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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Psychology (PSYCH)

PSYCH 370 (US) Psychology of the Differently-Abled (3) This course familiarizes students with the needs and abilities of people with varying physical challenges through academic and experimental exercises.

PSYCH 370 Psychology of Differently-Abled (3)

In 1991 President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which recognized that the hundreds of thousands of Americans living with disabling conditions form a class which should receive protection under the law. Many people look at the ADA as civil rights legislation which is intended to offer disabled Americans the same legal rights to access as the Civil Rights legislation of the 60s offered to Americans of color.

While discrimination in the workplace, in housing, and in other areas based on race is no longer openly practiced, people with different physical abilities are still fighting an uphill battle. Often the barriers they face are due to ignorance of their needs. The intent of this course is to increase awareness and sensitivity to the needs of people who are different in the physical dimension. Additionally, policy and economic implications will be studied.

The content will include multiple modalities, such as mobility and visual differences. The focus will be positive, emphasizing how differences in one area are overshadowed by similarities in most areas. Language in the course will focus on the positive as well, hence Psychology of the "Differently-Abled" rather than "Disabled". Accomplishments of people such as FDR and Mozart will be discussed in the context of significant contributions made by people who were physically different. Finally direct experience with people will be obtained through a community service component of the course.

The objectives of this course are to first familiarize students with the causes and consequences of different physical challenges. The long term objective is to increase sensitivity to the needs of people who are different from most of us in some ways, but very similar to us in most ways. Research has shown that familiarity is a critical tool in raising comfort levels and decreasing discriminatory and hurtful acts.

Evaluation Methods:
Examinations 40%, mid-term and final
Community Service 30%, this will be assigned through the same form Internship supervisors use to evaluate students for PSYCH 395
Research Paper 25%
Oral Presentation 5%, 15 minute presentation to class regarding their community service experience

This course will draw on materials covered in General Psychology. No other course preparation will be needed. The course is an Intercultural and International Competence (GI) course, focusing on intercultural aspects only.


General Education: None
Diversity: US
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2007
Prerequisite: PSYCH 100

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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