Melvin is a student in my class. He is 22 years old, and he is pursuing a bachelors degree in computer science. Unfortunately, when Melvin was 19, the boy was involved in an accident that changed the course of his life. Specifically, he was riding his bicycle towards the church when a truck lost control and hit him from behind. Melvin was severely wounded and was immediately hospitalized for many months.
However, when the doctors amputated his hands, Melvin felt like his life was turning into a nightmare. At some point, the boy even made the death wishes because he felt he was no longer worth to live without hands. He could not imagine how he would perform his daily tasks now. What is worse, without hands, he felt that his dream to obtain a job related to computers was shattered.
Therefore, Melvin had to undergo many counselling sessions before and after his hands were amputated, which had a profound effect on him. My student had to depend on his family members to help him accomplish simple tasks that he had been performing excellently before the accident. Everything became a struggle for Melvin; for instance, his personal hygiene such as washing and brushing had to be done by his sisters. He could no longer use his hands to accomplish tasks like typing and printing. Cycling was one of the Melvins hobbies, but without hands, the boy had to forget about it.
However, because my students parents knew his wish to work in a computer world, they transferred him from a college offering regular curriculum to the one where students with the need for special education could study. Remarkably, when Melvin joined the college, it offered him special opportunities to lead a normal life without arms. Gradually, he learnt how to use his legs to perform some basic tasks, for example to work with the computer. Although, Melvin still faces some challenges because of not having hands, his determination to use his legs has made the boys life more bearable and meaningful.
In the theory and research, my students case can be analyzed in relation to the Erik Eriksons description of the second crisis period of Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt (Bergen, 2008). After the accident, it became difficult for the boy to perform ordinary tasks that prior to the accident had not caused any difficulties. Therefore, the consequences of the accident presented a crisis in Melvins life (Bergen, 2008). There were many instances when my student felt ashamed that he had to depend on his mother and sisters to help him with his personal hygiene. However, when Melvin was enrolled in the college that offered special attention to his condition, the crisis began to get resolved: Melvin could become confident again although he had to use his legs to achieve the personal goals (Bergen, 2008). However, in such a way, the boy stopped seeking help from others in the daily matters.
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Eriksons stage of Industry versus Inferiority relates to Melvins conditions, too. At this stage, the boy realized that he had to stop feeling inferior to his peers (Bergen, 2008). Since his childhood, Melvin had shown his love for computers, and his future career was going to be connected with them. Therefore, with the realization that the feelings of inability would hinder his ambition, Melvin was determined to learn how to use his legs. As a result, he started to perform computer-related tasks such as typing and networking, which gave him a sense of self-fulfillment and satisfaction (Bergen, 2008,).
Although in some instances Melvin still needs the assistance, he has developed a positive attitude that he can achieve most of the desired tasks and goals; thus, my student no longer feels desperate and worthless. Instead, he realizes that he has the opportunity to unleash his potential in the computer world despite the absence of hands (Townsend, 2011). In other words, his crisis has been stopped by gaining confidence in the use of his legs to become successful. The positive outcome has played a significant role in building his self-esteem as well as resolved his crisis as related to the Eriksons stage of Industry versus Inferiority (Bergen, 2008). Hence, the absence of hands has not become an obstacle for Melvin to advance his education.
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In addition, self-determination helped Melvin pass the transition period. Until the accident and subsequent amputation of hands, he lived a normal life performing all the ordinary tasks. As a result, Melvin started to feel ashamed that he had to be assisted in the daily matters such as bathing. However, when enrolled to a special institution and counselling sessions, Melvin gradually began to improve his self-esteem and capabilities (Townsend, 2011). He decided to achieve his career development. It, therefore, shows that determination is the paramount condition in fostering self-efficacy, self-worth, and positive attitude in the process of coping with the challenges of the new life (Bergen, 2008). Melvin stopped being angry that all his friends had both hands. Besides, he reached the emotional maturity that enabled him to be as successful in his career as his peers (Townsend, 2011).
Furthermore, Melvin was no longer stuck in self-pity; he became a professional in the computer sphere. This means that the Melvins case should not be associated with the Sigmund Freuds theory of social and emotional development. According to it, every child has a conflict and when the causes of it are not identified and resolved, the affected individual remains stuck in that stage (Bergen, 2008).
As a teacher, I helped Melvin to enroll on the counseling sessions. In this way, he was able to recover from the emotional trauma experienced during the accident and the hospitalization period (Bergen, 2008). Otherwise, if Melvin did not accept the reality of losing his hands, learning other adaptive mechanism and seeking counselling, it is possible that he would be stuck in Sigmund Freuds theory of social and emotional development.
Besides, being the Melvins instructor, I discussed with his family members and peers the boys state and encouraged them to continue helping Melvin with the tasks that he cannot perform with his legs. In this way, the boy would not feel isolated; besides, the sense of being useful and needed would be significant in helping Melvin to live positively (Townsend, 2011). In essence, when facing tasks that could not be accomplished with the legs, Melvin might start feeling sorry for him, and therefore, relevant assistance was imperative in this situation. It would aid him to understand that he had the ability to follow the direction leading to the productive life (Townsend, 2011).
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Moreover, using Erik Eriksons concept of Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt, I helped Melvin to become a member of the organizations and peer groups of people with physical impairment. I believe that this involvement presented an opportunity for Melvin to understand that there are people who have successful career lives, despite being physically challenged. As a result, he no longer doubts his capability and does not feel ashamed that his peers are better suited to become successful. Now, he realizes that despite the fact that he has lost his hands, he still has the ability to live positively. Moreover, the communication with other people who have the same life challenges is the best opportunity to improve self-efficacy and self-esteem (Townsend, 2011). Thus, it is easier for Melvin to stay cheerful and focused on doing his best to improve his knowledge of computers.
In conclusion, the Melvins case shows that there are occurrences such as accidents that can change ones life. My student in his situation had to resolve the crisis when his hands were amputated. Thus, he learnt how to use his legs in order to pursue the bachelors degree in computer science. This clearly shows that Melvin is not stuck in the Sigmund Freuds theory of social and emotional development. Furthermore, he is determined not to be treated as inferior due to his physical disability. Therefore, the Melvins case is an illustration that although some students face serious challenges, they can still have a positive attitude and be successful in pursuing education and becoming professionals.