Behavior and Emotional Problems of Children
Mondays 2-5:40pm
Sonoma State University Department of Psychology
Dana Schneider M.A., MFT
Fall 2004 Office Hours:Mondays 5:40-7,Tuesdays 6:30-7pm, Wednesdays 8-9am, 11:40-1pm

Course Description:

This course is designed to provide the student with a thorough overview of the behavior and emotional problems which are commonly seen in childhood. We will examine the etiology of childhood disorders, current diagnostic assessment tools, and commonly used therapeutic interventions. There will be specific emphasis on the developmental context of childhood disorders. The course will also focus on the changing roles of the post modern family and the stresses it places on children. We will examine new foundations for countering this family imbalance and explore how this contributes to conduct, behavior and emotional problems in children. Special considerations for children of divorce and careers in child psychology will be covered.


Course Objectives:

*To become familiar with the DSM-IV classifications of childhood disorders.

*Knowledge of the developmental context of childhood disorders.

*To understand the etiology of childhood disorders.

*To become familiar with the various treatment and therapeutic options for children.

*To learn through demonstration and experientially the different assessment methods commonly used with children.

*To understand the changes between the modern / post modern family and how this additional stress on children contributes to the increase in childhood dysfunction.

*To become familiar with the special needs for children of divorce.


Method of Instruction:

This course will be a combination of lectures, on-line course assignments, experiential role plays, discussion, films, clinical examples, and guest speakers. This class is structured to provide you with a level of knowledge expected of an upper division course. Class participation is expected. Part of the course experience and requirement is to become involved in 10 hours of work in a child oriented setting. Students who have disabilities and require classroom accommodations should meet with me during my office hours to make these arrangements. Please bring an accommodations authorization from the Disability Resource Center with you.


Required Text:

Abnormal Child Psychology, Mash/Wolfe

Casebook in Child Behavior Disorders, Christopher A. Kearney

A Child Called It, Dave Pelzer

The lost Boy, Dave Pelzer



Method of Evaluation:

200 points possible

30pts. - Attendance ( two or more missed class meetings may result in failure of class), class participation, completion of all homework, and reading assignments.

40 points- class assigned online modules

40pts. - Special Project: Spend a minimum of 10 hours working with children in a child oriented setting. We will discus several observational tools and methods to assist you with this project. Write up your impressions, observations, behaviors noted as they relate to the class material. This is a summary of of your experience as well as an incorporation of class materials, and outside references. APA Format.

20pts. - 2 take home Quizzes

40pts. - 2 In class Quizzes

30pts. - Final - The exams will consist of a series of multiple choice questions and sample vignettes with questions. There will be three take home quizzes that will be accessed via the internet.

Homework assignments to be turned in as assigned. All assignments are to be typewritten. APA format on Special Project paper.No Late assignments accepted / All assignments must be typed. All assignments are due at the beginning of Class. Internet Address http:/






Behavior and Emotional Problems of Children

Psychology 411/ Fall 2004

Instructor - Dana Schneider MA,MFT

Course Syllabus


Aug. 30 Overview of Course/Developmental Considerations - Introductions, explanations of course assignments, course structure. Introduction to Clinical Psychology with emphasis on working with children. Etiology of behavior and emotional problems. Genetic, Prenatal and Social developmental issues affecting children.

Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 1, Kearney - Chapt. 1

Sept. 13 Assessment Strategies with Children-Standardized Tests, Projective Tests, Draw a Person, Squiggle Game, and Story Completion. The Intake Interview

Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 2, 3 &4 Computer Lab

Sept.20 Diagnosis- DSMIV Classification / Legal and Ethical Issues Conceptualization and treatment planning, Art Therapy.

Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 2, 3& 4

Sept. 27 Therapeutic Interventions - In class Quiz -Psychoanalysis, Group, Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioral, Play Therapy, Story Telling

Oct. 4 Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders - Myth or reality, The 7 intelligences, current treatment and assessment methods.

Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 5 , Kearney - Chapt. 6

Oct. 11 Conduct Disorders Disruptive Behavior Disorders/ - Quiz Due Special treatment considerations, social skills groups, gang conflict resolution trends. Substance Abuse. Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 6 , Kearney - Chapt. 8

Oct. 18 Anxiety Disorders -Phobias, Avoidant Disorders, Separation Anxiety Disorders, Overanxious Disorders, Obsessions and Compulsions.

Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 7 , Kearney - Chapt. 2

Oct. 25 Emotional and Depressive Disorders/Suicide/ Intake Interviews - Problems in peer relations, Depression, differential assessment indicators, medication. Risk factors, types of suicide ideation, and the role of self-mutilation for the suicidal child. Reactive Attachment. Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 8, Kearney - Chapt. 3

Nov. 1 Mental Retardation - and Motor Skills Disorders Assessment and Treatment, Family considerations.

Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 9 , Kearney - Chapt. 11

Nov. 8 Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia - In class Quiz Childhood Psychosis, Assessment , Etiology, and Treatment. New treatment controversies.

Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 10

Nov. 15 Communication and Learning Disorders-Specific Learning Disorders, Speech and Language Problems

Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 11 , Kearney - Chapt. 7

Nov. 22 Health Related Disorders - Elimination Disorders - Quiz Due - Enuresis, Encopresis, Sleep Terror disorders. / Special Considerations for Children of Divorce How Divorce affects children, shared parenting and recent studies on the development of children, Psychological Tasks of Divorce for Children, common symptoms of dysfunction with children of divorce.

Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 12, Kearney - Chapt. 5


Nov. 29 Feeding and Eating Disorders Bulimia, Anorexia Computer Lab

Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 13, Kearney - Chapt. 4


Dec. 6 Child Abuse and Neglect

Mash/Wolfe- Chapt. 14, Kearney - Chapt. 13, Read -A child called it and The Lost Boy










Special Project for Behavior and Emotional Problems of Children

Dana Schneider MA,MFT

Fall 2004



1. Choose a placement working with children from one of the following settings. A classroom, special education setting, a social service setting, a group home, residential program, or other approved environment. Pick a child or children to observe with an identified behavior or emotional problem.


2. Spend at least ten hours observing/working with a child/children in their social domain, academically and or with their family. Note your impressions, the child's behaviors, and differences in behaviors based on social, school or home settings. Make sure that your paper contains:


Answers to the following questions-


1. What was your experience and reactions during this project?

2. How did the child respond to your presence?

3. While observing testing or learning did you notice any changes in the

Child's attitude or comfort level?

4. Notice how the child plays. Is it developmentally appropriate for their age?

or are they delayed?

5. What treatment options or educational plan is used? Do you think that they are effective?

6. What treatment methods would you use and why? What theoretical

perspectives would you draw from and why?

7. How do the postmodern family changes affect these children?

8. Are there any extenuating circumstances (i.e. divorce, abuse,) that are?

impacting this child?

9. Discuss the etiology, and current research related to this project. Weave the theory and etilogy of Childhood Disorders into this paper.


Keep in mind the following developmental areas.

Social/Emotional Development: The way a child thinks about herself and her relationship with others.

Physical Development: The way a child moves.

Creative/Imaginative Development: Making something new out of something familiar.

Language and Literacy Development: The way a child makes speech sounds and communicates.

Cognitive Development: The way a child thinks.


3. Use at least three other resources besides the texts. No more than one internet resource. Must be typewritten, double-spaced is ok, APA format, and five pages. Paper is due at the beginning of class anything turned in later will not be accepted.



4. In addition to the paper you must turn in a signed (by the supervisor) letter verifying your hours on agency letterhead. If this is turned in on plain paper points will be docked.



5. Due Date Nov. 29


Discussion Fora Posting Rubric

This rubric will be used in assessing the

quality of your participation in the online fora. This assessment

criteria will be applied to your posts in conjunction with the

requirement for regular participation.



Complete sentences, well organized, grammatically correct and free of spelling errors.


Complete sentences, well organized, but some (2 or less per paragraph) grammar and/or spelling errors.


Complete sentences, comprehensible, organization could be improved to present a more coherent argument or statement, has three or more grammar and/or spelling errors per paragraph.


Poor sentence structure inadequate organization, several grammar and/or spelling errors.


Posting guidelines


Provides comments and new information in a regular (e.g., during each discussion day) and equitable manner. Interacts with a variety of participants.


Provides comments and some new information in a fairly regular (e.g., during three-fourths or more of the discussion days) manner. Interacts with a few selected participants.


Sporadically (e.g., responses during one half or less of the discussion) provides comments and some new information. Interacts with only one or two participants.


Provided one or two responses during the discussion


Content of Posting


Revealed a solid understanding of the germane topic as evidenced by thoughtful responses and questions.


Revealed an adequate understanding of a germane topic as evidenced by posts indicating superficial knowledge.


Revealed a restricted understanding of a germane topic limited to information that could be derived from prior posts.


Message was unrelated to discussion.


Critical Thinking Evidenced by

Posting Offered a critical analysis of an existing idea (posted or published) or introduced a different interpretation to an existing idea.


Agreed or disagreed with existing discussion and provided limited justification/explanation.


Agreed or disagreed with existing discussion but provided no justification/explanation.


Provided no evidence of agreement or disagreement with existing discussion.




Morrison, G. R. & Ross, S. M. (1998). Evaluating

technology-based products. In Anderson, R. & Speck, B. (Eds.) How

do we grade students' performance: Classroom assessment and the new

learning paradigm (pp. 69-77). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass



Last updated 8/16/04