Introduction to Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology

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Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
July 26, 2021 - August 11, 20217/26 - 8/112 WeeksOnlineWaitlistedOnlineCarla Correia
Elisabeth Frazier

Course Description

Have you ever wondered how mental illness affects children and their families? Can kids "catch" autism? Can children really suffer from schizophrenia? From autism and anxiety to pediatric bipolar and schizophrenia disorders, students will learn how psychiatric disorders manifest in children, how disorders are treated, and controversies in childhood psychiatric diagnoses. This class will use lectures, discussions, and multimedia to present these topics in a fun and interactive way.

The goal of this course is to provide an overview of psychological disorders in childhood and adolescence. Students will learn about disorders that are usually diagnosed in infancy, childhood, or early adolescence such as autism spectrum disorders, learning disorders, and attention-deficit and disruptive behavior disorders. Further, the course will educate students about how psychological disorders that arise throughout child development into adulthood, such as anxiety and depression, specifically impact children and adolescents. The course will emphasize critical thinking about causes, assessment, symptoms, treatment, and current research in the field. Given the landmark changes occurring in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 2013, specific attention will be provided to reviewing the paradigm shift in the field of psychology assessment and the implication for current diagnostic labels. By the end of the course, we expect students to appreciate the relevance of context, culture, and scientific research in our understanding of abnormal psychology and its treatment. This course will provide students with a foundation in abnormal psychology to prepare them for further education in the field of psychology and provide students with the most up to date information on the conceptualization, assessment, and treatment of pediatric psychological disorders.

In this course, students will: • Obtain a broad understanding of mental health problems in youth, including anxiety, mood, disruptive behavior, attention deficit hyperactivity, learning, autism spectrum, psychotic, eating, and substance use disorders. • Develop critical thinking skills as applied to causes, assessment, and treatment relevant for each disorder. • Conceptualize psychopathology using a developmental perspective. • Consider the role of stigma toward the child and family in abnormal behavior and mental illness. • Consider the role of the family and environment in the course and treatment of pediatric psychological disorders. • Identify the strengths and limitations of research on pediatric psychiatric illnesses and treatment.

Prerequisites: None

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPY0939

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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