Skip to main content


PSY3041 : Sensation & Perception in Atypical Development

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Mrs Tascha Clapperton
  • Lecturer: Professor Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0



To introduce students to the research area of atypical sensory processing.
To guide students in developing knowledge and insight into the various approaches to understanding sensory integration.
To encourage critical evaluation of the main research methods used to assess sensory processing difficulties.
Take an interdisciplinary approach – as research into sensory processing in atypical development involves developmental, social and neurological perspectives.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module begins with a general overview of sensory processing in typical development. We then move on to explore differences in sensory processing in atypical development, specifically in autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We will evaluate the social, developmental and perceptual consequences of various sensory difficulties experienced by particular clinical groups, and the different methods of assessment. We will also consider different therapies currently available to individuals with sensory difficulties. Finally, using knowledge of the sensory processing difficulties of clinical groups, students will work in groups to design a tool / learning resource to help alleviate sensory difficulties or improvement sensory integration.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion104:0040:00Reading around lectures each week
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion15:005:00Preparing and writing trial essay for exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion121:0021:00Preparing for the final examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Seminars on lecture topics. Guide group task ideas for tool design.
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity110:0010:00Preparing student poster presentations
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Teaching Rationale and Relationship

The early weeks of teaching will be double lectures from the module leader. We then move to a series of weeks with a balance of occasional single lectures and student-led seminars. Student small groups (3-4 in each) will develop a tool / learning resource or intervention based on the theoretical knowledge of sensory processing difficulties.

The module leader will introduce the main topic areas, and will set the students tasks of integrating material across different approaches. Interactive discussion will aid them in developing their ideas for designing a tool / resource, and in preparation for their poster presentations. The poster presentation, which will form 30% of the assessed component of the module evaluation, will be an important means of testing the knowledge and skills outcomes for this module.

Private and self-study is encouraged to think critically about published research exploring typical and atypical sensory processing and assessment of sensory difficulties

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70Unseen exam (answer 2 essay questions from choice of 5) – see further comments below
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster2M3015-20 minute oral presentation (length dependent upon student numbers) – see further comments below
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Exam Information:
Unseen examination (answer two essay-based exam questions from choice of five. All questions will be set to require use of material beyond a single lecture delivered by the Module leader to gain a high mark)

Other Assessment:
The poster presentation will be by a small group of students (3-4)
Assessment of each individual student will be marked as poor (35), satisfactory (45), good (55), very good (65), excellent (75) on:
Personal presentation style and poster format; quality of content; originality of tool design; contribution to the group (assessed in addition with a peer contribution form).
A single categorical mark per student will be derived from these scores and will comprise 30% of the module assessment.

Assessment rationale and relationship:
The poster presentation will partially assess knowledge outcomes and significantly assess the skills outcomes – synthesising information, innovation through design, research of current literature, team working, communication and presentation skills. The unseen examination will mainly assess the knowledge outcomes.

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

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