A Little Bit About Me
Class Information
Psy 208 Syllabus
Psy 136 Syllabus
Psy 101 Syllabus
Psy 200 Syllabus
Psy 215 Syllabus
ORI 100 Syllabus
PSY 215 ALP Syllabus
PSY 136 ALP Syllabus
PSY 204 Syllabus

Psychology of the Exceptional Child

PSY 208

Course Syllabus


 I. Basic Course Information


A. Course Title:             Psychology of the Exceptional Child
B. Course Number:       PSY 208
C. Credit Hours:            3
D. Prerequisite:            None - Sugested: Psy 101 & Eng 101
E. Instructor:                 Francis P. O’Neill, MA
Email:                           foneill@mc3.edu
Phone:                          610-718-1842
Office Hours:                By Appointment



A. Required Text:                                            Abnormal Child Psychology

Eric J. Mash & David A. Wolfe 2nd Edition 2002 Wadsworth Press

B. Supplementary Reading Material:              Provided by instructor

C. In Class Video:                                            Films and video tapes provided by instructor

D. Interview Assignments:                               Supplied by student independent from the class room setting.


This course provides a survey of human differences such as learning disabilities, mental retardation, giftedness, physical and emotional impairments and cultural differences. Cultural and social influence upon children's cognitive, social, emotional and physical development from birth through adolescence will be discussed. Educational implications at each developmental level are also considered.


This course is designed to foster knowledge, skills, and attitudes which will assist human service workers and others to become more effective in their dealings with exceptional individuals. The course will emphasize the cultural and familial factors that impact upon the self-concept and functioning of the exceptional individual..

Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

A. Differentiate among the various areas of exceptionalities: intellectual, sensorial, physical, and behavioral.
B. Discuss educational implications of exceptional children at each development level.
C. Identify the various standards utilized to determine mental retardation and the corresponding classifications.
D. Describe the various psycho-social factors associated with deviance.
E. Identify the family and personal dynamics affecting the exceptional individual.
F. Outline the major issues related to providing for the exceptional child.
G. Describe the standards utilized to identify gifted children.
H. List the standards used to identify the learning disabled.
I. Compare and contrast the creative individual to the gifted individual.
J. Compare the major issues surrounding the visually handicapped and the aurally handicapped.
K. Describe the issues related to the education of children with emotional and behavioral problems.
L. Identify the cultural issues affecting psycho-social development.

V. Teaching Methods: Class lecture, group discussions, review of testing material and several forms of visual information i.e. video, overheads, Power Point, handouts, etc.


Grading System:

90 -100 = A      

80 - 89 = B

70 - 79 = C  

60 - 69 = B       

0 - 59 = F


Note: Students are advised to review the College catalog with respect to the F and W grades.

VII. Evaluation Procedures

 A. Exams: There will be 3 major exams and one final (the final will carry double the weight of the exams) each exam will consist of multiple choice, true false and essay questions with the possibility of extra credit questions added at the end of the test. If a student misses an exam the possibility of a make-up is strictly on the basis of a medical or other serious reason at the discretion of the instructor. If there is a medical reason then a doctors excuse must be presented. You must take the final on the date the final is given or before, there will be no make-ups for the final. 

B. Grading: 

  1. 3 exams worth 100 points each (extra credit poss.)                 300+pts
  2. Class participation                                                                   25 pts
  3. Article Assignment                                                                   75 pts
  4. Life Review Assignment and Presentation                              100 pts
  5. Movie Assignment #1                                                               100 pts
  6. Final Exam                                                                              200 pts

All points will be added up and divided by 8

Grades will be based on the final grade breakdown. There will NOT BE A CURVE. This means that everyone has the possibility of getting an "A".

No “I" (incomplete) grades will be submitted for this course. It is paramount that all test and assignments be completed before the course ending date. No exceptions unless there is a medical emergency!

VIII. Participation and Attendance: So that you can get the most out of the class you need to be present for the majority of the sessions. It is also important to interact in the classroom discussions and exercises. Most formal learning will come from the classroom interaction. All extra credit test questions will be taken from classroom lecture material!

After 6 absences you will drop one letter grade 3 more absences (total 9 absences) and you will receive a failing grade for this class.

Excessive lateness/tardiness is to be avoided, but it’s better to be late than absent. If you are late, after roll is taken, you need to see the instructor immediately after class to be counted as being present for class. 3 times late equals one absence.  

Make-up exams are only able to be taken after approval of the instructor and must be completed within one week after the date that the exam was given or a zero grade will be on record for that exam.

IX. Other Information

A. Reading: It is VERY important that you complete the reading for each day on the course schedule BEFORE you come to class that day. The most important goal for the class is for you to have fun while learning about psychology. But to do this, you’ll have to stay on top of the reading (and there’s a lot). Take note that class lectures will not reiterate the text book, but will be used to enhance the selections read.

B. Official Withdraw from Class

bullet Failure to attend a class may lead to a grade of an “F”, it will not constitute an automatic withdraw from class. After the drop period expires you will not receive a “W” unless you can document extenuating circumstances which prevent you from completing the class.
bullet If you are having problems contact the instructor as soon as you realize you are having a problem keeping up with the class work or making it to classes.

C. Student conduct:

  1. Academic integrity is expected. Cheating in any form is unacceptable, and will be dealt with per college policy. There will be no individual or group warnings.
  2. Classroom behaviors that are encouraged: Asking questions, answering instructor’s questions, discussion of topics between students before the entire class, and the participation in structured learning activities.
  3. Classroom behaviors that are discouraged: Two way conversation between students during lectures or class discussions and leaving the classroom before the instructor dismisses the class.
  4. Respect for all the class is paramount. Anything less is unacceptable. 

D. School closings:

In case of snow closure the school web site at www.mc3.edu will post the school status. A better method of finding out if the school is closed is to call the automated phone message service or check BB.

X. Class Schedule:

Date                                        Topic                                                                      Chapters                               Dates

Week 1                   Introduction Overview & Theories                                  1-2                           march 29th and 31st

Week 2                   Assessments diagnosis and treatment                        4                              April 5 & 7

Week 3                   Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorders                      5                              April 12 & 14         

Week 4                   Child Abuse & Neglect/Conduct Disorder                      14 & 6                     April 19 & 21

Week 5                   Anxiety Disorders                                                               7                              April 26 & 28

Week 6                   Mood Disorders                                                                  8                              May 3

Week 7                   Mental Retardation                                                              9                              May 10 & 12

Week 8                   Autism & Childhood Onset Schizophrenia                    10                            May 17 & 19    

Week 9                   Communication and Learning Disorders/Health          11 & 12                   May 24 & 26

Week 10                 Health & Eating Disorders                                                  12 & 13                   June 2

Final week            Last Presentations (Topic overflow) and final                                              June 7 & 9


Important Dates for Papers, Tests and Days Off:

5/5 & 5/31 No Classes


4/12      1st Test Chapters 1, 2  &  4

4/21      Article Paper Due

4/26      2nd test chapters 5, 14 & 6

5/5        No Classes

5/17      3rd Test Chapters 7, 8 & 9

5/26      Sign Language presentations

5/31      Holiday No Class

6/7        Last date that all papers & task list items will be accepted

6/9        Final Chapters 10, 11, 12 & 13 


The instructor reserves the right to make any content or rescheduling revisions as deemed appropriate or necessary.  

XI. Assignment Submission Guide Lines:

All papers & assignments handed in must be typed! (Exception being the interview form, which must be legible)

 Spelling, grammar and sentence structure must be correct.

Page layout should be 12 pitch font, Times New Roman or Arial, double spaced with a one inch margin on the top and bottom and on the sides. You are to hand in TWO copies of each assignment.

 Format: Information on the cover page should include your name, The assignment (“Interview assignment 1” etc.), date the paper is handed in, class (Psy 230 Winter), instructor’s name (Frank O’Neill) and topic.

 All footnotes are to be APA style

Missed Deadlines

Any material turned in late will be subject to a reduction in points.

Items not turned in by the last due date will be counted as a zero.  

1. Article Assignment: Social Deprivation in Childhood

 Items that are to be included in your paper:

1.       Paper should be short about 2 to 3 pages long (or longer if you wish)

2.       Do you think deprivation affects childhood development? Why or why not?

3.       What happens physically to a person under these conditions?

4.       What happens mentally to a person under these conditions?

5.       What are the long term effects and can they be reversed?

6.       What did you learn from this article?


 2. Life Review Assignment and Presentation: Psychological & Physical Challenges of an Exceptional Child:


Choose a mental or physical disorder explain this disorder and then relate it to a family who is your concentration. Describe the mental & physical challenges that they face. This is to be a medium length paper about 5 pages in length. Take some time and research the situation and the disorder that effects the family.


Present this to the class in a ten to fifteen minute presentation MAXIMUM. Paper and presentation should include:


  1. Introduction of the mental and/or physical disorder you have chosen.
  2. List the psychological affliction(s) or diagnosis (if there is one) and/or the physical affliction; give back up to support this position. List the symptoms. All in paragraph form. Not in listing form.
  3. Go into detail as to how the family deals with this problem and the problems it causes them.
  4. What support do they receive? Is it enough? Why? What more could be done?
  5. Give a conclusion as to how this person’s parents deals with the public knowledge of child’s condition or illness and what steps they take to mainstream the child.
  6. Most important and should be half of your paper: what did you learn from this person and how do you think you would react or handle having a child with this disorder as a parent?


For the presentation you may work with one other person in the class and present together. The paper should follow the same guidelines as stated in the syllabus. If it’s a joint presentation the grade for the paper and presentation will be the same for both persons involved. You must be ready for questions about the person at the end of the presentation. Presentation made the week of topic chosen.

Task Lists requirements for Psy 208

a.                  Learn how to finger spell your name and address

·        Write a short reflection:

·        How did it feel to finger spell? How difficult was it to learn? How long did it take to learn?

b.                  List and describe characteristics of communication disorders of childhood.

c.                  Develop a checklist for common visual impairments.

d.                  List a minimum of 30 recourses and web sites of agencies for exceptional children. Give brief description of its organizational purpose.


Web Resource


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