”, he will
not say it correctly in a word. For instance, instead of saying
“pot” he says “pop” by switching “p” to “t.” This is
because he cannot make his tongue move in accordance with the brain
signals. Such frustrating aspects, according to experts, are related to
motor planning difficulties whereby child tends to carry the letter from
beginning to end of the word. Secondly, he is able to memorize and
repeat the words or letters in isolation but cant produce new words, for
instance, after much of practice he has learned how to pronounce
“apple” and “pie” separately but when he is asked to say
“apple pie” his answer is: “paboo pie.” Thus he often produces
single words correctly but fail when it comes to phrases and sentences.
In order to aid and support Tim in his development, he has been issued
I.E.P (Individual Educational Plan) which is a developmental plan,
including realistic and achievable goals and targets, developed by both
parents and school`s educational team in accordance with the child`s
learning and development progress. The parties involved in the
development of plan are allowed to voice over any concerns regarding the
child`s development and set the plan after agreeing over the goals and
methods to achieve those goals (Greatschools, 2010). This whole process
helps the child to be successful in the school. This gives Tim an
opportunity to set goals for his speech improvement. It gives him an
immense sense of personal understanding as well as a wish to attain a
target and become more capable in his schooling development. His goals
and targets will encourage him to become more skilled at something and
develop personal standards.
Tim`s aspiration for being competent and skillful provides an indication
that he is cognizant of the fact that esteem and confidence are
important for him to achieve he wants to become experienced in a talent
and accomplish pleasure with his own success. This is what Bruner`s
concept of ‘discovery learning’ says that role of teacher should be
restricted to a facilitator only and child must be given opportunity to
learn by himself thereby having an opportunity to experience the
environment first-hand. Tim with the help of TA, in this way, is
exploring the meaning of the world through a series of individual
constructs, based on his learned knowledge without any pre-supposed
instructions. As a result, he tends to reach reliable and trustworthy
information and feel pleasure of doing it independently as Bruner said
that people learn by doing (Bruner, 1961).
Tim regularly attends Learning Primary School`s ‘Lunch Club’ where
he interacts with other children in the fun loving environment under a
secure and safe place. Learning Primary School obeys all its guiding
principles this range from child safety plans and employees
instruction, to more straightforward proceedings such as Learning
Primary School’s simple policies, no child is to open doors for
another child or adult – even familiar members staff members. Apart from
that, Tim`s school also has various anti-bullying policies, fire
emergencies procedures, physical intervention policies in order to rule
out any possibility of misconduct or wrongdoing with regard to child.
There are many children like Tim who are struggling hard to prove their
ability in the society where such children are always ridiculed and
bullied by other children. Research says that they are normal just like
the rest of the children but it is just the cooperation and the support
that is required for such angels so that they can work on developing
their expressive language. Luckily, Tim is a well mannered child and has
had no troubles with naughtiness or bullying. As already discussed,
Tim’s parents proactively contribute for his learning and fulfill his
needs to be the best of their ability. The positive contributing role
his parents take in his life could therefore be the cause at the back of
Tim’s excellent manners and enthusiasm to study at school.
The support in the form of motivation, reinforcement, and praise, being
delivered through TA and school`s policies, enhances the confidence and
esteem of Tim that in turn encourage him more towards taking active part
in the learning and development phase. Tim has been given a star chart
which works as an incentive for him and reinforces him to positively
contribute in the discussions. Every time Tim takes part in the
discussion by answering the questions and putting his hand up, he is
given a star that goes on his chart thereby sharpening his speech
skills. The more stars on chart means he will get an allocated time of
computer at end of the day for playing educational games. This is an
example of positive reinforcement in which rewards are given for doing
what is expected. As Tim knows that stars are rewards for him in the
return of performing the expected behavior in the class that is
contributing in the discussions, it can be linked to Skinner’s theory
of operant conditioning. Skinner shaped a theory in which he believed
positive and negative reinforcements as consequences of actions,
increased or decreased levels of a particular behavior respectively
(McLeod, 2007). In this case, the constructive reinforcement is the
awarding of a star, taking active part in discussion is the augmented
favored action.
Although Tim is a polite child but still his TA has conditioned some
signals with the uncomfortable actions to rule out any possibility of
misconduct. For instance, Tim knows that frowning features of his TA or
a finger on the lips means that he is doing something wrong and needs to
correct the errors by himself. For example, if he is being too loud or
engrossed in playing when he should be ideally listening, his TA signals
him to quite down and pay attention. This is what we study in classical
conditioning theory of Van Pavlov as discussed by McLeod (2007): …that
involves learning to associate an unconditioned stimulus that already
brings about a particular response (i.e. a reflex) with a new
(conditioned) stimulus, so that the new stimulus brings about the same
Tim is often encouraged and motivated to take part in class activities
through various positive reinforcement and rewards reflected in school
policy system. For instance, Tim gets excited when extra hours for art
work or clay work that is his strength and favorite hobby, is offered by
the class teacher to the children in return for taking part in the
discussions. This shows that Tim likes plays and games with such
reinforcing rewards. This is related to the theory of Jean Piaget who
was also influenced by the importance of play in the life of a child.
According to Piaget, at the age of 8 years, play twists into games for
children and at every age, play represents a different meaning for
children. Consequently, she studied and developed different kinds of
games for every stage of childhood. According to her, children of
primary grade gain immense pleasure from the whole process of planning
and implementing an activity with certain rules of the game (Wellhousen,
The colorful word phases and graphical cue cards that have been
developed to aid Tim in his reading ability are used regularly at the
school with TA. Each word on the card tends to increase in difficulty
and is not moved on until Tim is able to repeat and write it correctly
for 5 times repeatedly. These multicolored and ornamented cue and flash
cards have also helped improve Tim’s literacy ranks. Fleming
introduced a learning method that implies children are learning
information through overlapping styles in each of visual, aural,
read/write and kinesthetic methods. The cards advocate that Tim is
primarily a reading and writing novice, mainly in literacy, with Fleming
(VARK, 2011) stating that, “this preference is for information
displayed as words.” The cue cards showed to Tim in the form of game
with rewards so as to create exciting and fun loving environment for
him. This approach is quite necessary for instilling a sense of
motivation and active participation among children. To ensure this, TA
of Tim is well determined to support Tim in every way. He regularly
joins in and takes it in turns with Tim to make it fairly practical. Tim
could therefore be professed as a proactive. Friedrich Froebel suggested
that children learn most effectively through the playing of games and
simulations, and so Tim may also benefit, by being given the opportunity
to create things, being given the time to take part in experiments and
have few restrictions in their learning.
Froebel introduced the concept of kindergarten based on the inherent
nature of child to play because play is an integral part of children`s
development and learning. He believed that child can develop his
learning abilities through playful endeavors and nature exposure. He
gave children an opportunity to study the nature by observing and
practicing the gardening process themselves and exploring the beauties
of nature rather than sitting idle at desks (Froebel Web, 2009). Froebel
himself was also weak at writing and language skills in his early
childhood days but he outshined and excelled at disciplines like
geometry and mapmaking. He had a belief that every child has a potential
of creativity at the core of heart and play is the basic element that
will drive out that potential because play is an essential developmental
phase in educating the ‘whole child.’ In his own words (2009):
“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for
it alone is the free expression of what is in a child`s soul.”
Froebel discovered that natural laws govern the natural world, and the
same laws guide the development of the child. His toys and gifts are
also based on the blocks and clays as he believed that blocks are the
actual building blocks of the universe for a child which gives
fundamental expressions to a child`s soul (LeBlanc, 2012). Above all,
Froebel`s concept of play and games is undeniably improving the Tim`s
speech/literature pattern thus giving him an opportunity to express his
concerns openly and prove his intelligibility to the world. The garden
concept of Froebel is also a useful catalyst to learn the real world
applications of core concepts of mathematics (Froebel Web, 2009). As
educational tool being used for Tim, this garden creates the connections
between food and health and the environment through the activities like
harvesting, preparing nutritious and seasonal produce which in turn help
Tim sharpen his fine and gross motor movements.
To improve speech pattern of Tim at numbers and mathematical concepts,
Tim`s TA is designing equipments in accordance with the theory of Jerome
Bruner for whom manipulation and thinking of learning among the children
takes place according to three modes: enactive, iconic, and symbolic.
Enactive involves manipulation or the movement, for example, tying
knots, pointing etc. Iconic phase will enable child to draw images of
the movement took place in enactive phase, for example, drawing picture
of apples of which image resides in his mind. Finally, symbolic stage
makes child ready to solve simple problems and think logically, for
example, using numbers for addition or algebra (psychology4A, 2006).
The intense participation of the TA is quite beneficial and entirely
supports the development of Tim. Tim spends the majority of his time in
the classroom, beside the TA, and is regularly given his support. Tim is
eager to follow the commands provided by his TA and then internalize the
information using it as a channel to manage his own presentation. The
belief here is that a child who is able to do the function with the help
of mentor can do it independently in the future. It refers to the
psychological differences between the actual potential of the child to
do the function independently and the ability of the child to do the
same function under the guidance of tutor or within a group. Thus, the
difference between the two potentials is a zone where the learning takes
place in a child. This zone is called Zone of Proximal Development
(ZPD). This theory is the widely known and used concept of Lev Vygotsky
(Learning Theories, 2012).
Experts have estimated that 10% of the population is yearly affected by
dyspraxia with majority constituting of boys (Australia Dyspraxia
Association, 2012). Its psychological symptoms include frustration,
anti-social behavior and depression due to lack of confidence. This
essay deals with the verbal part of the dyspraxia which is called as
Developmental Apraxia of Speech (DAS). It mostly affects children and is
present from their birth. It is not same as delay of speech in which
speech ability is developed in a slow pattern as opposed to normal
developmental pattern among other children. It is related with
disability in the area of expressive language that is coordination
issues between brain and verbal communication. The child is not able to
express the thoughts going through his mind but his understanding
ability is average or above average. This means that DAS does not affect
cognitive ability of the child however, there are differences in the
opinions of experts with this regard. The severity of this disease
varies it may occur at a mild level or may happen together with other
minor issues like sensory integration problems, lack of fine and gross
motor skills, etc. as is the case with Tim (Australia Dyspraxia
Association, 2012).
There is no authenticating evidence with regard to the causes of verbal
dyspraxia or DAS. Some experts believe it to be a result of inherent
speech or neurological disorder that affects the signals` transmission
process. However, majority of reported cases concerning verbal dyspraxia
have shown that apraxic children most often have a history of
communication disorders among their family members. It can therefore be
said that heredity or genetic factor can be an important cause of speech
disorder (National Institute of Health, 2010).
Speech-language pathologists and experts are proficient in diagnosing
and treating the speech disorder. There is no specific test or
instrument to measure the severity of the disorder but asking child to
repeat various words of his ability can trigger the presence of
disorder. However, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is used extensively
by experts to diagnose this disorder. Once diagnosed, speech-language
therapy is considered as the most effective and useful methodology to
help apraxic children to recover from speech disability. However, some
children need a combination of speech therapies while some may recover
spontaneously. That is dependent on the individual`s needs, severity of
disorder, and other language problems that might occur together with
verbal apraxia. Apart from that, support and encouragement from family
and friends are also the most important healing elements for such
children (National Institute of Health, 2010).
After enduring various speech therapies by professionals and experts and
after much of the persistent efforts of Tim`s parents, Tim is
significantly improving its speech pattern but still he lacks many of
the characteristics of a strong curious child for which he requires time
and dedicated commitment and support of schooling system, assistants and
his teachers. The effort his mother in particular makes has also been
vital in his improvement the so far successful relationship between
family and school is one that must remain for the benefit of Tim. The
use of technological oriented systems should be continued as it proves
to be vital in his progress. Although this condition cannot be
eliminated completely as it is a natural occurrence but struggling
persistently and receiving support can definitely bring positive results
for Tim.
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Case Study of a child outlining his development in relation to theory