Psychology 2043A 650 FW23

Exceptional Children: Developmental Disorders

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.



LONDON               CANADA

Department of Psychology

Fall/Winter 2023-2024


Psychology 2043A Section 650

Exceptional Children: Developmental Disorders




This half course will cover theory and treatment related to major childhood disorders affecting learning and development, including autism, learning disabilities, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and physical handicaps.


Antirequisites: Psychology 2041, Psychology 2320A/B, Psychology 3320F/G, Psychology 3434E

Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. If you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course.


Prerequisite: Not Applicable

3 lecture hours; Course Weight: 0.5




Instructor: Sarah Smits-Bandstra, PhD

Office and Phone Number: no office, 647-407-4154

Office Hours: by appointment on Mondays 12:30-2:30 pm (on Zoom), or email to schedule an alternate appointment on Zoom.

*Beginning September 11th



Teaching Assistant: TBA


Office Hours:



Time and Location of Classes: Asynchronous      

Delivery Method: Virtual (recorded video lectures on OWL course webpage)


This is a fully online course that will use Western University’s learning platform, OWL (Sakai) and other educational resources based on the needs of the course. This class is designed to be asynchronous, meaning we will not have a regular, mandatory time when the entire class must be online.  All exams, however, will take place synchronously on-line, and will be proctored remotely with Proctortrack.  There may also be synchronous activities that you will sign up for based on your own schedule, including office hour appointments with the professor or T.A. 


Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness @Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.


Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also contact Accessible Education at  or 519-661-2147.


2.1 Online Learning Notice:
Please note: For courses delivered in an online format, include an online component, or are required to pivot online, students must have a reliable internet connection and computer that are compatible with online learning system requirements. Some courses may also require the use of a remote proctoring platform to ensure assessments are taken fairly in accordance with Western’s policy on Scholastic Discipline for Undergraduate Students and Scholastic Discipline for Graduate Students.



Gallagher, J. J., Coleman, M. R., Kirk, S. A. (2022). Educating Exceptional Children (15th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Hard Cover ISBN: 9780357625231, EBook ISBN: 9780357625279


E-book or textbook are both fine.  

“MINDTAP” E-learning supplements are not required and will not be used in the course.  

This edition of the textbook (15th) is critical for success in the class.  You will need it to follow along with the online lectures and complete the assignments and class discussions.  This text was chosen because it is a comprehensive overview of the causes, prevalence, symptoms/characteristics and evidence-based interventions for children with exceptionalities. It also presents critical information about cultural sensitivity for assessment and intervention methods.




Course objectives: Overview

Learning Outcome

Learning Activity


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge.

Learning Outcome

1.      Gain an understanding of how exceptional children are defined today, current controversies, and current educational strategies. Learn about how this differs historically and globally, and what forces shape this  

Learning Outcome

2.      Identify high and low incident exceptionalities, describe their causes, characteristics, and considerations for interventions (e.g., Autism, ADHD, vision impairment, etc.)

Complete readings

Participate in discussion forum

PowerPoint Lecture

Independent research for application assignment


Forum discussion


Application Assignment

Knowledge of Methodologies.

Learning Outcome

1.      Identify the tools/techniques used to identify and assess potential exceptionalities. Critique their cross-cultural appropriateness. 

Learning Outcome

2.      Develop a sense of methods used in basic research (i.e., twin studies, fMRI, etc.)

Complete readings

Participate in forum discussion

PowerPoint Lecture

Independent research for application assignment 

Forum discussion


Application Assignment

Application of Knowledge.

Learning Outcome

1.      Apply knowledge by designing an assessment and/or intervention protocol for a case study

Complete readings

Participate in forum discussion

PowerPoint Lecture

 Independent research for application assignment

Forum Discussion

Application Assignment

Communication Skills.

Learning Outcome

1.      Communicate current knowledge and ongoing open questions through an oral or written format

Participate in discussion forum

Independent research for application assignment

Forum Discussion

Application Assignment




The evaluation and testing formats for this course were created to assess the learning objectives as listed in section 4.0 and are considered necessary for meeting these learning objectives.


Syllabus Quiz, open book, online, OWL, multiple choice                          1% of total grade

“Introduction” forum post, online, OWL                                                   1% of total grade

Midterm Exam, open book, online, OWL, multiple choice based on Chapters 1, 3, 4, 5 & 6 and special education readings, Proctortrack Required                                            34% of total grade

Final Exam, open book, online, OWL, multiple choice based on all cumulative readings, Proctortrack Required                                                                                     40% of total grade

Forum post discussions will require analysis and evaluation of content presented in the readings and lectures to help you process and learn the material in a meaningful way, 2 posts of 6% each                                                                                                                               12% of total grade

Application Assignment, apply knowledge to write assessment and intervention plans for case studies.  Students will be randomly assigned to a “due date group”.  There is one assignment, and you will write it independently, not in a group.  The group only indicates your due date (e.g., Group A due date is Nov 6).                                                                                              12% of total grade




Syllabus Quiz: Late submissions will be given zero.

Exams: Missed midterm or final exams will be given zero unless documentation is provided to your academic counselor (See section 11 below).  Make up exams will be scheduled for students with approval from Academic Counseling.

Introduction and Forum Posts: Late discussions will lose 10% per day.

Application Assignment: Late assignments will lose 10% per day.

Extra Credit Assignment: Late submissions will not be accepted.


The expectation for course grades within the Psychology Department is that they will be distributed around the following averages:


70%     1000-level to 2099-level courses

72%     2100-2999-level courses

75%     3000-level courses

80%     4000-level courses


The Psychology Department follows Western’s grading guidelines, which are as follows (see:


A+        90-100              One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level

A          80-89                Superior work that is clearly above average

B          70-79                Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory

C          60-69                Competent work, meeting requirements

D          50-59                Fair work, minimally acceptable

F          below 50           Fail


Note that in the event that course grades are significantly higher or lower than these averages, instructors may be required to make adjustments to course grades. Such adjustment might include the normalization of one or more course components and/or the re-weighting of various course components.


Policy on Grade Rounding: Please note that although course grades within the Psychology Department are rounded to the nearest whole number, no further grade rounding will be done. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade; nor will requests to change a grade because it is needed for a future program be considered. To maximize your grade, do your best on each and every assessment within the course.




Forum Posts: Due by 11:55 pm on dates shown on class schedule in Section 7.0

Assignment: Due by 11:55 pm on dates shown on class schedule in Section 7.0

Midterm: Oct 23 at 7pm-9:30pm

Final Exam: TBA (exam period Dec 10 - Dec 22)




Week               Topic and Reading                                                        Due


7 Sept              Introduction to the course/syllabus                                


11 Sept             Chapter 1: Exceptional Children and their families          



18 Sept             PDF readings: History and Social Forces in Special Education    

Syllabus Quiz

Due Sept 18 at 11:55pm


                                                                                                            Due Sept 18 at 11:55 pm

25 Sept             Chapter 3: Early Intervention                                        


2 Oct                Chapter 4: Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities     Forum Post # 1

                                                                                                            Due Oct 3 at 11:55 pm

10 Oct              Chapter 5: Autism Spectrum Disorders                          

(Oct 9 is Thanksgiving holiday) 


16 Oct             Chapter 6: Learning Disabilities                                     Forum Post # 2

                                                                                                            Due Oct 17 at 11:55pm

23-24 Oct         Midterm Oct 23 7pm – 9:30 pm 


Oct 30- Nov 5   Fall Break


6 Nov               Chapter 7: ADHD                                                          Assignment Due Date Group A


13 Nov             Chapter 9: Communication Disorders                             Assignment Due Date Group B


20 Nov             Chapter 10: Special Gifts and Talents                            Assignment Due Date Group C  


27 Nov             Chapter 11: Deaf and Heard of Hearing                          Assignment Due Date Group D


4 Dec               Chapter 12: Visual Impairments                                     Extra Credit Assignment

(Due Dec 4 at 11:55pm)

Final Exam (Between Dec 10-22) (cumulative)              



8.0  Land Acknowledgement


We acknowledge that Western University is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Attawandaron peoples, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum.


With this, we respect the longstanding relationships that Indigenous Nations have to this land, as they are the original caretakers. We acknowledge historical and ongoing injustices that Indigenous Peoples (e.g. First Nations, Métis and Inuit) endure in Canada, and we accept responsibility as a public institution to contribute toward revealing and correcting miseducation, as well as renewing respectful relationships with Indigenous communities through our teaching, research and community service.





Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offences. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offences because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offence are described at the following link:


As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offences. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and (


Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams will be subject to submission for similarity review by software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating.


In classes that involve the use of a personal response system (PRS), data collected using the PRS will only be used in a manner consistent to that described in this outline. It is the instructor’s responsibility to make every effort to ensure that data remain confidential. However, students should be aware that as with all forms of electronic communication, privacy is not guaranteed. Your PRS login credentials are for your sole use only. Students attempting to use another student’s credentials to submit data through the PRS may be subject to academic misconduct proceedings.


Possible penalties for a scholastic offence include failure of the assignment/exam, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.



Tests and examinations for online courses will be conducted using a remote proctoring service. By taking this course, you are consenting to the use of this software and acknowledge that you will be required to provide personal information (including some biometric data) and the session will be recorded.  Completion of this course will require you to have a reliable internet connection and a device that meets the technical requirements for this service. More information about this remote proctoring service, including technical requirements, is available on Western’s Remote Proctoring website at:

In the event that in-person exams are unexpectedly canceled, you may only be given notice of the use of a proctoring service a short time in advance.



Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at:


If you experience an extenuating circumstance (e.g., illness, injury) sufficiently significant to temporarily make you unable to meet academic requirements, you may request accommodation through the following routes:

  1. For medical absences, submitting a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner in order to be eligible for Academic Consideration;
  2. For non-medical absences, submitting appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in their Faculty of registration in order to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate.


Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation.


Students seeking academic consideration:

  • are advised to consider carefully the implications of postponing tests or midterm exams or delaying handing in work;  
  • must communicate with their instructors no later than 24 hoursafter the end of the period covered SMC, or immediately upon their return following a documented absence


Students seeking accommodation for religious purposes are advised to contact Academic Counselling at least three weeks prior to the religious event and as soon as possible after the start of the term.


12.0      Contingency Plan for Return to Lockdown: IN-Person & Blended classes


In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence or any other event that necessitates the course delivery moving away from face-to-face interaction, all remaining course content will be delivered entirely online, either synchronously (i.e., at the times indicated in the timetable) or asynchronously (e.g., posted on OWL for students to view at their convenience). The grading scheme will not change. Any remaining assessments will also be conducted online, as determined by the course instructor.




In courses involving online interactions, the Psychology Department expects students to honour the following rules of etiquette:

  • please “arrive” to class on time
  • please use your computer and/or laptop if possible (as opposed to a cell phone or tablet)
  • please ensure that you are in a private location to protect the confidentiality of discussions in the event that a class discussion deals with sensitive or personal material
  • to minimize background noise, kindly mute your microphone for the entire class until you are invited to speak, unless directed otherwise
  • In classes larger than 30 participants please turn off your video camera for the entire class unless you are invited to speak
  • In classes of 30 students or fewer, where video chat procedures are being used, please be prepared to turn your video camera off at the instructor’s request if the internet connection becomes unstable
  • Unless invited by your instructor, do not share your screen in the meeting


The course instructor will act as moderator for the class and will deal with any questions from participants. To participate please consider the following:

  • If you wish to speak, use the “raise hand” function and wait for the instructor to acknowledge you before beginning your comment or question.
  • Please remember to unmute your microphone and turn on your video camera before speaking.
  • Self-identify when speaking.
  • Please remember to mute your mic and turn off your video camera after speaking (unless directed otherwise).


General considerations of “netiquette”:

  • Keep in mind the different cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the students in the course.
  • Be courteous toward the instructor, your colleagues, and authors whose work you are discussing.
  • Be respectful of the diversity of viewpoints that you will encounter in the class and in your readings. The exchange of diverse ideas and opinions is part of the scholarly environment. “Flaming” is never appropriate.
  • Be professional and scholarly in all online postings. Use proper grammar and spelling. Cite the ideas of others appropriately.


Note that disruptive behaviour of any type during online classes, including inappropriate use of the chat function, is unacceptable. Students found guilty of Zoom-bombing a class or of other serious online offenses may be subject to disciplinary measures under the Code of Student Conduct.




Office of the Registrar: 


Student Development Services:


Psychology Undergraduate Program:


If you wish to appeal a grade, please read the policy documentation at:

Please first contact the course instructor. If your issue is not resolved, you may make your appeal to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology (


Copyright Statement: Lectures and course materials, including power point presentations, outlines, videos and similar materials, are protected by copyright. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. You may not record lectures, reproduce (or allow others to reproduce), post or distribute any course materials publicly and/or for commercial purposes without the instructor’s written consent.


Policy on the Recording of Synchronous Sessions: Some or all of the remote learning sessions for this course (if scheduled) may be recorded. The data captured during these recordings may include your image, voice recordings, chat logs and personal identifiers (name displayed on the screen). The recordings will be used for educational purposes related to this course, including evaluations. The recordings may be disclosed to other individuals participating in the course for their private or group study purposes. Please contact the instructor if you have any concerns related to session recordings. Participants in this course are not permitted to privately record the sessions, except where recording is an approved accommodation, or the student has the prior written permission of the instructor.