Understanding People with Learning Disabilities - PSYC6010

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 6 15 (7.5) Serena Tomlinson checkmark-circle


This module provides an introduction to important issues in learning disabilities. It examines definitions and attitudes to people with for example, Down's Syndrome. It explores a number of particular difficulties which people with learning disabilities experience, including communicating, establishing social and sexual relationships, and some of the resultant problems, such as sexual abuse and challenging behaviour. Finally, the most recent social policy initiatives are considered with a focus on how services might implement policy objectives (such as social inclusion and adult protection).


Contact hours

The module will be taught by lecture/seminar sessions and private study.

Total Contact Hours: 22
Private Study Hours: 128


Optional to:
BSc Psychology
BSc Psychology with a Placement Year
BSc Psychology with a Year Abroad
BSc Psychology with Clinical Psychology
BSc Psychology with Forensic Psychology

Available as an elective module. Available to Short Term Credit students at the discretion of the school/module convenor.

Method of assessment

Essay – 2,500 words: 75%
Poster-Plan – one page A4: 25%

Reassessment methods: Like-for-like

Indicative reading

Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Whilst there is no single text which satisfactorily covers the entire course, background information about learning disability, current services and strategies for analysing and changing behaviour can be found in the following text, and students are advised to either buy or borrow this text from the library.

Grant, G., Ramcharan, P., Flynn, M. Richardson, M. (Eds) (2010) Learning Disability. A Life Cycle Approach to Valuing People, Berkshire, Open University Press

Students also need to read the following policies:

Department of Health (2001) Valuing People: a New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century cm5086. London, The Stationary Office.

HM Government (2009) Valuing People Now: a new three-year strategy for people with learning disabilities, 'Making it happen for everyone' London, Department of Health http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_093377

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Map definitions and social constructions of learning disabilities

8.2 Understand issues specific to learning disabilities

8.3 Demonstrate a knowledge of the link between policy and practice in services provision for people with learning disabilities

8.4 Critically discuss the impact of service provision on the lives of people with learning disabilities

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Describe in a balanced and critical way the questions raised in lectures

9.2 Demonstrate ability to present material in both a poster and essay format with evidence of the use of relevant literature to back argument

9.3 Question and debate the application of research and theory to practical situations

9.4 Show ability to express opinions and argue rationally

9.5 Appreciate the impact of theory research, and practice in naturally occurring settings


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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