Skip to main content

Unit information: Advanced Developmental Disorders of Communication in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Advanced Developmental Disorders of Communication
Unit code PSYCM0051
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Jarrold
Open unit status Not open

Level 6 Psychology

Students must not have taken PSYC31049



School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The study of developmental disorders is relevant, not only to those conditions themselves, but also to our understanding of typical development. In addition, by focussing on developmental disorders of communication this course links to more general theoretical questions of language development. The unit itself consists of introductory lectures that highlight these, more general, theoretical themes, before subsequent lectures focus in more detail on the specific cases of: deprivation and otitis media, general learning difficulties, Down syndrome, specific language impairment, Williams syndrome, autism, speech disorders, and dyslexia. Students are also introduced to recent computational approaches to the modelling of atypical language development. A series of tutorials run alongside the lectures and aim to develop student's critical understanding of the key theoretical themes of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Understand the psychological characteristics of a range of developmental disorders at a general level, and the language problems associated with these conditions in more detail;
  • Explain how these strengths and weaknesses fit within the broader framework of the typical pattern of development of language and communication;
  • Use this evidence to critically evaluate theoretical approaches to cognitive development.
  • Demonstrate independent study informed by primary sources and knowledge at the forefront of the discipline.
  • Demonstrate Master’s level ability in terms of critical insight, depth of knowledge, independent thought and the ability to propose new hypotheses.

Teaching Information

This unit comprises 18 x 50 min lectures and 4 x 50 min tutorials.

Assessment Information

Summative assessment: one 2000 word essay (30%) and one 2 hour exam (70%)

Reading and References

Hulme, C. & Snowling, M. J. (2009). Developmental disorders of language learning and cognition. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. RJ506.D47 HUL

Bishop, D. V. M. (1997). Uncommon understanding: Development and disorders of language comprehension in children. Hove, UK: Psychology Press. RJ496.135 BIS

Bishop, D., & Mogford, K. (Eds.) (1993). Language development in exceptional circumstances. Hove, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. LB1139.L3 LAN

Boucher, J. (2009). The autism spectrum: characteristics, causes and practical issues. London, UK. Sage. BF674 BOU

Pinker, S. (1995). The language instinct. London: Penguin. P106 PIN

Pinker, S. (2000). Words and rules. London: Phoenix. P118 PIN