Summer 2023 - PSYC 359 D100

Developmental Disabilities (3)

Class Number: 2979

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Tue, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Grace Iarocci
    Office: RCB 7318
    Office Hours: By appointment
  • 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.

Developmental disabilities such as Autism, Down syndrome, William's syndrome, social-emotional and mental health issues will be discussed


1) Understand typical and atypical development and how they are mutually informative

2) Understand major developmental disorders
Genetic or other causes
Symptoms and syndrome
Environmental conditions that interfere or support development

3) Understand theory about what causes, maintains or can improve poor developmental outcomes

4) Understand research methods used to study developmental disorders
Limitations of their use
Implications of research findings for those with disorders but also for typical development

5) understand how systems and policies (e.g., families, schools, community and government policy) affect the lives of people with disabilities


  • Term Paper/ Project: 40%
  • Midterm Exam: 30%
  • Final Exam: 30%


Lectures will be videotaped and available on Canvas



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.