Skip to main content

Unit information: Atypical Development in 2020/21

Unit name Atypical Development
Unit code EDUC30043
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Sedgewick
Open unit status Not open

Introduction to Psychology in Education



School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will build on work from Years 1 and 2 to provide an analysis of the nature, origins, developmental courses and treatment of atypical development throughout childhood and adolescence. The module will use a variety of methods including lectures and small group discussions. The students will be expected to play an active part during the sessions and do such preparatory reading as is recommended. It will cover the following areas:

- Atypical developmental trajectories - Theoretical models of atypicality - Rick and resilience factors - Visual and hearing impairments - Communication disorders - Eating disorders - Trauma and addiction - Internalising and externalising disorders

Unit Aims

  • To introduce students to multiple ways of thinking about atypical


  • To support students in critiquing the concept of atypical development

For students to critically engage with a range of forms of atypical
development often present in educational settings

  • For students to design and conduct an original piece of

qualitative research on the topic of atypical development, and to produce a
research report on that work in line with discipline standards

Intended learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will demonstrate an understanding of:

  1. Theories of atypical development
  2. Differentiations between typical and atypical patterns of development
  3. The characteristics, course, aetiology and treatment of the major disorders and impairments in children
  4. The ability to critically interrogate the effect of a childhood disorder or impairment on other areas of development
  5. The ethical issues and practices of the field

Teaching details

A mixture of lectures and seminars will be offered, with synchronous and asynchronous components.

Assessment Details

Formative Assessment

Research Proposal (500 words) - Students will bring a research proposal outline to the seminar in Week 4. They will receive peer feedback in small groups, and will have the opportunity to get one-to-one feedback from the lecturers on their proposal.
Summative Assessment 2 - ILOs 1, 2, 3, 4 - 100%
Research report (3500 words)- Students will write a 3500 word qualitative research report, presenting original data they have collected during the course of the unit (mostly supported through seminars). They will be expected to follow discipline standards (e.g. APA referencing and formatting) and show an ability to synthesise theory, other research, and their own findings in the manner expected of an academic paper.

Reading and References

  • Child and Adolescent Psychology: Typical and Atypical Development (2019) Stephen von Tetzchner, Routledge.
  • Calkins, S., Propper, C., &Mills-Koonce, W. (2013). A biopsychosocial perspective on parenting and developmental psychopathology.Development and Psychopathology, 25(4pt2), 1399-1414. doi:10.1017/S0954579413000680
  • Culbert, K. M., Racine, S. E., &Klump, K. L. (2015). Research Review:What we have learned about the causes of eating disorders–a synthesis of sociocultural, psychological, and biological research. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56(11), 1141-1164.