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Since the client is Hispanic, the major multicultural issue that has to be addressed is ethnicity. Unfortunately, there is a lot of evidence supporting the fact that the educational experience for Hispanics in the United States is one of the most pressing problems. This implies that the student’s achievement is inevitably affected by his ethnicity. Even though the socio-economic status of his family is not particularly low (both parents of the boy are employed but have low-income jobs), the initial perception of Hispanics as a minority group is rather negative as they are considered to be poor and idle. This is explained by the fact that a great number of Hispanic students have to begin their school attendance without sufficient financial resources.
This is the reasons Hispanics remain one of the least educated minority groups in the country (only about 11% of Hispanics over 25 have managed to obtain a bachelor’s degree as compared to 30% of whites, 50% of Asians, and 17% of blacks) (Espinoza-Herold & Gonzalez-Carriedo, 2017). Furthermore, it is typical of Hispanic students to have weak relationships with their teachers and demonstrate unsatisfactory academic performance, mostly due to their immigrant status that places them in the position of outcasts. Generally, this ethnicity issue is rather difficult to manage since prejudice is supported by the general perception of society. However, psychotherapy and involvement in social activities that unite representatives of different ethnic groups may help reduce the stress of negative self-perception.
Another issue that is present in the case is a language barrier. Although the boy speaks English, he is far from being fluent in it, which prevents him from expressing his thoughts in a clear, comprehensible manner. He speaks in short, abrupt utterances and uses only simple phrases. This lack of language skills makes it impossible for him to share daily problems and improve academic achievements. Furthermore, he seems to be rather shy, which can also be explained by his inability to express himself properly. It can also be assumed that Andres may have difficulties establishing contact with his classmates owing to his linguistic barrier. In the majority of cases, this barrier can be removed by providing clients with the opportunity to attend extracurricular language lessons to improve his/her knowledge.
The situation may be exacerbated by the fact that the client has health problems. First and foremost, he suffers from the ADHD condition that can partially account for the absence of improvement in school subjects, inconsistency in time management, trouble remaining quiet during classes, distracted attention, inability to finish tasks, and excessive talking (Barkley, 2014). Secondly, Andres has type 1 diabetes. This disease can hardly produce any negative impact on his performance but still requires certain attention on behalf of the boy, which can make him feel uneasy. Finally, Andres is obese (the condition that frequently appears in the Hispanic minority group, especially in children) (Wong et al., 2016). Although the condition is not grave, it can still aggravate the boy’s relationships with other children and subject him to bullying. Taken into account the lack of language fluency, it might be rather challenging for Andres to defend himself. The best solution for this problem in most cases is to improve the child’s self-confidence by using psychological therapy.
In the case of Andres, it is unclear whether he experiences stress because of the ethnicity factor, language barrier, or health-related issues. His total lack of progress in studies and the inability to memorize new information may be attributed to any of the challenges that he has to overcome. Although the suggested techniques are applicable in his case, Andres may still require a separate program to address his needs. The following plan is suggested to make the intervention effective:
- Ethnicity problem is the most challenging one since it deals with the factor that cannot be modified regardless of the client’s efforts. Thus, the major task of a psychotherapist or a social worker is to teach the boy to value his identity and disregard bullying related to it. Moreover, he can also be encouraged to learn more about the American culture to facilitate adaptation to the new environment. Since it is the responsibility of the boy’s teacher to integrate students from different cultural backgrounds, it can be recommended to organize lessons of cultural education, where children will learn to appreciate the idea of diversity in practical settings (role-playing, imitation games, discussions, teamwork, etc.).
- The language barrier will also be rather hard to overcome due to ADHD, which does not allow Andres to concentrate on studies. This implies that doing a course in English will hardly produce the desired effect. The problem is also aggravated by the fact that neither of the boy’s parents can assist him in learning English due to the lack of knowledge. Thus, it is recommended for the instructor to encourage all children to bring their reading materials to the classroom (their favorite comics, magazines, books, etc.) to make the experience of learning English more enjoyable.
- Finally, the problems with the boy’s health must be addressed by his doctor. Obesity should be addressed by a proper nutrition plan whereas the issue of low concentration is possible to deal with through games related to the development of one’s memory and attentiveness (Kottman, 2014).
For assisting plan implementation, the boy’s teachers and parents may also resort to such community resources as hospitals, hobby centers for children, and language schools.
Since some areas are missed from the case, it can be assumed that the problem is at least partially in the boy’s family situation. If any kind of child abuse is revealed, it will present a considerable ethical dilemma of whether to report or not conceal the problem. On one hand, in the majority of states, no law would require disclosing the client’s personal information to outsiders unless there is an exception. Moreover, it may be rather difficult to obtain the consent of the client to disclosure. However, on the other hand, concealing the information may mean subjecting the child to further abuse and threatening his future development, self-esteem, academic success, personal life, and employment (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2016). Thus, it is highly important to select the course of action that will not only allow avoiding harm but also benefit the boy’s condition. Unfortunately, there is no universal guidance that would facilitate decision making in such cases. Thus, it must be determined what steps should be taken to resolve the problem.
Another point that has to be taken into consideration is how much informed the boy’s refusal or consent to disclose the information is. To clarify this and other issues, consultation with another professional might be required. It would be reasonable to consult the boy’s teacher since school is the place where he spends most of his time outside the home. The consultation process must include the following stages:
- finding out together with the consultant what kind of abuse the case may involve as the parents seem to be adequate and deeply concerned with the boy’s heath and academic performance;
- identifying what could be the reasons of Andres’s refusal to release this information;
- deciding whether the decision to keep the information confidential will follow the ethical principle of beneficence (doing good to the boy and others);
- deciding if this option follows the rule of non-maleficence (not harming Andres);
- deciding whether concealing the information will follow the principle of justice;
- deciding if it will show respect to the boy’s need;
- determining how both ways of action may affect the future condition of Andreas, his self-esteem, performance at school, and multicultural problems;
- choosing the most suitable strategy to report the issue to other stakeholders involved.
When both options are discussed, it is necessary to examine intervention strategies that are recommended by the consultant. Since the teacher is hardly aware of the boy’s family situation, he/she may judge his condition only relying upon his behavior in class. Thus, he/she may suggest the following intervention strategies:
- To leave the problem unattended since there is no evidence that the child’s problems are connected with abuse. This strategy may seem reasonable; however, it contradicts the non-maleficence principle in case the supposition is wrong.
- To talk to the child and try to convince him to disclose the problem. Yet this solution may aggravate the condition.
- To do deeper research into the problem and consult other bodies to be able to make an informed decision. This course of action seems to be the most appropriate one since it does not violate any of the ethical rules enumerated above. Moreover, it would allow filling the information gaps that currently exist in the case and arriving at the well-grounded solution.
The analysis of the case study allows concluding that the majority of problems Andres currently encounters can be resolved with the help of behavioral therapy. The only condition that requires medical treatment is type 1 diabetes, making it inevitable to control sugar levels and do injections if required.
Since the stage of obesity in the client is not threatening, it is enough for him to stick to a healthy diet and a more active lifestyle. There is no need for hospital treatment. However, it may be necessary for the boy to undergo psychotherapy since his self-perception is likely to be affected by bullying, which is inevitable for obese children at school, especially if they belong to minority groups.
Another problem is the Hispanic origin of the boy, which partially accounts for his unwillingness to learn and makes it difficult for him to adapt. His socioeconomic status aggravates the situation as both parents have low-income, high-risk jobs and cannot devote a lot of time to their son’s problem (even though their level of involvement is rather high).
The child is not fluent in English; this lack of knowledge negatively influences his academic achievements and socialization. Furthermore, English is not spoken at home because neither of the parents speaks it. Thus, language courses may be required for both the parents and the child. For the boy to get interested in studies, the teacher may integrate intercultural lessons into the curriculum.
The assumed ethical issue is child abuse that can account for the enumerated problems. For making an informed decision whether to report it or to let it remain confidential, it is essential to consult another professional that interacts closely with the client.
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Barkley, R. A. (Ed.). (2014). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A handbook for diagnosis and treatment (4th ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Publications.
Capuzzi, D., & Stauffer, M. D. (Eds.). (2016). Counseling and psychotherapy: Theories and interventions (6th ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Espinoza-Herold, M., & Gonzalez-Carriedo, R. (2017). Issues in Latino education: Race, school culture, and the politics of academic success. London, UK: Taylor & Francis.
Kottman, T. (2014). Play therapy: Basics and beyond (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Wong, W. W., Strizich, G., Heo, M., Heymsfield, S. B., Himes, J. H., Rock, C. L.,… Arredondo, E. M. (2016). Relationship between body fat and BMI in a US hispanic population‐based cohort study: Results from HCHS/SOL. Obesity, 24(7), 1561-1571.