Fall 2019 - PSYC 359 D100

Developmental Disabilities (3)

Class Number: 9891

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    PSYC 201 and PSYC 250 (or PSYC 241).



Developmental disorders and disabilities. Topics include genes and environment, peer and parent-child relationships, social attitudes, diversity, ethical issues, and behavioural therapies. Students who have credit for PSYC 391, Selected Topics in Psychology:Developmental Disabilities, may not take this course for further credit.


Developmental disability is an essential area of study for both students interested in the development of children generally and those interested in promoting the development of children with developmental disabilities. In this course we will cover controversial debates about the role of genes and environments in typical and atypical development, the role of peer and parent-child relationships in shaping development. Social attitudes and policies with regard to diversity and ethical issues surrounding genetic screening and behavioural therapies will also be discussed. Select developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum and Down’s syndrome are reviewed and discussed with regard to diagnosis, assessment and developmental trajectories. We will discuss clinical interventions considering the “whole child” within the context of families, communities, and societies. Best suited for students with prior course work in developmental psychology or developmental psychopathology.


·       Students acquire an understanding of the history and achievements in the field of developmental disabilities.
·       Students develop a deeper understanding of the link between theory and research.
·       Students acquire expertise in research methods and evaluating evidence.
·       Students become familiar with diagnostic systems, criteria and limitations.
·       Students gain understanding of the whole person with disability throughout the lifespan
·       Students contextualize developmental disabilities within social systems.


  • Tentative Evaluation:
  • Critical review paper (10 pages): 35%
  • Group Oral Debate (individually marked): 30%
  • Class tests (2): 35%



There is no required text. We will use selected articles and chapters.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html