Introduction to Developmental Disabilities

Psychology 406P, 4 credits, UMKC  PACE Program
SPRING  2012

 Matthew Westra 
 (816) 604-2374 (with voice mail) 
e-mail is the best way to reach me.
OFFICE HOURS (at MCC-Longview):
Mon: 4 - 5 and 6 - 7 p.m.
Tues: 10 - 11 a.m.
Wed: 12 - 1 p.m.
Thurs: 2 - 3 p.m.
  Schedule Link  
Home Page Link Button

    No Pity.  by Joseph Shapiro
    We will be using a variety of Web sources - see "Schedule" for readings.
    You will be selecting a second book from the list provided.


There are 4 determinants to the grade: A portfolio of 10 Connections  Papers, 2 book reviews, and an  experience project report with presentation.  

Weight is as follows:
Grading is as follows: 
Book Reviews: 
100 points
100 points
 50 points
250 points

A = 225 - 250 
B = 200 - 224 
C = 175 - 199 
D = 150 - 174 
F =      0 - 149

Weekly Connections Papers - 100 points - 40% of your grade
     The portfolio will be a collection of Connections Papers, turned in weekly. Connections Papers are to be approximately 2 to 4 full double spaced pages typed, discussing and processing the readings and issues addressed in class during the previous week. The paper will describe how the student was affected, led to think in a different way, learned something new and how this might affect the student, was angered by or disagreed with something that happened in class, etc. It is expected that Connections  Papers will demonstrate thoughtful consideration and say something original and of value, not a mere summary of the class element being discussed.  Feel free to be critical, to challenge, but to do so in a manner that is respectful of those being challenged. Address criticisms of ideas, not of people. The student will attempt to draw together the various core events of a class: a guest speaker, a lecturer, a video, class discussion, etc. (Essentially avoid discussion of idle chat and non-consequential elements of the evening.)
     A total of 10 Connections papers are required. Each Connections Paper is worth 10 points, and will be graded on the whole of the paper including not only content but writing competence as well.
      Connections Papers will be assessed on an Exceed, Pass, or Fail (EPF) grading system.
 As there are 14 sessions of the class, not counting the final session, students have the option of omitting up to 3 Connections  Papers, and are encouraged to submit as many as needed to obtain full credit for the assignment (papers over the required 10 replace the lowest previous score).
     See the Quality Statement below for writing guidelines.
     You must have attended the whole class session to turn in a Connections  Paper on that class!
     Connections  Papers constitute 40% of your semester grade.
     Connections  Papers must be submitted by the class after the class being discussed.

BOOK REVIEWS - 100 points - 40% of your grade
    A 5-10 page review is required for each of the two assigned books. Book reviews combined are worth 40% of your grade. Each review should reflect course content and assigned chapters and readings. As we are not having in class, multiple choice tests on course content, I expect the book reviews to demonstrate that you have a grasp of the ideas and information covered to date and can integrate that information and those ideas into the book review. The book, then, serves as a stimulus and foundation for your synthesis of course material. A summary of the book and reaction do NOT constitute a successful book review for these assignments.
    The first review is over a book from the first list. Read the book, then comment on the key ideas, essential evidence, bias, conclusions, and your response. Tell me what you think, more than what you feel. Identify both strengths and weaknesses of the author's comments, what you would add, etc.
    The second review will cover a book from the second list or a different book from the first list.  Do the same as for the first review.
     Click here for the book list  

EXPERIENCE PROJECT - 50 points, 20% of the grade
    The Experience Project involves the student with a person with a developmental disability, or an organization serving people with developmental disabilities.
    The project could include interviews, volunteering time, providing respite or baby-sitting for a child with a developmental disability, or some other activity that provides direct encounter and experience with a person or people labeled "developmentally disabled." A minimum of  8 hours of direct experience is appropriate. Certainly, feel free to do more, and to divide your time between different types of experience.
    A 5-10 page report, a journal, or other documentation and discussion of your experience is required. You may include a variety of media to document and present your experience. The report should not only document what you did during your contact time, but be an integration of course lessons and concepts into an actual personal, hands-on experience. Tie in relevant information from lecture, discussion, and readings.
    You must have approval of the experience before doing it. This acts to safeguard your expenditure of time and effort, to be sure it qualifies. You must provide agency verification of your time and activities.
    NOTE: See Schedule for Due Dates


     At the top of the first page of each paper, please include:
  • your name, 
  • date the paper is being submitted
  • the weekly topic your paper is associated with (when relevant)
  • at your option, any title you want to use. 

    It is expected that all written works produced outside of class will be completed in a fashion which reflects professional competence. This means, specifically, that Portfolio Entries and any other written assignments (other than in-class exam essays) will be typed or done on a word processor, double spaced, use 1 inch margins, be presented on white paper with black ink which is dark enough to read easily, use standard capital and small letters, cite sources and quotations in APA (click here for a web source about APA format) or MLA form, use paragraphs properly, demonstrate thoughtful consideration of your topic and sources, be clean and aligned with a single staple (no paper clips) in the upper left corner. Papers will be free from spelling errors and grammatical errors (use spell check, but don't rely on it alone!). Pages are to be numbered, preferably in the bottom center or top right corner. Any typos which escape your watchful eye while typing will be corrected in pencil or pen prior to the assignment being turned in. There may be no more than 3 corrected typos, and no uncorrected typos per page. If you discover typos, re-type the page or fix them on your word processor and re-print.

    Quality and Appearance will be counted in the grade. Don't embarrass yourself with shoddy work. Part of professional competence lies in the conveyance of a message, as well as in the message itself. Use the handy check list linked here to be sure you meet the quality guidelines.

Deviations from requirements will prevent papers from being accepted.

    Just to demonstrate why good writing is valuable, consider a visit to the Bad Writing Page, linked here. (will open in PowerPoint)

    Due to the interactive nature of the course, anyone missing 2 weeks' worth of classes, consecutive or not, risks being dropped from the course. This does NOT relieve you of the responsibility for withdrawing yourself because I do not generally drop students - you won't want the F for Failure to withdraw.
    For each absence beyond the first 2, you will drop a letter grade from what your points would total.
    Further, you risk being dropped towards the end of class if your accumulated absences total up to more than 2 weeks' worth, regardless of recent attendance or grade performance at the time.
    You are responsible to attend. Anything you miss, including spontaneous assignments or points, or changes made to this syllabus, is your responsibility. You are responsible to get notes from someone, including any handouts.
    Attendance by proxy is not allowed. No one may attend in your place if you are absent. You may not send a recording device in your stead. Any on-line notes are considered a framework for the class session, not a transcript. They do not constitute a replacement of physical and mental attendance.
    You hate the pressure, I hate the paperwork, but this is policy, so let's deal with it.

 In addition to the required books, there will be articles and other readings. These will either be made available through the Internet.
 We will be using discussion to cover much of the course material. This will depend on your reading the material BEFORE class. Don't embarrass yourself by having discussions fall on their faces due to lack of preparation.
 I will assume you have read the material, and may ask you pointed questions about it during class. Certainly, my efforts to teach will be fruitless, if you will not make the effort to learn.

    Due to the nature of the study of Psychology, we will have occasional frank discussions including the topics of human sexuality and biology in factual, symbolic, and figurative forms. If you are easily offended or made uneasy by such language or concepts, I recommend you consider withdrawing or talking with me about what exactly will be covered and how it will be covered. These discussions often take on a humorous tone, as people's anxiety often erupts in laughter and jokes. Inappropriate (hostile or sexist) joking will not be tolerated, but it should be expected that one natural release of tension is through humor.

    Tape, digital, and other types of audio and/or video recorders are not allowed. Please do not bring them or use them. If you have a documented special need that requires their use, please bring me certification from the Special Needs Office and I will be more than happy to assist with accommodations.

    Pagers and Cell Phones are not conducive to the educational process. I will assume that any interruption due to these will be justifiable based on real emergency reasons and that the student being summoned will need to leave immediately to deliver the baby, attend to the dying, retrieve the injured daycare patron, or otherwise take immediate action which necessitates leaving.

Academic Integrity

To starve to death is a small thing, but to lose one’s integrity is a great one.  
Chinese proverb.

    Each student is obligated to operate with utmost academic integrity, on their own honor, and with the realization that the college district has explicit policies which address academic dishonesty and repercussions for participating in such acts. The guiding principle for all questions of academic integrity is as follows: "Assume the most restrictive set of conditions, unless some exception is explicitly made by the instructor."  Should you have any question about a particular academic strategy or behavior, ASK the instructor of the course - do NOT rely on other instructors, agencies, friends, or members of the academic community, as there is great inconsistency in individual policies.
    Forms of Behavior which Violate Academic Integrity
       Students should assume that the harshest consequences allowed under district policy, as outlined in the Student Handbook, will be provided. Violation of Academic Integrity on any single part of a course will result in the Failing grade for the entire course and may result in further academic consequences, according to the discretion of the instructor. It is incumbent on the part of the student to abide by any and all codes, traditions, rules, and guidelines for Academic Integrity.

       Attendance in the course constitutes agreement and subjection to the policies on Academic Integrity presented above and in the Student Handbook and Policies of this University & system.

    Intellectual Property Restriction - Permissions
       The materials on this course web site represent the author's intellectual property and are for the use of students currently enrolled in this course, and others who have been given specific permission. Usage is to be limited to appropriate use for this course and may not be shared or retained.

   What happens on each date is subject to change. When we have concluded material for a topic, we will begin the next topic. It is your responsibility to keep up to date in class.

    See the Schedule for due dates.
    Due dates are the deadline. Work will not be accepted after due dates. You are encouraged to submit work early.


Jan 12
Intro to course. Syllabus.

   Defining Disability / Types of Disabilities  (Class NOTES)Lecture Note Link 
        Mobility, Sensory, Cognitive, Psychiatric, Communication - and Developmental 
           National Federation of the Blind - Questions Kids Ask about Blindness
           ASL - dictionary on line (examine how the dictionary works, don't try to memorize it all!)
           About American Sign Language
           Cognitive Disability Simulation 
           Fiction - "The Country of the Blind" by H. G. Wells  (you can listen to a free MP3 by linking through by clicking here
           Video -TEDMED 2009 - Author, Actress, Athlete Aimee Mullins discusses the word "disability" 
           Video - Types of Seizures         
Jan 19
Historical development of social attitudes toward people with disabilities. (Class NOTES)Lecture Note Link
    Disability Campaigns in the United States: 1930s - 1960s
    Eugenics Movement & MR
    Films containing images of disability  (NOTE: just scout around a bit, don't read the whole thing)    {As of Jan 5, 2010, the original web site is suspended. A mirror site (the link provided) is on Tripod and has most of the information.}
    Attitudes and Myths about Disabilities and Developmental Disabilities 
    Common Myths and Stereotypes about Disability   
     A Story about My Two Daughters: How to Live in the World of Possibility         
Jan 26
 Civil Rights Movement, Legal Issues.    (Class NOTES) Lecture Note Link
   Reading for Class Discussion: Ashley: Treatment to Stunt the Growth of a Severely Developmentally Disabled Girl.  
     Text of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 - Take a look at the law, don't read cover to cover.
    Americans with Disabilities Act: Questions and Answers
    A Guide to Disability Rights Laws
     People First of Missouri
     The New Civil Rights (Article by Joseph P. Shapiro, from AARP)
     Ragged Edge Online Magazine (I don't expect you to read everything - root around and look at what insiders are writing.)
     Mouth Magazine   (I don't expect you to read everything - root around and look at what insiders are writing.)
     "The Great Wooster High French Fry Conspiracy" by Deidre Hammon 
Feb 2  Film  & Discussion - Rory O'Shea was Here
 The Willowbrook Institution - film and discussion
Feb 9
  DUE:  Proposal for Experience Project

Typical Developmental Processes
(Class NOTES) Lecture Note Link
    Developmental Milestones Chart 
    The Facts about Baby's Brain Development
Feb 16 Typical Developmental Processes - Continued   (Class NOTES) Lecture Note Link
Feb 23
Causes and Prevention of Developmental Disabilities.(Class NOTES) Lecture Note Link
Streaming Video: Episode 12. Teratogens and Their Effects on the Developing Brain and Mind    (12 min) 
    Introduction to Mental Retardation  (note: this link will open a WORD document.)
    Genetic Causes of Mental Retardation (note: this link will open a WORD document.)
    Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention (note: this link will open a WORD document.)
    Prevention of Neural Tube Defects (note: this link will open a WORD document.)
    Developmental Screenings

Mar 2
       DUE - Book Review 1

 Films TBA & Discussion - 

Mar 9
Guest Panel visit - The Whole Person

Mar 16
  Film & Discussion - Probable Film: Sound & Fury (subject to change)
  The Family - Impact of disability on families, family issues. (Class NOTES) Lecture Note Link
      The Arc - Position Statement on Self Determination
      The Arc - Family Support Services
      MCDD (Metropolitan Council on Developmental Disabilities) Family Services Connection
      Respite Care
Mar 23
  Film TBA & Discussion -

Cultural Diversity:
(Link to Notes) Lecture Note Link
  Issues inherent in culture; ethnography; cultural differences in attitudes. 
      Deaf Culture
      Disability Culture  (NOTE: Read the "Editorial" and scout around articles) 
      Cultural Competence
March 30
Spring Break - No Classes

Apr 6
Early Intervention and early childhood programs
.   (Link to Notes) Lecture Note Link
  Programs for infants and toddlers (0-3) and Preschool programs (3-5) 
      The Arc - Position Statement on Early Intervention
       What is "Early Intervention"?
      CARF Accreditation (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities)

 The School Years - IDEA - the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act   (Link to Notes) Lecture Note Link
  What is "full inclusion?" 
       3 Articles from 
      The Arc - Position Statement on Inclusion
Apr 13       DUE - Book Review 2

Adult Living - Part 1    (Link to Notes) Lecture Note Link
    Transition from School to Work  & Vocational programs for adults 

Adult Living - Part 2 -  Sexuality, marriage, and parenthood. (Link to Notes) Lecture Note Link
  Video to view in class: The Skin Horse  (If the link still works / valid Oct 2012)

      Annotated Bibliography from SEICUS: Sexuality & Disability 
      The Arc - Position Statement on Sexuality
       Disability and Sexuality: From Medical Model to Sexual Rights  
       Sexuality Myths and Facts - 
      BUT I THOUGHT  ...     SEXUALITY AND TEENS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES     By Dave Hingsburger, Debra Snell VanNoort, and Susan Tough.

Apr 20
    DUE - Experience Project Report 

      Religion, Spirituality, and Disability    (Link to Notes) Lecture Note Link

    Video -  Praying with Lior  (Watch the film trailer)

Adult Living - Part 3  -  Community Living options &  Assistive Technology supports.
  (Link to Notes) Lecture Note Link
Streaming Video:   
Streaming Video:
    Principles in Universal Design
    History of Universal Design, and relevant legislation
     De-Institutionalization - Closing Brandon Training School: A Vermont Story
     Institution Story - a Student's Family Memoir

April 27
  Experience Project Reports Presented to Class
Class Evaluations

World Wide Web Image     Interesting Internet Sites     World Wide Web
  Reading List for Book Reviews 
  Disability History Museum 
  MO Network of Care - Kansas City Region  
  Missouri Division of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities

Last Modified: Oct 25, 2012