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PSY3027 : Disorders of Development: A Psychological Perspective

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Helen St Clair-Thompson
  • Lecturer: Professor Jacqueline Rodgers, Dr Cristina Dye
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to provide an advanced understanding of the way that typical development may be disrupted by disorders of development; focusing on the origins of these disorders (e.g. genetic or non-genetic basis) and the way they can affect psychological functioning (e.g. cognition and behaviour).
This module therefore aims to:

- Enable students to understand key developmental disorders that can disrupt typical development and their impact upon psychological functioning.
- Introduce students to the main methods used in the psychological study of disorders of development.
- Improve understanding of not only atypical developmental processes but also typical pathways of development.
- Enable students to compare and contrast the psychological profiles of individuals with different disorders of development.
- Utilise a variety of teaching methods, including encouraging interaction and discussion during lectures

Outline Of Syllabus

Students will cover a broad range of topics / disorders of development throughout the module. For example studies of cognition, behaviour and psychopathology of autsim spectrum disorder and related development disorders will be a key focus of the module.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Preparation and completion of assignment 1, draft essay & short answers for formative feedback x2
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00Interactive lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading140:0040:00Reading and researching papers provided on BlackBoard
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1106:00106:00Revising and exploring lecture notes
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching session is a one 2-hour slot per teaching week.

Lectures will introduce core concepts for the study of disorders of development. Throughout the module students will gain an insight into the diverse nature of disorders of development that will allow them to think critically about the possible differences between a typically developing populations. The nature of presentation throughout the lectures encourages extensive peer interactions, support and discussion.

Private and self study is encouraged to think critically about published research exploring cognition and behavioural phenotypes associated with disorders of development.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A75Unseen examination (complete 2 essay questions)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M25Critical Evaluation Essay (3 short essay answers critiquing a key paper in the area, as set by the module leader).
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Additional Assessment information:

Written Examination:

The unseen examination will show if students have managed to extract and combine the relevant information presented across various lectures in order to formulate a coherent ‘story’ or ‘argument’. The questions are designed so that a satisfactory answer cannot be achieved by focusing on only one disorder of development, but they require the student to pull together / compare / contract aspects of different disorders of development.

Coursework Essay::

Students will complete a critical assessment of a published paper. The critical assessment coursework essay will allow students the opportunity to illustrate how they have mastered the main methodological challenges arising in this field of investigation. Three questions will be asked and students will be required to evaluate aspects of the i) introduction / rationale, ii) method / design and iii) results / conclusions. Each answer must be a maximum of 500 words (the full written exercise will be a maximum of 1500 words).

These methods of assessment (an exam plus coursework essay) support student learning by encouraging wider reading / critical analysis skills and assimilation of arguments based on theory and evidence.

Students must gain an overall pass across the two assessments (a combined grade of greater than 40%).

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

The form of assessment will not vary from the original.

Reading Lists