Supplemental Nutrition Assistance

Miranda Coben is a 13-year-old girl who lives in a small house on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas with her mother, a younger sister, an older brother, and her father. The house is an older home, a bit run-down but, generally clean. Harper’s mother does not work. Her father drives a semi-trailer and often spends several days or weeks away from home. It is no secret to Harper and her brother that her parent’s marriage is going very badly. Recently, their fighting had started getting louder and angrier. Harper loves both of her parents, and she does not like hearing the fighting every time her dad is home. While her father was away, her mother would often spend several days in bed with depression. This means that generally, there are few rules to follow, and Harper is expected to do most things independently and be responsible for herself. Responsibilities to look after the home, prepare meals and help the youngest sibling also started to fall to Harper and her brother. They ride their bikes to buy groceries from the nearby corner store.

Harper and her brother purchase food and necessary items with their mother’s SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) allowance and the little income that her father would leave behind. Money for meals had to be stretched as far as possible, often meaning fewer expensive foods like vegetables and meat and cheaper, longer-lasting foods such as canned soup and pasta. As she must pack her own lunch, she usually just takes a packet of chips. Harper and her siblings have always had a thickset build like both of their parents and are the biggest kids in their grades. Recently, Harper has noticed that she has been putting on weight, particularly around her midsection. She has become increasingly self-conscious and perceives her stomach as flabby and not like the other girls in her class. To avoid being seen, Harper makes excuses to miss school on the day of swim classes.

Harper has been practicing her ball skills, but she has noticed that she is not as good as her peers. She would like to play soccer with her friends outside of school, but there is not enough money for the registration fees. Several kids in the neighborhood began making fun of Harper when they were playing after school and Harper found herself getting into frequent fights. Eventually, these fights started occurring at school as kids would make comments to her on the playground. Harper has already been suspended twice this year and her mother is told that if it happens again, she will be expelled. Expulsion would mean that Harper must attend a different school which her family cannot afford.

Despite these issues with her friends, Harper’s parents haven’t been able to increase their level of involvement with Harper’s schooling. They think it is Harper’s fault when her teacher speaks too quickly for her to get all the notes down in class. They have also noticed that while she is fairly good at solving problems that are directly related to her experience, she does have more trouble solving hypothetical problems or considering more abstract problems.


1. Describe any nutritional issues that may impact the case study’s current health.
2. Explain how the case’s current nutritional and exercise habits may impact risk for future illness or disease.  Identify at least one disease that may develop and explain you believe so.

3. Discuss the case’s gross or fine motor development.  Do the motor skills match developmental expectations for the case’s age? Explain.

4. Identify and explain any other physical development issue relevant for this case.  Explain your idea and how it impacts the case’s physical development.

5. Identify the appropriate Piagetian stage that best fits the case’s cognitive ability.  Explain why you believe this stage best fits this case.

6. Explain what concerns Zygotsky might identify about this case’s cognitive development.  Explain why you believe Zygotsky would think this way.

7. Identify any learning or intellectual concerns/deficits present in this case.  Name and explain the deficit.

8. Identify and explain any other cognitive development issue relevant for this case.  Explain your idea and how it impacts the case’s cognitive development.

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