Psychology of the Exceptional Child

Case Study of Anne

You are a clinical psychologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems among children. A colleague has sent you information regarding Anne Gillespie (see below) in hopes that you will provide a second opinion as to the correct diagnosis for Anne. Read the case study, make a diagnosis, and then answer the following questions in a report to be written to her family. Be careful to fully explain concepts such that someone outside of the area of abnormal child psychology would understand. (DO NOT assume that you are writing this paper to me.)

1. What is the primary diagnosis for Anne (be sure to specify the major diagnosis and type if necessary)? Using the criteria in the DSM-V specifically describe why Anne’s symptoms fit this particular diagnosis. Give specific examples of the symptoms she manifests. While you should describe the disorder, do not just list the symptoms of the disorder according to the DSM. It may help to use direct quotes from the case study. You must get the diagnosis EXACTLY correct. There is enough information given so that you can make the exact diagnosis. In order to help you arrive at the correct diagnosis, try doing this. First list all of the possible diagnoses that you think are relevant for Anne, and then using the information available regarding differential diagnoses rule out each diagnosis until you are left with only one. Once you reach this one diagnosis, confirm it with specific examples from the case study. If you miss the diagnosis, you will only miss points in this section. The remainder of the paper will be based on the diagnosis you gave, and not the correct diagnosis. (Information in this section must be cited.) (10 points)

2. With most diagnoses there are differential diagnoses and co-morbid conditions that you need to consider. Discuss differential diagnoses and co-morbid conditions that exist with your primary diagnosis by answering Parts 1, 2, and 3. (Information in this section must be cited.)

a. Part 1: For your primary diagnosis that you gave in question #1, list the common differential diagnoses and co-morbid conditions.
b. Part 2: Next, take one of the differential diagnoses listed in Part 1, and explain how you would make a differential diagnosis between your primary diagnosis and that particular differential diagnosis. What characteristic do you look for to make the differential diagnosis between the two disorders? Next, apply it to Anne’s case. In other words you are going to explain why Anne has the primary diagnosis that you gave her and not the common differential diagnosis. For example, if you gave Anne the primary diagnosis of schizophrenia (she doesn’t have schizophrenia), you would need to list autism as a common differential diagnosis, and then explain how you would make a differential diagnosis between schizophrenia and autism. If there is additional information that you would like to have to help you make a differential diagnosis, you may discuss this here.
c. Part 3: Take one of the common co-morbid conditions listed in part 1, and discuss whether or not Anne also has this common co-morbid condition in addition to her primary diagnosis. Explain why you think she also has this additional diagnosis by listing the specific symptoms that Anne displays, or explain why she does not have this additional diagnosis by discussing what symptoms she does not display. Be specific. If there is additional information that you would like to have to be able to say that she has another diagnosis, you may discuss this here.

3. Based on the known causes of the particular primary diagnosis you gave Anne, speculate about the cause(s) of her diagnosis. You most likely do not have enough information to definitively know what caused the problem. Consider the most common cause of the disorder. It would be appropriate to address two or three causes and fully explain at least one of the causes. You want to explain these causes from a technical perspective. Use information from the textbook to explain why this causes the disorder that Anne has or provide data that supports that this is a true cause of the disorder. (Information in this section must be cited.) (10 points)

4. Based on the known treatments for Anne’s primary diagnosis, what treatment(s) can you recommend for her and her family? This should be based on the most common and/or most effective treatment for this disorder. Be very specific about the name of the treatment and what is done in the treatment. Explain how this type of treatment is conducted? Generic statements like, “Anne should seek therapy,” are inappropriate. What type of therapy would you recommend? How is this type of therapy conducted? Be careful not to give a laundry list of all the possible treatments. Pick the best treatment forAnne , and explain this treatment in detail. (Information in this section must be cited.) (10 points)

5. What information can you give Anne and her family about her prognosis? Base your answer on known information about the prognosis for his particular disorder, and not just what you hope for Anne and her family. For example, you may discuss what is known about what might make the prognosis better or worse. Avoid generic statements like, “With proper treatment Anne will get better.” This is true for almost all disorders, and is what we hope for all of our clients. Say something more specific like, “Generally speaking the prognosis for Anne’s disorder is positive. 75% recover within one year, and only 15% relapse.” Typically there are situations that make the prognosis better or worse. Find out what these are and apply it to Anne’s case. (Information in this section must be cited.) (10 points)

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information supporting the symptoms of the diagnosis, cause, and treatment, should be taken from another source like your textbook, the DSM, or another source. However, this information should NOT be copied word-for-word from the source, and should be correctly cited within the text and in a reference listing at the end of the paper. APA format should be used for the in-text citation and reference listing. Information on how to use APA format can be found in a document located on Blackboard in the Assignment area titled, “A Primer on Citation” or at Severe penalties could result from failure to follow this requirement.

Also remember that papers containing more than three direct quotes (sentences and phrases) from sources other than the case study will receive a grade of 0.


Fourteen-year-old Anne Gillespie was brought to the community mental health center by her mother, Ms. Newsome. The therapist assigned to the case first met with Ms. Newsome while Anne waited. Ms. Newsome was dressed in a navy blue business suit with a white blouse and high heels. Her hair was brown, tinged with gray, styled simply but carefully in a chignon. Other than gold earrings, Ms. Newsome wore no other jewelry.

When asked why she wanted her daughter to see a therapist, Ms. Newsome carefully explained that she wasn’t a religious person. Although she and her daughter were Christians and celebrated Christmas, Easter and so on, but they didn’t attend church and her daughter had not even been baptized. The therapist was confused by this outpouring and asked Ms. Newsome if she felt her daughter needed to be baptized. Ms. Newsom giggled nervously, and stated that she hoped it wouldn’t be too late to baptize her daughter because she was concerned that Anne might be a Satanist.

Ms. Newsome reported that she and Anne lived alone in a house she had purchased after her divorce four years ago. Her ex-husband currently lived in another state with his present wife. By her own choice, Anne had no contact with her father. The divorce had been an amicable one after her ex-husband impregnated his secretary. Ms. Newsome reported that she had never minded his affairs, but that getting his secretary pregnant was “too much.” She reported that Anne did not seem unduly upset with the divorce, and she continued to attend the same school with her friends. The major change for Anne was a new house which Anne had been pleased with because it had an in-ground pool. The divorce was not a problem financially, as Ms. Newsome was a bank vice-president and made sufficient money of her own.

Over the past year, Ms. Newsome noticed a change in her daughter. Anne had dropped her old friends and now spent most of her time in her room. She rarely had friends over to the house, and those who had been to the house were different than her previous friends. In addition, her grades had dropped from As and Bs to mainly Cs. Finally she had dyed her blond hair black and cut one side short while leaving the other side long. Ms. Newsome had been concerned but not alarmed by these events; she remembered her own teenage years during the late 1960s when “everyone” wore their hair long, smoked pot, and wore “love beads.”

The previous night, Ms. Newsom had awakened in the middle of the night to hear chanting coming from her daughter’s room. As she walked down the hall, she smelled an odd scent. Upon opening her daughter’s door she saw her daughter standing in the middle of her room, naked, surrounded by flickering candles with her upraised arms clutching a knife dripping with blood. Ms. Newsom had screamed and run back to her room.

By the time she calmed herself and went back to Anne’s room, Anne was dressed in pajamas and was washing the bloody knife in her bathroom sink. When questioned, Anne had irritably replied that her mother should respect her privacy and not barge into her room. Anne could not be cajoled into telling her mother about her actions.

Ms. Newsome told the therapist that she was concerned that her daughter was part of some cult, and that they had killed an animal. She went on to report that she had read books about cults but had never considered that such a thing went on in her own town, much less her own home.

Anne was brought into the therapist’s office while Ms. Newsome was asked to wait in a separate room. Anne was of average height but weighed significantly less than average. She was dressed in loose black jeans, a long sleeved black shirt, and black boots. Her hair had been dyed black, poorly and just as her mother had described, one side long and straight while the other was cut in short spikes. Anne’s face had been dusted with a white powder and her eyes outlined in black. Her movements were jerky and perceptibly slower than expected. Rather than a fourteen-year-old white teenager, Anne looked the part of a character in a vampire or zombie movie.

Anne sat in the chair indicated by the therapist without speaking. When asked why she thought she was in the center, Anne replied in a monotone voice that her mother had “freaked out.” She went on to explain, after considerable prompting, that her mother had come into her room unannounced and discovered her while she was praying. Anne’s speech was coherent but slow and monotone in quality. When asked to describe how she prayed, Anne described how she had come to know the power of Satan and that she felt relief when praying to him. The prayers consisted of standing naked in the center of a circle of lighted candles while cutting herself with a ceremonial knife. According to Anne, Satan required the blood to take away her anxieties and problems.

When questioned about her problems, Anne became vague, but commented that she found it difficult to get to sleep at night, frequently staying awake until 2 or 3 am, worrying about the mistakes she had made at school and her parents’ divorce. Once at school, she found it hard to concentrate on what the teachers’ said, and spent most of her time staring out of the windows. Upon more detailed questioning by the therapist, Anne admitted that her problems had been gradually increasing since the divorce had become worse over the past year. In the past year, Anne reported that she had lost 15 pounds without any attempt at dieting and is always irritable. Anne also reported that she believes she was at least partially responsible for her parents’ divorce, as she was a “real brat” for a year before the divorce. She reported that she frequently thought that her parents might get back together if she was dead. Anne denied suicide intent or plan. She described the self-cutting as a part of her prayers and described how they lifted her spirits for a few seconds.
When questioned about her friends, Anne reported that her new friends were the ones who had introduced her to worshipping Satan. She denied any cult involvement, reporting that the other girls had lent her several books and had shown her various chants. Anne also denied drug use. She reported that she had tried smoking cigarettes but did not like the smell. Although she had been offered pot, she had no interest in it. Alcohol had always been present in her house, but Anne reported no desire to drink.

When asked what she enjoyed, Anne grimaced slightly as she reported she used to enjoy everything – going shopping with her friends, swimming, riding her bike – but now everything seem to take too much energy. She reported that she spent most of her time in her room listening to music or reading her book about Satan. She noted that even that wasn’t “fun” but simply passed the time.

Exercise Requirement Sheet
Psychology of the Exceptional Child (PSYC 321), Fall 2015


1. You should complete 2 out of the 3 exercises and submit them on Blackboardin the Assignments tab by the due date.Additional papers may NOT be submitted for either extra credit or to take the place of a low grade on a previous paper.

2. Exercises must be turned in via Blackboard, in the Assignment function, no later than 11:59pm EST onthe due date. You should submit your exercises early to avoid problems with Blackboard. The date/time stamp given to me by Blackboard is the day/time that I use in determining if there will be a point penalty due to lateness. Late papers are accepted with a 10 point penalty PER DAY. The late penalty will only be waived in the case of hospitalization or death in the immediate family. Permission to submit a late paper must be requested PRIOR to the due date. Documentation is required.Due dates are:
• Exercise #1 –February 12, 2016
• Exercise #2 –March 4, 2016
• Exercise #3 – April 8, 2016

3. Each exercise is a case study regarding a child with a specific psychopathology. Your job is to assume that you are a clinical psychologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of children. A colleague of yours has sent you a summary of his/her evaluation of a patient in hopes that you will provide a second opinion as to the correct diagnosis for the child and provide other relevant information regarding this diagnosis. Your diagnosis can confirm the original diagnosis and/or make a new diagnosis. You are writing your information to be given to the parent of the child. Therefore, you should be careful to fully explain concepts such that someone outside of the area of abnormal child psychology would understand. (DO NOT assume that you are writing this paper to me.)

Students are expected to obtain information regarding the causes, treatment, prognosis, etc. from another source like your textbook. However, you are also expected to correctly document this information using the appropriate APA formatting for in-text citations and reference listing. Correctly documenting information from other sources includes using an in-text citation for paraphrased information and an in-text citation AND quotation marks for direct quotes; i.e., when you copy information word-for-word from another source.

You must use APA style for citing sources correctly. If you don’t know how to use APA there are several resources available to you. There is an “APA Citation Primer” posted on Blackboard in the “Assignments” area. There is also an excellent “online writing lab” available at There are two particular sections that I think will be particularly useful; “In-Text Citations: The Basics” and “Reference List: Basic Rules.” You may NOT use another style such as MLA for citing sources. There are penalties for failure to cite sources and/or using APA formatting incorrectly.

A word about direct quotes: A well-written paper does not include a lot of direct quotes. You should gather information from other sources, but you should re-write this information in your own words. Rewriting the information illustrates your understanding of the material. You should NOT copy information word-for-word from another source; i.e., direct quotes.Papers containing more than three direct quotes (sentences and phrases) will receive a grade of 0. You are not limited on the number of direct quotes taken from the case study. The limitation is on information taken from other sources; i.e., textbook or websites. See the guidelines provided in the APA Citation Primer located on Blackboard for information on how and when to use direct quotes. Additionally, when you use direct quotes (copy three or more words word-for-word from another source) you MUST use quotation marks to indicate that you did not write this information. Information (three or more words) that is copied word-for-word from another source that does not include quotation marks is PLAGIARISM and will be treated as such.

Students are reminded that they must follow ODU’s Honor Code when completing these assignments. This includes not copying papers written by other students and appropriately documenting information taken from another source by appropriately using direct quotes, in-text citations, and a reference listing. Paraphrased information and direct quotes must have an in-text citation and reference listing using APA format.Not citing direct quotes or paraphrased information is plagiarism, and as a result will receive at least a grade of 0 and will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. Additionally, direct quotes MUST have quotation marks indicating that it was not written by you. My recommended sanction for failure to use citations and direct quotes is an F for the course. Depending of the severity of the incident, a notation of academic dishonesty on your transcript will be considered. If it is clear that you are not trying to take ownership of the material in the paper, but didn’t document your sources, you will incur a 10 point penalty (i.e., information is in quotation marks but has no citation or information was paraphrased.)

I grade the accuracy of the information you are providing in your paper based on information from the text. If you present a counter explanation without documenting the source, I grade the information as incorrect. For example, if you say the cause of intellectual disability is too much exposure to the sun, and do not document this information, I count the information as incorrect because this is not a cause that is listed in our textbook (and isnot true). If you present this information, and document where you found this piece of information, I count the information as correct. The rationale for this is that there are many different theories about the topics we will be discussing. Some of these I have heard before and some I havenot. If you provide me with a source that says that this is correct information, I am not going to penalize the information. If there is no source for the information, I donot know if the information is correct or not, so I treat it as if it is wrong information.

5. Plagiarism checking. All papers submitted via Blackboard are checked for plagiarism through SafeAssign. SafeAssign checks your paper with other papers submitted through SafeAssign and with internet sources. It returns a percentage match with these other sources. If you are concerned about inadvertently plagiarizing from another source, you may submit your paper early to check the SafeAssign score. You’ll submit the paper in the same link as where you will submit the final version. Wait a couple of hours or perhaps a couple of days (depending on system usage) and then check your SafeAssign score in “My Grades.” Your SafeAssign score may be high if you used many direct quotes from the case study. This is acceptable. If your SafeAssign score high due to other sources, you should rewrite. You will be able to view your entire SafeAssign report which shows you where the matches occur. If your SafeAssign score is good, you are finished. If you rewrote your paper due to a high SafeAssign score, go back into the same link in Blackboard and submit your final version. Blackboard does not include your own submissions in the SafeAssign score. Don’t forget that you may have no more than 3 direct quotes in your paper.

6. In order to maintain the academic integrity of this assignment, you are not allowed to share your assignment or any part of your assignment with other students. This includes students who are taking the class this semester or students who take the class in future semesters.

7. Follow these instructions when submitting your paper on Blackboard.
a. Make sure to click “Submit” instead of “Save” when submitting your exercises. I cannot open your paper or see what time you finished your paper until it is submitted. Saving allows you to come back to your work and finish it at a later time. Therefore, the paper is NOT sent to me at this time.
b. If you get the message that you cannot submit your paper because it is in the wrong format, you probably have an internet browser error. If you using Internet Explorer, try submitting the paper using Firefox, and vice versa.
c. Problems using Blackboard should be reported to the Technical Support Center at 683-3192 or 1-877-348-6503. Encountering a problem using Blackboard does not extend the due date of the paper nor allow you to email me your paper.
d. Make sure you get the message that your document has been successfully uploaded. If not, your paper was not sent to me.

8. Exercises should be submitted by attaching your document (do not use the comment box). Documents should be a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file. I cannot open .wps or .odt files, and thus I cannot grade a .wps or .odt file. Additionally, you should be careful to submit the correct file (no temporary files, don’t submit my file, etc). A grade of 0 will be received for any text that I cannot read due to problems with opening the file.In the past I have had some difficulty with files created with Macs. If you use a Mac, make sure you are using a file format that can be read by PCs. I have also had difficulty with files created by Open Office.

9. Exercises are to be written in an ESSAY format which includes an introductory and conclusion paragraph. DO NOT answer in a question and answer format.Your introduction should describe the purpose of the paper. The conclusion should summarize your findings or explain what you have learned. Introduction and conclusion paragraphs are not the answer to the first and last question given in the assignment sheet. There is a 20 point penalty for failure to use essay format.

10. Papers should be a minimum of 3 pages in length. There is no set maximum, but papers are rarely longer than 5 pages. Papers that are not 3 pages in length are NOT detailed enough to receive full credit. Double-space the paper in a 12-point Times New Roman font using 1 inch margins on all sides. Avoid using page length “cheats” like large margins, headers with a lot of information or too much spacing, and 2 ½ spacing. There is no penalty for exceeding the page limit. The penalty for failure to meet the minimum is based on the information that is missing from your paper.

11. Each essay is graded based on the completeness of each answer, the clarity with which the information is described, and the grammar and organization of the essay.All questions and parts of questions must be fully answered to receive full credit. Full credit will not be given for answers that are only briefly described. Be sure to use the provided rubric to be sure that you have covered ALL of the required content.


12. If you are retaking this class, you must read this.Students who have taken my classes before will recognize the assignments from previous semesters. According to ODU policy, you may not submit a previous work for these assignments. That means that you may not submit the same paper that you have previously submitted to me for this assignment. You also may not complete the same assignment. For example, if you did the Randall case study in a previous semester, you may not do the Randall case study again. Violation of this is considered to be academic dishonesty and will be treated as such.My recommended sanction for this violation is an F for the course.If you have taken this class with me you MUST contact me to receive an alternate assignment.You need to contact me within the first two weeks of class so that you will have plenty of time to figure out which exercises you are going to complete and have time to complete them.

13. Because of the thoroughness with which each paper is graded, it takes me quite a while to return papers. Do not expect papers to be graded before a minimum of one week after the due date.