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EDUC5639 Childhood and Adolescent Developmental Psychopathology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit develops students' theoretical understanding of mental health, child psychopathology and the developmental lifespan perspectives of the disorders and disabilities most commonly found in the child and adolescent mainstream and special education population. The identification element, features definitions and assessment (including neuropsychological assessment of executive functions) of disorders and disabilities and understanding the DSM and ICD classification criteria. In addition, Positive Mental Health will be discussed. The educational needs associated with children with learning difficulties, communication disorders, physical, intellectual, hearing and visual impairments, disruptive behaviour disorders (ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder), psychopathy, developmental dyspraxia, intellectual impairment, pervasive developmental disorders and tic disorders provide the focus of the unit. Aspects of developmental psychopathology and family and social systems are also presented. Leading child and adolescent psychiatrists and persons with a developmental psychopathology may be involved to provide an understanding of their role and the role of medication (in the case of the former) and their coping strategies (in the case of the latter) in the management of their neuro-disability. The techniques and strategies used in behavioural, cognitive behavioural and cognitive bias modification approaches in a variety of contexts are discussed. The use of clinical interview and developmental history assessment techniques are examined and substantiated with practical assignments. The contribution of critical antecedents in early childhood and adolescence in the development of psychopathologies and adverse mental health is examined in detail. Throughout the course students will examine (group work) two cases that have involved critical incidents. In this exercise the underlying contributing mechanisms will be identified and profiles established for preventive approaches.
Students are able to (1) understand the historical conceptualisation, aetiology, prevalence, classification and characteristics associated with various categories of psychopathology and mental health outcomes; (2) differentiate early onset versus adolescent-limited psychopathologies; (3) understand the nature of and trajectories to developmental psychopathologies and adverse mental health; (4) identify underlying mechanisms in developmental psychopathology leading to adverse mental health and critical incidents; (5) understanding of cognitive approaches to managing developmental psychopathology; and (6) understand the major issues in the field of assessment.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) individual case study and (2) school case study. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Stephen Houghton
Unit rules
Contact hours
lectures/seminars: 2 hours per week for 13 weeks
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.