Psychology 2043A-650 (online)

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.


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, 2320A/B, 3320F/G, 3434E

Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit.  So, 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.

0.5 course


Instructor:  Sarah Smits-Bandstra, Ph.D., Reg. CASLPO

Office and Phone Number: 647-407-4154 (no office)

Office Hours: Online (skype, email facetime) or by phone Mondays and Fridays 9 am – 300 pm (or by appointment).


Connecting with the Course Instructor:

  • When you email me, you can expect a response within 2 business days (Sat, Sun and holidays do not count). I will do my best to respond immediately on Mondays and Fridays between 9 AM and 230 PM.
  • I plan to grade the discussion posts and assignments within 5 business days of when the assignment is completed to leave you with time to incorporate instructor feedback into your next assignment. You will be expected to carefully review feedback and apply suggestions for improvement. Feedback is given to support your success and develop your skills.
  • You can use the “Self-Review” questions to prepare for each exam. Be sure to complete your Self-Review early so you have time to ask questions or do research for your exams. It is not realistic to expect an email response from me one hour before an exam. 
  • You can post any questions you have on the online forum “I Have a Question…”. If is it urgent, email me instead.
  • I will do my very best to meet the above deadlines for feedback unless I have exceptional circumstances (in which case, you will receive notification of when to expect a response).

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit: for more information on these resources and on mental health.

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 wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.


Kirk, S., Gallagher, J., Coleman, M. R., & Anastasiow, N. (2015). Educating Exceptional Children (14th edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

ISBN-13: 978-1-285-45134-3, or ISBN-10:1-285-45134-1. 

This textbook 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 culturally sensitive for assessment and intervention methods.


By the end of this course, the successful student should be able to:

  1. Identify seminal legislation regarding education of children with exceptionalities in Canada.
  2. Describe culturally sensitive techniques and/or instruments for comprehensive assessment of children with exceptionalities.
  3. Evaluate the strengths and challenges of children with exceptionalities including consideration of assessment information, culture and wider social context.
  4. Identify relevant evidence-based intervention strategies for modification of the educational setting and the wider social context of children with exceptionalities.
  5. Describe the causes, characteristics, and considerations for assessment and intervention specific to common exceptionalities experienced by children (e.g., ADHD, vision impairment, autism).




Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages:

70%     1000-level and 2000-level courses
72%     2190-2990 level courses
75%     3000-level courses
80%     4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows the University of Western Ontario 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

Below are activities you must complete to be successful in this course.

  • Syllabus scavenger hunt (1%)
  • Exams (3 exams worth 20% each or 60% of your final grade)
  • Assignments (2 assignments worth 15% each or 30% of your final grade)
  • Post and Reply to Class Discussions (3 discussions worth 3% each or 9% of your final grade).

Syllabus Scavenger Hunt: (1% of your final grade). You are required to review the syllabus so you know what to do if you need support, an extension, if you are sick or absent, and where to concentrate your energy and time to get the best learning outcome.

Exams: Three exams (20% each, or a total of 60% of your final grade), which will cover the readings and lecture material. They will consist of multiple choice. Exams are non-cumulative however concepts in later lectures build on those that we learned in the early classes.

Assignments: Two written assignments (15% each, or a total of 30% of your final grade).  These assignments will require analysis and evaluation of content presented in the readings and lectures to help you process and learn the material in a more meaningful way. Each assignment will be a 500-word essay (single space, 12pt font, Times New Roman) presenting assessment and intervention ideas for a case study of a child with exceptionalities.  The class will be divided into 3 groups.  Group 1 will have the earliest due dates for assignments, Group 2 will have the middle due dates and Group 3 will have the latest due dates for assignments.

Class Discussion:  Three class discussions (3% each, or a total of 9% of your final grade).  Students will be divided into small discussion groups.  You will be required to post your personal reflections on course material and reply to other students within your group.


EXAM ONE: Saturday Sept 30, 9-11am, UCC 146

EXAM TWO: Saturday November 4, 9-11am, UCC 146


Make-ups for missed exams are handled by the Academic Counsellor’s office, not by the professor.  They are provided only in cases of illness on the day of the exam, or for compassionate reasons.  No make-up exams without proper documentation).


Email or call 519.661.2011 to schedule an appointment with an Academic Counsellor.  Please include your student number and the reason for the appointment. 


All Supplementary lecture material will be delivered through OWL.  All class requirements (e.g., scavenger hunt, discussions, assignments) are due on Monday at midnight.  Every Monday class materials will be posted on our class website. You are expected to login to Owl every week and read the assigned reading every week.







Unit 1


Introduction to the Course




Unit 1


Exceptional Children and their Families

Chapter 1



Unit 1


History, and Social Forces in Special Education

Ontario Ministry of Education PDF Reading Package on OWL

Midnight Sept 18 Class Discusssion One Syllab. Scav. Hunt

Midnight Sept 18 Class Discusssion One Syllab. Scav. Hunt

Unit 1


Early Intervention Supports and Services

Chapter 3

Practice Questions          (don't hand in)

Practice Questions          (don't hand in)

Unit 1 Exam

Saturday Sept 30 at 9 am, UCC 146



Midnight Oct 2nd   Class Discussion Two

Midnight Oct 2nd   Class Discussion Two

Unit 2


Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Chapters 4



Unit 2


Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Chapter 5

Group 1: Assignment One Due Oct 16


Unit 2


Children with Learning Disabilities

Chapter 6

Group 2: assignment one due Oct 23

Midnight Oct 23         Class Disussion Three

Unit 2


Children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders

Chapter 7

Group 3: assignment one due Oct 30  Practice Questions          (don't hand in)

Practice Questions          (don't hand in)

Unit 2 Exam

Saturday Nov 4 at       9 am, UCC 146





Unit 3


Children with Communication, Language, and Speech Disorders

Chapter 9

Midnight Nov 13                   Class Discussion Three

Midnight Nov 13                   Class Discussion Four

Unit 3


Children with Special Gifts and Talents

Chapter 10

Group 1: assignment two due Nov 20


Unit 3


Children with Hearing Impairments

Chapter 11

Group 2: assignment two due Nov 27

Midnight Nov 27                   Class Discussion Five

Unit 3


Children with Visual Impairments

Chapter 12

Group 3: assignment two due Dec 4


Unit 3




Practice Questions          (don't hand in)

Midnight Dec 4     Class Discussion 6        Practice Questions          (don't hand in)

Unit 3             Final Exam







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

As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offenses. 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

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


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

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


Office of the Registrar web site:

Student Development Services web site:

Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:

- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Documentation
- Academic Concerns
- 2017 Calendar References

No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.