Special Needs Intervention Essay

Special Needs Intervention

Client Profile

Brenda is a seven-year-old second grader that has been identified as dyslexic. She has significant delays in pre-literacy and numeracy skills have been identified through both formal assessment and performance in classroom activities. Work samples demonstrate that Brenda has difficulty sequencing and recognizing word phenomes and putting them together for reading and writing activities. Brenda does not demonstrate the ability to recognize phenomes in words. Brenda frequently reverses letters and/or the whole words when performing literacy tasks.

An interview with Brenda’s teacher reveals that other than her problems associated with dyslexia, Brenda’s development and functioning is on target with a majority of her peers. She tends to display shyness and introversion when called upon in class to perform activities associated with literacy and numeracy. She is polite and participates actively in class activities. She is a pleasant child and normally social with her classmates. She gets along well with both adults and other children.

Her condition was first discovered through classroom observation when it was observed that Brenda had particular difficulty performing activities such as copying from the board and beginning reading skills. Brenda’s teacher has observed the Brenda is easily frustrated when attempting to perform tasks which she finds difficult. Brenda has support from our parents and siblings at home who work with her and participate in the program by doing extra activities with her outside of school hours. Brenda’s mother stays in close contact with the school regarding Brenda’s progress and school work.


An assessment was conducted over the course of two sessions in a two-week period. Dyslexia can be difficult to assess because it can take many forms. Assessment allows the educator to develop materials that address the specific needs of the child. Dyslexia is difficult to diagnose with a single test, as it can take many different forms. Aside from the obvious difficulties with literacy and numeracy, dyslexia also has other common symptoms that accompany it and can help with assessment. It is also possible for a person to have many of the signs and symptoms of dyslexia, but not have dyslexia. Many symptoms of dyslexia occur in people without dyslexia. This can be particularly problematic in beginning literacy learners, as many of the common symptoms of dyslexia such as letter reversals and letter sequencing are difficult for children of this age.

Dyslexia screening is performed on the general student population to determine those that are in need of more comprehensive screening methods for dyslexia (Emerson, 2006). Dyslexia screening was performed at the school for all second grade students to discover those that were in need of more comprehensive testing for dyslexia. Brenda was selected for further dyslexia testing from the screened population.

Brenda was selected and provided comprehensive tests for reading, spelling, intelligence, visual tests, hearing tests, reversal tests and sequencing tests. The school psychologist arranged for physical tests and other test instruments. The results of the tests revealed that Brenda had no unusual hearing or eyesight problems that would account for the results of the tests. Hearing and sight was found to be within normal ranges. Intelligence tests were also in normal ranges. Brenda was found to be of normal intelligence but had marked deficiencies in the sequencing portions of the tests. She was found to have several reversals, but they may be age appropriate, given the normal range of these features in early elementary students.

Work samples were examined from spelling and creative writing prompts. Brenda was found to spell phonetically, but did have significant dyslexic attributes. These attributes were enough to warrant closer testing and intervention. The spelling test sample demonstrated significant phonetic modifications, rather than correct spellings. Brenda has consistent phonetic characterization in spelling tasks. This same trait was found in the second work sample. Work sample indicate that Brenda has significant deficiencies the ability to sequence letters in order to spell words correctly. These results support the deficiencies found in the intelligence testing portion of the assessment.

The third session of the testing involved one-on-one sessions to gain a better understanding of Brenda’s strengths and challenges. Over a course of two sessions, Brenda was asked to perform reading, spelling, vocal response story telling, and mathematical functions that were appropriate for her age group. The results of these tests supported the results of the previous tests.

The assessment revealed that Brenda’s primary deficiency is in sequencing letters and numbers. She performs better with oral testing, rather than written tests. She has significant difficulty filtering distractions in the normal classroom setting. She is easily frustrated when she switches letters and words. Brenda reports that she has significant anxiety when asked to perform tasks in front of the class.

During the sessions, Brenda was assessed to classify her dyslexic traits. Upon questioning her mother, no trauma was found that could account for the acquisition of dyslexia, therefore, Brenda will be classified as having developmental dyslexia (Dyslexia Symptoms.net, 2011). Brenda has poor visual cue processing, but appears to have normal auditory processing. Brenda’s symptomatic classification appears to be surface, rather than phonological, as Brenda has difficulty distinguishing similar words when reading (Dyslexia Symptoms.net, 2011). Brenda’s dyslexia appears to be dysedetic, as she has problems processing symbols into word formats and concepts. Brenda’s strengths are in auditory processing, rather than visual processing.


Dyslexia is a learning disability under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act of 1992, Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act of 1991, and the DDA Standards for Education 2005 (Dyslexiaustralia.com, n.d.). Under this set of standards education providers must comply with each part of these acts in the provision of education in terms of enrolment, participation, curriculum development, delivery, and provision of support services. Under these provisions, educators must make reasonable adjustments to make certain that the student with disabilities has the same opportunities and choices that are available to students without disabilities (Dyslexiaustralia.com, n.d.). The following will address a plan to provide Brenda educational opportunities that focus on her individual educational needs, yet met the requirements of the above legislative acts.

The learning plan will address Brenda’s dyslexia using a variety of activities to help her overcome her key issues with visual processing. The following describes four lessons that will be a part of the intervention plan. It describes assessment issues and measurement of progress. The goal of the following activities will be to provide an education that capitalizes on Brenda’s strengths and that addresses her primary challenges.

Activity 1: Learning to focus on a task

Duration: 1/2-hour

Learning Issue/Goal:

To provide an environment where Brenda can perform her work without distraction and to teach Brenda strategies to help her cope with noises and distractions in the regular classroom setting


Brenda will be moved to a quiet location and taught to cover areas of the paper upon which she is not currently working with another piece of paper. This will help Brenda focus on smaller portions of the work, rather than being distracted by extemporaneous stimuli.

This assessment does not address a particular Australia curriculum goal, but it is a necessary skill for all grade levels. The inability to concentrate on a single task, including isolating information on a written page, is a common dyslexic trait. In order to effectively respond to and produce written work, the student must be able to block out the rest of the page and the stimulus around them in order to focus on the task at hand (Dyslexia Intervention, n.d.). This activity is designed to address Brenda’s deficiencies in this area, as indicated by the assessment.

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment will occur through observation of Brenda during the performance of these tasks.

Summative Assessment:

The goal of the activity will be for Brenda to be able to use these adaptive skills to concentrate on work for a period of 20 minutes at a time without distraction. Brenda will be able to take breaks as needed.

Goals and Expected Educational Level and Outcome:

The goal of this activity is to train Brenda to filter information so that she can concentrate on the relevant task. Brenda will learn important coping skills through this activity. The goal is to provide Brenda with tools that she can use throughout her school years to build her skills of concentration on a particular task.

Activity Source:

Adapted from: Dyslexia Intervention (n.d.). Accommodatign Students with Dyslexia in all Classroom Settings. Retrieved from http://www.dyslexiaintervention.org/accomodating_students_with_dyslexia

Activity 2: Anticipation Guides

Duration: 1/2-hour

Learning Issue Goal:

This activity teaches a pre-reading strategy to activate the student’s background knowledge to motivate them to read a story. Dyslexic children often view their world holistically. The activity in this session will capitalize on Brenda’s strength of viewing a problem holistically, as identified in the assessment.


Brenda will be able to choose abook from the school library that looks interesting to her and that is age appropriate. Without opening the book, she will be asked a series of questions about what she can tell about the book by looking at the cover. The facilitator will then…

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