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The case study is an exercise for demonstrating an ability to apply key theoretical and methodological concepts relating to psychopathology.
Within a ‘real-life’ context. Using a bio psychosocial model, the task is to describe and evaluate the key aspects of the case in terms of
- possible diagnoses
- theoretical framework(s)
- risk and protective factors
ISN401 Case Study Assessment
Masahiro, a 6-year old, was referred to you for evaluation due to his mother’s concerns about developmental and behavioural issues. His mother, 25-year-old Saori, accompanied him to the assessment. Saori stated that she wanted to know whether anything was wrong with Masahiro and what she could do to help him. During the interview, Masahiro sat quietly, avoided eye contact, and was unresponsive to any attempted rapport building conversation. He showed light but repetitive hitting of his arm against the lounge chair upon which Saori was sitting.
Saori provided the following information:
Masahiro lives with Saori just outside of Ballarat. Saori completed secondary school in Japan but no further education. For the last 3 years, she has worked as a nurse’s aide in a nursing home approximately 40 kilo meters from where they live. Prior to getting this job, Saori was struggling to receive income from her (ex) husband, despite her raising Masahiro at home to save money. She got the job as a nurse’s aide through the required work program. She reports that her job is stressful, but is nonetheless glad that she has a job and is no longer receiving Family Assistance. Saori makes $35 an hour. She is well respected at her work place.
Saori works the second shift so she is not home when Masahiro gets home from school. Her neighborhood friend, Christine, is Saori’s day care provider. Christine does not have a steady job, but does odd jobs during the day. Saori reports that she trusts Christine to take care of her son and that she is grateful to have her because she could not afford to pay a day care provider. Saori reports that she always worries about money. The cost of petrol has really affected her because she has a long commute to work.
Saori said she divorced Masahiro’s father – John – when Masahiro was 2 years old. They met when Saori visited Australia on a holiday. They lived in Japan until Masahiro was 2 years old, before moving to Australia to be closer to John’s family. Her ex-husband was physically and emotionally abusive to her and to Masahiro. The police were called on several occasions. He reportedly worked sporadically and had a long history with drugs and mental illness. She said he still lives close by and watches her home to see who comes and goes. Saori said she is concerned about Masahiro having contact with his father because of the abuse history. She has been seeking legal assistance to prevent his father having access to him. She reports that prior to this relationship she was in a physically abusive relationship with another man.
Masahiro attends the local primary school. Saori reports no concerns with his academic performance, however his teacher has recently reported that he is struggling to show the level that would be expected of6-year-old Australian children. Masahiro does not like school, his mother says, and cries and throws a tantrum most mornings as she drops him off at school.
ISN401 Theoretical and Methodological Assessment
Saori said he has always been fascinated with toys of horses and spends hours lining them up. Masahiro also gets angry with her (hitting and kicking) when she returns home from work. She said he gets in other children’s space at school and bites or scratches his classmates when he is frustrated or agitated. Masahiro has never had a friend stay over or been asked to stay over or go over toanyone’s house. She said he will throw a temper tantrum in a store when he wants something he cannot have. He will also throw a temper tantrum when he wants something but cannot express himself. Saori reported that sometimes it seems like he just can’t get the words out to say what he wants.
Saori said that Masahiro is somewhat behind other 6-year olds in self-help skills. However, she reported that he has had some recent success in toilet training. While toilet training has taken a long time, he is now staying dry most days and asking to go to the toilet. However, he still has accidents at night. On a positive note, Saori reports that Masahiro will stay in the house when told and does not wander off outside. She tries to keep Masahiro at home because in addition to her fear of his father, some of the local boys pick on him.
ISN401 Lifespan Development and Psychopathology
Saori admitted that she sometimes does not understand Masahiro’s behaviour. She said her mother in-law thinks that Masahiro’s behaviour is due to her bad parenting. She said her mother adamantly believes that spanking should work. She said she has tried spanking him, but it does not seem to work. Saori said she is frustrated and wants to find a way to address Masahiro’s behaviour. During the interview, Saori appeared to have a depressed mood and made little eye contact.
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