- identify a subset of the main disorders, how they are defined, their developmental course and evidence-based interventions that target those disorders.
- conceptualize disorders from a developmental and contextual framework, as well as the first-person perspective.
- critically reflect upon research findings in the field by balancing empirical/research considerations with individuals’ lived experiences.
- work in groups effectively (i.e., share ideas, contribute fairly and conscientiously towards a cooperative goal, debate effectively).
- communicate complex theoretical and clinically sensitive material to a naive, intelligent audience.
This course explores child psychopathology from a developmental perspective, recognizing that pathology expresses itself in different ways at different ages and stages of development. Concepts such as risk and resilience and early predictors of better and worse outcome will be integrated with a review of the major types of psychopathology seen in children and adolescents. Emphasis will be on the recent scientific research literature on several conditions, including our understanding of the causes of each disorder and the ways the disorder may be manifest in different individuals.
We will focus on a limited number of topics in depth rather than survey a large and more comprehensive list of psychopathologies at a more superficial level. Students will have an opportunity to learn more about topics not covered in this class as part of assignments.
We will combine two types of information in this course. The first may be called “objective”: Throughout the course, we will focus on theoretical and empirical reviews that summarize carefully conducted scientific research on the topics we are considering. Theoretical and methodological issues will be considered and critiqued. The second type of information will be “subjective” and will include three books (one fiction and two memoirs) and one documentary film. Each of these latter materials aim to provide a “first-person” developmental account of different child and adolescent psychopathologies. Students learn what it is like to actually be the child with autism, psychosis, depression and conduct disorder.
Students will be expected to combine these two forms of information – the objective and subjective – to form their own critiques about the quality and importance of research, and also to examine their own ideas and beliefs about what constitutes mental health, well-being, and maladjustment in children, and how and when it is best to intervene.
Lectures, videos, case presentations, guided small-group discussions, group video presentations and associated discussions
Docherty, Neil (producer/director), (1994). The Trouble with Evan. (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). -- Documentary
Group Video Presentation: 25%
Weekly thought questions: 25%