Course Outline: Psychology 251

Course Information

  • Department: Psychology
  • Prepared By: Psychology Department
  • Prepared Date: Fall 2017
  • Course Title: Developmental Disabilities:  History and Service Provision
  • Course Code: PSY 251
  • Credits: 3
  • Contact Hours: 45
  • Prerequisites: Introductory Psychology
  • Required For: None
  • Elective For: All curricula with upper level social science elective.

Course Description

In this course, students will learn about the needs and challenges faced by people with developmental disabilities. The course will cover developmental disorders including, but not limited to, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities.  Students will explore the social, cognitive and behavioral limitations associated with each disorder. This course will focus on understanding the complex needs of people with developmental disorders and the value of providing them with functional, supportive, and individualized services. The course will also explore the history of service provision to people with developmental disorders, the changes that have occurred in those services over the last four decades, and current standards of care. The course will outline the ethical and legal issues involved in service provision.  Heavy emphasis will be placed on viewing developmental disabilities through functional and behavioral perspectives. Prerequisite(s):  PSY 101 Credits:  3 (3,0)

Learning Objectives

After completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Define and classify developmental disabilities:
  2. Compare patterns of typical and atypical development;
  3. Describe the history of services and the negative effects of institutionalization;
  4. Distinguish the pattern and range of severity of deficits associated with various developmental disabilities;
  5. Identify how decreased cognition, communication, social skills and emotional control impact behavior;
  6. Describe how eligibility requirements and regulatory compliance issues impact service provision;
  7. Explain how functional assessment is used to develop plans to address challenging behaviors;
  8. Describe the importance of person-centered supports and services;
  9. Develop an individualized service plan for a person with multiple disabilities.

Required Text:

  • Odom, Samuel L.: Horner, Robert H.: Snell, Martha E.; Blacher:  Handbook of Developmental Disabilities, Guildford Press, 2007
  • Abrahams, Peter, How The Brain Works:  Understanding Brain Function Thought and Personality. Metro Books, 2015.

Special needs

If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting accommodation, you need to make me aware of your needs by the end of the second class so that we can arrange for appropriate accommodations.

Grade Scale

93 - 100% A
90 - 92% A-
87 - 89% B+
83 - 86% B
80 - 82% B-
77 - 79% C+
73 - 76% C
70 - 72% C-
67 - 69% D+
60 - 66% D
0 - 59% F

Course Outline

The following is an overview of the topics to be covered in this course.  Each unit will include relevant theory, current research, and its application.

Unit 1: Overview

Lecture: What is a Developmental Disability?

Lecture: Construct of Developmental Disabilities: Past and Present

Lecture: Growth, Development, and Understanding Developmental Disabilities

Unit 2: Developmental Disabilities

Lecture: Cerebral Palsy

Lecture: Epilepsy  and  Neurological Impairments

Lecture: Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder

Lecture: Living and Aging with a Developmental Disability (part 1)

Lecture: Other Developmental and Genetic Disabilities

Lecture: Common Deficits and Service Needs

Unit 3: Determining Services

Lecture: Determining eligibility for and obtaining OPWDD Services

Lecture: Regulatory standards and 5 Governing Principles of Working with People with ID/DD  

Lecture: Assessment: Understanding and Addressing Challenging Behavior

Lecture: Assessment: Adult Issues Determining and Providing Appropriate Support

Unit 4: Service Plans Lecture: Developing a Service Plan

Lecture: Person - Centered Planning 

Lecture: Person Centered Planning 

Lecture:  PCP and Personal Outcome Measures

Lecture: Developing a Service Plan:  The Interdisciplinary Team

Group Work:  Develop a service plan in small groups