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Developmental, Learning and Behavioural Conditions in Adolescents and Children

Course CodeBPS215
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Develop You Career Working With Children

Although relatively uncommon, some children can be affected by disorders associated with development. Sometimes the symptoms are profound, and at other times they are mild. Symptoms can also lie anywhere between these extremes. If you work with children in a caring capacity, particularly in healthcare, then knowledge of mental health problems is valuable.

This course is designed to enhance the knowledge base of people in these types of roles, or of students seeking to work in these areas.

Take this course to learn the signs and symptoms of developmental disorders as well as behavioural disorders. Discover how these types of conditions impact upon the child and their family, as well as possible treatment options. 

This fascinating course explains the developmental disorders that occur in children.
The course covers -
  • Classification of childhood disorders
  • Learning disabilities
  • The impact on the family
  • Co-morbidity
  • Autism and the autism spectrum
  • Services for children with developmental disorders
  • Rett's disorder
  • Asperger's Syndrome and the autism spectrum
  • ADHD
  • Conduct disorders
  • Communication disorders... and more

You will also be required to complete a final project on the subject of your choice, relating to developmental disorders. This will help you to focus on an area of particular interest to you. 

This course is suitable for professionals working with children and students seeking to work in the following areas:

  • Psychology
  • Counselling
  • Youth work
  • Social Work
  • Childcare
  • Teaching


Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Developmental Disorders - Mental Retardation and Learning Disabilities
    • Classifying Childhood Disorders
    • What are the causes of Developmental Disorders?
    • Genetic, Physical and Environmental Causes
    • How to diagnose Developmental Disorders
    • How common Developmental Disorders are within the General Population
    • How Developmental Disorders impact on Families and Children and Adolescents
    • Learning Disabilities
    • Levels of Severity
  2. Autism - Autistic Disorder signs, symptoms, treatment and support
    • What is Autism?
    • Symptoms of Autism
    • - Impaired Interactions & Social Development
    • - Communication
    • - Repetitive Behaviour
    • Causes of Autism
    • Background of Autism
    • How common is Autism within the General Population
    • Challenges that are experienced by people with autism
    • Issues Children and Adolescents with Autism need to deal with
    • Challenges a family with an Autistic child face
    • Treating Children and Adolescents with Autism
    • Helping a child with Autism
    • Support Services for children and adolescents with Autism
  3. Asperger's Disorder - signs, symptoms, treatment and support
    • An explanation of Asperger’s Disorder
    • Symptoms of Asperger’s Disorder
    • - Social Interactions
    • - Repetitive Behaviour
    • Causes of Asperger’s Disorder
    • The background of Asperger’s Disorder
    • How often does Asperger’s Disorder occur within the General Population?
    • The Autism Spectrum
    • How does Asperger’s Disorder affect the Child or Adolescent?
    • How does having a child with Asperger’s Disorder impact on the Family?
    • Treatments for Children and Adolescents with Asperger’s Disorder
    • Supporting children with Asperger’s Disorder
    • Support services for Children with Asperger’s Disorder
  4. Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders (Rett's Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Developmental Disorders NOS) signs, symptoms, treatment and support
    • Explanation of Pervasive Developmental Disorders
    • Rett’s Disorder
    • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
    • Other types of Developmental Disorders
    • Causes of Developmental Disorders
    • Diagnosing Developmental Disorders
    • How Developmental Disorders affect a Child or Adolescent
    • The issues that a Family of the Child or Adolescent with Developmental Disorders face
  5. Attention-Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders - ADHD and variants, signs, symptoms, treatment and support
    • What are the Signs of ADHD in a child? - Features of Inattention - Features of Hyperactivity/Impulsivity - Settings
    • What causes ADHD?
    • Background of ADHD
    • Occurrences of ADHD within the population
    • Managing ADHD
    • Support Available
    • Factors that may aggravate ADD or ADHD Symptoms
    • How is a Child or Adolescent affected by ADD and ADHD
    • How having an ADD or ADHD child will impact on the family
  6. Conduct Disorders (Include oppositional defiant disorder) signs, symptoms, treatment and support
    • What are Conduct Disorders?
    • Symptoms of Conduct Disorders
    • Genetic and Environmental risk factors that cause Conduct Disorders
    • The occurrence of Conduct Disorders within the General Population
    • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
    • Signs of Oppositional Defiant Disorder
    • What causes of Oppositional Defiant Disorder?
    • The occurrence of Oppositional Defiant Disorder in the General Population
    • Anti-Social Personality Disorder (APD)
    • Treatments for Conduct Disorders
    • Support services available for children with Conduct Disorders
    • How is a child with a Conduct Disorder affected?
    • How is the Family of with a Child with a Conduct Disorder impacted upon?
    • Support for children with Conduct Disorders
  7. Learning Disorders - focus on academia (Mathematics, Reading Disorder - Dyslexia, etc.)
    • Specific Developmental Disorders
    • Definition of Learning Disorders
    • Reading Disorder (Developmental Dyslexia)
    • Disorder of Written Expression (Specific Spelling Disorder)
    • Mathematics (Arithmetic) Disorder
  8. Communications Disorders & Motor Skills Disorder
    • What are Communication Disorders?
    • How are Communication Disorders caused?
    • Phonological Disorder
    • Expressive Language Disorder
    • Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder
    • Stuttering
    • Motor Skills Disorder
    • Impact on the Child and Family of Communication Disorders
  9. Special Project

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Why Do Children have Developmental Problems?

There are many reasons and many different types of issues that can impact on a child's development.
This course is going to provide a broad and balanced insight across the whole spectrum of those issues.

Many conditions are not black and white issues - It often isn't just a matter of the child having a problem or not. Autism is a good example of this. There are over 70 different criteria which are used to assess children as having autism. If a child displays some of these criteria, they may not be said to be autistic, but they could still have some developmental difficulties.

What Causes Autism?

The cause of autism is complex, and is currently not known for certain. It appears there are many possible contributing factors that cause autism. Whilst different factors can cause a similar pattern of behaviour, the range of possible causes accounts for the diversity in behaviour and treatment efficacy. I.e. whilst two people may both be diagnosed with autism, the autism may have been caused by different factors; the two people may exhibit a similar pattern of behaviours but may also exhibit quite diverse behaviours; and may respond differently to treatments.

There are a number of theories about the cause of autism. Originally autism was thought to be caused by “cold” parenting. As noted earlier, autism was originally described by Kanner, 1943. At that time he considered autism to be caused by abnormal parents. He described these parents as cold, unresponsive, detached, and obsessive. Nowadays, any notions that autism is caused by parenting have been completely overturned.
If a parent does exhibit any unusual psychological traits it is more likely to be in response to the difficulties experienced in rearing a child with autism or an expression of the autistic genes within the parents.

Genetics is the factor most highly implicated in autism. Siblings of those with autism are some fifty times more likely to have autism than the general population and this rate is increased further for identical twins. Much research has focussed on identifying a gene responsible for autism. Different studies have suggested the involvement of different genes, though as yet there remains little consensus. As the causes of autism are more intensively researched, the strength of the theory that genetics cause autism has reduced as other contributing factors have been identified. Whilst it is generally thought that there is a genetic component to autism, and some people may be predisposed to developing autism, genetics alone does not explain the whole picture. Even taking into account the more accurate diagnosis of autism over the last 30 or so years, autism has been increasing significantly. Genetics alone could not account for this increase.

It has been suggested that a lack of nutrients and an increase in toxins interact with genetic weaknesses to produce autism. Here are some examples of nutrients that studies have suggested if they are lacking may contribute to autism:

  • Omega-3
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Folate

Others hypothesise that exposure to pathogens or toxins may contribute to the development of autism. Like most studies in autism, some suggest a link, and others don’t. Some examples of pathogens and toxins that may be factors in autism are:

  • Viral infection after birth
  • Heavy Metal toxicity, such as lead and mercury poisoning
  • Viral infections

Many children with autism also have persistent gastrointestinal tract problems, leading to a theory that this may contribute to autism.

Children with autism are often found to have increased prenatal and perinatal complications, however this may be a result of abnormalities, rather than the cause.

Some people theorise that maternal stress while the baby is in the womb may contribute to autism. Autistic children are also found to be more affected by stressful events than non-autistic children.

There may also be a biological basis for autism. Fragile X syndrome has been implicated in around 1 in 10 to 3 in ten of cases but again the evidence is inconclusive.

It was also thought that vaccinations, particularly MMR brought on autism, as autism was often diagnosed around the same age as vaccinations were given. There was significant controversy around this idea, and this theory is now thought to be disproven.

Why Study this Course?

The Developmental Disorders, Learning and Behavioural Conditions course is a 100 hour course which will increase your knowledge of these conditions.
As well as increasing your knowledge, it will increase your career and job prospects by showing you are interested in learning more about these highly important conditions.
It will provide you with information on the signs and symptoms of the conditions, how this affects the child and their family and support services and treatments available.
If you would like to learn more, then enrol now! You can start at any time.

Meet some of our academics

Lyn QuirkM.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.
Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).
Gavin ColePsychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Gavin is both a highly experienced Psychologist and tutor. Gavin has over 25 years experience in the Psychology industry, and has been working with ACS since 2001. He has worked in both Australia and England, and has been involved in writing numerous books and courses in Psychology and Counselling

Check out our eBooks

Counselling HandbookFull of interesting case studies, this ebook is a wonderful introduction to the complex world of the human psyche. Chapters include: Using Counselling, Seeing Behind the Mask, Emotions and Attitudes, Communicating Better, Theory vs Practice, Diffusing Difficult Situations and Golden Rules for Counselors. 43 pages
How Children ThinkLearn more about child psychology and how children think. Have you ever tried to make a child clean up their mess, stop throwing mud or stop drawing on the walls? Then you will know that children think differently to adults. This book is for parents or students of psychology. Seven chapters cover: developmental stages, the influence of nature and nurture, creating balance, changing behaviours, problems and solutions, and staying up to date. 73 pages 40 colour photos
Psychological ProfilingPsychological profiling is used to assess anyone from potential new staff and school children to serial killers. It helps you to determine someone’s personality, neuroses, mental health and career suitability. This book provides an excellent overview of psychological profiling techniques and pitfalls.
Psychology DictionaryWritten by professional psychologists, this “dictionary of psychology” contains descriptions for common terms used in Psychology. There are many terms used in the area of Psychology alone, that are explained throughout this text. Other terms have been taken from everyday language and used in a different context to describe psychological phenomena. 66 pages