Fall 2020 - PSYC 359 D100

Developmental Disabilities (3)

Class Number: 3164

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • 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.


This course will be taught with a combination of asynchronous and synchronous content. All synchronous content will fall within the scheduled meeting times.

What are the strengths and limitations to current screening and diagnostic tools? What are the roles of parents and family members in supporting their child with a disability? What are inclusive and culturally sensitive research methods used to study developmental disabilities? What should an ethical health system aspire to achieve (reduce premature death, improve QoL)?

This course explores developmental disabilities and the role that families, education systems, health care systems, and government policies play in impacting outcomes for individuals with disability. Concepts such as risk and resilience, continuities vs. discontinuities, and developmental psychopathology will be discussed. This course will provide a comprehensive overview of some of the most common developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and an introduction to rare disorders such as Prader Willi syndrome. We will discuss the causes, characteristics, considerations for assessment, and evidence-based interventions for each of these DD. This course will emphasize and present recent scientific literature on each condition as well as current understandings of each developmental disability, etiology, symptoms, and interventions.

Lecture recordings will be posted every Tuesday

Tests will be held on Wed 9:30am-12:20pm PST


  • Test 1 will be held on October 19, 2020 (9:30am-12:00 PST): 25%
  • Test 2 (non-cumulative) will be held on November 30, 2020 (9:30am-12:00 PST): 25%
  • Discussion Board Participation: 15%
  • Group Project: 15%
  • Critical Review Paper: 20%


Discussion Board Activities 15%

Discussion questions will be posted on Monday, you have until Thursday (before 11:59pm) of the same week to post your response (150 words or less). Then you must reply to the response of another student in your class by Sunday of the same week (before 11:59pm) in 50 words or less. There will be 8 discussions for the entire course each out of 5 points and together will make up 15% of your final grade.


Group Project – 15%


Critical Review Paper – 20%

You will be assigned a peer-reviewed paper in the field of developmental disabilities to critically review. This will be 8 pages long.



There is no textbook for this course. Weekly readings will be posted on canvas.

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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).