This case study will look at a unique child, I will make observations of the child and record and analyse my findings. I will discuss what makes this child unique and look at the prevalence of his uniqueness and compare this to other commonly diagnosed issues. Finally I will make recommendations on how to best support the child within his setting.
Harry is 7 years 6months old and has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Harry is a looked after child and lives with foster parents. It is unknown exactly when Harry was diagnosed with FAS but we do know that it was prior to him being placed with his current foster parents at age 4. Harry attends a mainstream primary school where he is placed in a class of 30 children and accesses the national curriculum. He receives support from a teaching assistant for all activities some of which take place in the classroom alongside his peers and others are delivered on a one to one basis. Most work for this child is adapted to meet his specific needs. Harry also visits a speech and language therapist once a week. His class teacher and teaching assistants, myself included work closely together with the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) to provide tailored support for Harry on a day to day basis.
According to the British Medical Association (2007) Fetal Alcohol Syndrome comprises of a broad spectrum of completely preventable physical, intellectual and developmental deficits resulting from maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
The charity DrinkAware list the symptoms of FAS as:
Problems with language
Lack of appropriate social boundaries (such as over friendliness with strangers)
Poor short term memory
Inability to grasp instructions
Failure to learn from the consequences of their actions
Mixing reality and fiction
Difficulty with group social interaction
Poor problem solving and planning
Hyperactivity and poor attention
When embarking on this case study I had to consider the ethics of observing and recording the behaviour of the child and what impact it would have on him. I obtained permission from Harry’s carers and from the head teacher in my setting. The name of the child, setting and all involved have been changed to protect their identity. All of my recordings have been kept confidential and out of sight of other children and staff in the school with the exception of the head teacher and Harry’s foster parents. I advised Harry’s parents that they could see the case study at any time and stop it if they wished to do so. I have tried to keep any disruption to Harry to a minimum by either observing him from a distance or during our usual one to one time so as not to disturb his normal schedule. The case study will have little impact on Harry, however I have agreed to share my recommendations on how to support him with the class teacher to establish if there is anything the school may not have already considered that they could take forward.
Interpretation of observations
One of the first things you notice when working with Harry is that he finds it very difficult to stay still. Hyperactivity is common among children with FAS and as noted in my observations (appendix 1-4) Harry often fidgets or squirms in his seat and plays with objects on the table. Harry also frequently gets up from his seat or walks away from activities when he has been asked to stay seated making it difficult for him to complete tasks. Harry has poor short term memory and often forgets instructions, coupled with an inability to grasp instructions it can be quite difficult for Harry to work independently as he needs to be reminded of the task and what he is expected to do (Appendix 4).
Harry finds it difficult to work in groups and when asked to find a partner he will usually shy away until an adult intervenes. In an observation