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COURSE TITLE: Psychology of Exceptional Children and Adolescents
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3 (hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 1 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course provides an overview of the major intellectual, academic, emotional, behavioural, sensory and physical exceptionalities that are encountered in classroom settings. Course participants will learn about the challenges and joys these exceptionalities pose for teaching and learning. Students will also examine such topics as the identification and diagnosis of these exceptionalities and the preparation of appropriate Individualized Educational Programs (I.E.P.s). Through the seminar component, participants will become familiar with learners with exceptionalities through credited volunteer activities. This course is open only to students in the B. Ed. (AD) Elementary and Secondary Programs.

Prerequisites: EDUC 351 or 353
  • Winzer, M (2008) Children with exceptionalities in Canadian classrooms.  Pearson Education:  Toronto.
  • Government of Alberta Education (2010). Making a difference:  Meeting diverse learning needs with differentiated instruction.  Alberta Ministry:  Alberta.
Also, Alberta Education has many helpful resources available including:
  • Special Education Resources
  • Standards for Special Education, amended June 2004
  • Special Education Coding Criteria
  • Assistive Technology for Learning (ATL) available at
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: DSM IV Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association
Comparative Reflection15%
Scavenger Hunt10%
Exceptionality presentation25%
Summative Presentation: Case study & I.P.P.30%
Participation & Final Reflection - including posting on Moodle20%
  • explore a Biblical view of children with exceptionalities and learning.
  • develop an awareness of the changing philosophical, historical, cultural, social and psychological contexts in which special education has developed, including the evolution of understanding, attributes and treatments of exceptionalities in children and adolescents
  • discover the implications of an inclusive learning environment to teaching and learning
  • recognize the etiology of various exceptionalities and explore possible interventions
  • develop their understandings of how children with exceptionalities learn differently and apply this knowledge, providing intervention for student success using UDL and DI
  • become more aware of the current issues in the education of children of exceptionalities in the Albertan and Canadian context
  • with guidance, begin to apply the knowledge from the course in a one-to-one teaching situation with a student who is struggling in school
  • work collaboratively, sharing their expertise/challenges with each other in a community of grace
  • Introduction - Setting the Course
  • Inclusion:  Historical Context
  • Issues & trends in Canadian Special Education 
  • The concept of “difference”
  • Inclusion:  Changes now… 
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Differentiated Instruction (DI)
  • Risk factors and etiology for children with exceptionalities
  • Pyramid of intervention 
  • Learner Profiles
  • Infants, Preschoolers, School Aged and Youth: Considering the needs of the other family members
  • Differentiated instruction and interventions
  • Assistive technologies
  • Student Presentations - Visual Impairments
  • Student Presentations - Speech & Language Differences
  • Student Presentations - Hearing Differences
  • Student Presentations - Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Student Presentations - Neurological impairments (Tourettes & Fetal Alchohol  Syndrome)
  • Student Presentations - ADD & ADHD
  • Student Presentations - Behavioural Disorders
  • Student Presentations - PDD, Autism & Asperger's
  • Student Presentations - Gifted & Talented
  • Student Presentations - Intellectual Disabilities
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Learning Disabilities
  • IPPs
  • Working with para-professionals
  • Transitions - Considering the needs of other family members
  • Parent Presentation
  • Bringing it all together

Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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