Psychology (PSYC) 389Back to courses | Print page

Learning Disabilities: Issues and Interventions (Revision 8)

PSYC 389 Course website

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: An introductory 200-level psychology or a junior social science course is recommended but not required.

Precluded Course: PSYC 389 is a cross-listed course—a course available in two different disciplines—with EDPY 389. PSYC 389 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for EDPY 389. PSYC 389 can be taken for graduate level credit as PSYC 589 in the MAIS program. Credit cannot be received for both PSYC 389 and PSYC 589.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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PSYC 389 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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This three-credit, senior-level course is designed to increase your awareness of learning disabilities from a number of viewpoints and theoretical perspectives. While the course emphasizes understanding the issues surrounding the field of learning disabilities, it also examines assessment and remediation of learning and behaviour problems. Topics range from legislation pertaining to learning disabilities to providing services to individuals with learning disabilities.

When you have completed Psychology/Educational Psychology 389: Learning Disabilities: Issues and Interventions, you will be able to achieve the following course objectives.

  • Explain the definitions, themes, characteristics, contributing factors, and historical perspectives related to learning disabilities.
  • Analyse the personal experiences of those working with individuals with learning disabilities based on current literature.
  • Discuss the roles played by various medical and educational models.
  • Clarify identification techniques, and describe the different assessment tools that are available.
  • Analyse the contributions of theorists developing an understanding of learning disabilities.
  • Discuss how an understanding of the issues and dilemmas of learning disabilities on young children, adolescents, and adults can inform one’s practice as an educator or caregiver.
  • Explore issues related to learning disabilities, and analyse how the findings could be used by professionals working with individuals with learning disabilities.
  • Integrate case material, and formulate treatment programs.
  • Analyse evaluation techniques related to learning disabilities.
  • Critically assess reading material related to learning disabilities.
  • Integrate theory, research, and professional practice within the field of learning disabilities.


  • Unit 1 Foundations of Learning Disabilities
  • Unit 2 Medical Perspective
  • Unit 3 ADHD
  • Unit 4 Assessment
  • Unit 5 Educational Settings and Services
  • Unit 6 Teaching Theories and Practices
  • Unit 7 Oral Communication
  • Unit 8 Reading
  • Unit 9 Written Communication
  • Unit 10 Mathematics
  • Unit 11 Social and Emotional Behaviour
  • Unit 12 The Family and Learning Disabilities
  • Unit 13 Early Identification and Intervention
  • Unit 14 Adolescents and Adults with Learning Disabilities
  • Unit 15 Technology and Learning Disabilities


To receive credit for Psyc 389, Learning Disabilities: Issues and Interventions, you must complete a planning exercise, five quizzes, and a course project. All course assignments must be completed in order to receive credit for the course. You must achieve a grade of at least “D”(50 percent) on the course project, and an overall course grade of at least 50%. The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weight associated with each activity.

Planning Activity Quizzes Course Project Total
15% 40% 45% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Mercer, C., & Pullen, P. (2009). Students with Learning Disabilities (7th Edition). Don Mills, ON: Pearson

A print version of the eText can be purchased from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided in the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the PSYC 389 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D”(50 percent) or higher on both the research paper and the examination.

Course Project Comprehensive Exam Total
50% 50% 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, January 29, 2015.

View previous syllabus

Updated November 23 2015 by Student & Academic Services