Part 1: Short Answer Responses
Evaluate the following case studies and, in 100-250 words, classify the IDEA disability category for each student. Provide a rationale for your identification choice that takes into consideration each student’s developmental milestones.
Tomas entered Mrs. Richards’ kindergarten classroom at the beginning of the school year with great excitement! He showed great interest in learning and being in the classroom with other students. As the school year progressed, however, Tomas’ excitement quickly turned into frustration. He struggled with recognizing the letters in his name, identifying different shapes, and consistently could not follow two-part instructions. He also was dramatically less able than his peers to focus on a task. His frustrations have led to impulsive actions. Mrs. Richards has called a meeting with his parents to address her concerns.
Harper, 3rd Grade
Harper attends Sunset Elementary School and is in a class with 25 other third graders. Harper loves her teacher Mrs. Hernandez and struggles when a substitute takes her place. She excels in math and tends to get bored when the other kids in her class struggle. Harper also loves reading about the weather, somewhat obsessively, and can share weather facts and details for hours. She enjoys going to school, but does struggle with the loud noises a school brings. In school assemblies, for instance, she becomes overly upset about the noise level and tends to rock back and forth to calm herself. She also does not like fire drills and has refused to leave the classroom because of the sound of the fire alarm. Instead, she will flop to the ground, kick, and cover her ears.
Austin, 5th Grade
Austin was 9 years old when he was hit by a car while riding his bike on the sidewalk. He broke his arm and leg and hit his head very hard. When he came home from the hospital he looked just fine, but he needed help. Now back at school, there are changes in Austin that are hard to understand. It takes Austin longer to do things, and he has trouble remembering. He cannot always find the words he wants to use. Math is hard for him now, but it was his strongest academic area before the accident.
Mary, 9th Grade
Mary and her mother recently moved to the school district from Mexico after divorcing her father, who still lives in Mexico. Mary and her mother now live with Mary’s uncle, his wife, and five kids. Mom is working two part-time jobs to make ends meet so they can eventually afford to move to an apartment nearby. Mom can speak and read English, but is often working during times when Mary is home from school. Mary speaks some English, but only reads and writes in Spanish. She is reading at the third grade level in Spanish and has difficulty writing paragraphs. Writing is limited to simple sentences. Mary likes mathematics and can complete simple algebraic expressions, and is close to grade level in geometry. She does struggle with word problems.