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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 28/03/2022 11:31:05

Title of Module: Atypical Child Development

Code: PSYC10019 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:C  Ballantyne

Summary of Module

This level ten module will examine the psychological perspective on understanding cognitive and social development in infants, children, and young people (and in some cases adults) with intellectual/developmental disabilities including autism, fragile X syndrome, down’s syndrome, ADHD, William’s Syndrome and foetal alcohol syndrome. The module will begin by looking at the traditional developmental models and how well they fit with developmental disability. An overview of the different developmental disorders and the theory that underpins our understanding of them will be given, however this will be in much more depth as we cover key topics.


The course will focus on both past and present research of both typical development and atypical development and the implications of developmental disabilities in young people’s lives including their social well-being, education, family life etc. Throughout, there will be an awareness of the methodological and ethical issues surrounding research in this field.

The module teaches key ‘I am UWS’ graduate attributes;

-Universal attributes – critical thinker, ethically aware and socially responsible

-Work-ready attributes – knowledgeable and motivated

-Successful attributes – incisive and resilient

  • Overview of disorders of development including; Autism, Fragile X Syndrome, Down’s Syndrome, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, ADHD and William’s Syndrome.

  • Atypical cognitive and social development.

  • The impact of developmental disorders on the everyday lives of affected children and families including education, peer relationships, family bonds and work.

  • Understanding both the methodological and ethical issues that arise when conducting research in groups with developmental disorders.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Critically evaluate key themes and methodologies within developmental psychology.

L2. Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the specific topic being investigated, making reference to theory and empirical evidence.

L3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the existing literature in atypical development.

L4. Students will show a critical understanding of the importance of cross–syndrome comparisons and the methodological issues associated with them.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 10.

Understanding the application of psychological theories, methods and concepts to contemporary issues in atypical developmental psychology.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Understanding the application of developmental psychology research and the ethical issues that surround atypical developmental psychology.

Utilising skills to critique for interventions.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Developing the ability to identify relevant, contemporary sources of information relevant to atypical developmental psychology.

Demonstrating the ability to critically evaluate developmental psychology research.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Communicating effectively in verbal and written presentations.

Developing the ability to summarise and interpret atypical developmental psychology literature.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Applying Psychology Methods
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
This module will be delivered using a hybrid approach in which students are encouraged to engage with the module through three learning activities, presented both synchronously and asynchronously. Students will be encouraged to engage asynchronously with pre-recorded lecture content designed to provide students with an overview of the topic area. Pre-recorded lecture material will be complimented with a series of asynchronous and synchronous activities to be undertaken in the student's own time or by the students/instructor simultaneously as appropriate.

This module will be delivered by lectures and seminars. The main theories and concepts relevant to atypical developmental psychology will be presented in the lectures whilst the seminars will provide the opportunity for examining selected topics in more detail. The seminars will also provide the students with the opportunity to identify and address some of their own learning needs, within a student-centred learning approach and further information will be available via the VLE
A central element in the students’ learning experience will be their engagement with current methodical practices and issues in atypical developmental psychology, from both psychological journals. A prime focus during the module will be the study of practical application of the theory to issues that affect children growing up with developmental disabilities. This can include peer interactions, parental stress and classroom learning behaviour among others.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery12
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity24
Independent Study161
Asynchronous Class Activity3
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Developmental Science

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Journal of Intellectual Disability Research

Research in Developmental Disabilities

Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

And other relevant journals and textbooks

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardPsychology & Social Work
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUg/Pg Psychology
ModeratorA Robertson
External ExaminerS Langton
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
A written course for e.g. an essay worth 40%
Online open book Exam worth 60%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck mark 400

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Class test (written) check markcheck markcheck mark600
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.