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You are here: Home School of Education Programs Graduate Programs Counseling Course Syllabi COCO 703: Psychosocial Aspects of Disability

COCO 703: Psychosocial Aspects of Disability




The course focuses on the person’s reaction to disablement, living with a disability in a handicapping world, living independently, the impact of family, sexuality, intimacy, education, employment, recreation, and culture as each area relates to the life of a person living with a disability.


At times, students may disclose personal information through class discussions.  It is expected that the class will respect the privacy of their classmates.  The information disclosed in the class will not be repeated or discussed with other students outside of the course.

The course objectives are to train people in the major issues impacting the psychological, social, and cultural aspects of people living with disabilities from birth through older age and to enhance counselor knowledge and skill when working with persons who have a disability.

Lectures, group discussion and case histories are used to introduce students to psychosocial and cultural aspects of people with disabilities. 

Vash, Carolyn and Crewe, Nancy. (2004). The Psychology of Disability, 3rd edition. New York: Springer.

Snell, M. & Brown, F. (2006). Instruction of students with severe disabilities. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Sticker, J., Conroy, M. & Kauffman, J. (2008). An introduction to students with high-incidence disabilities. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.


Reading Assignments:  Students are required to read the entire assigned text and be prepared for each course lecture based upon their own review of the text. Students in the  school counseling program should read both recommended readings to gain additional knowledge relative to school-age students. Both texts will be discussed during class discussions.

Attendance and Participation:  It is expected that students attend all classes and participate in class discussions. Attendance will be taken. Students are expected to inform the professor of planned absences via email in advance of the class. Absence from more than two classes will impact a student’s grade and may necessitate repeating of the course. Class attendance and participation will account for 5% of the final grade.

Course Assignment: Students will complete two examinations, a midterm examination and a final examination.  The midterm examination will be held on XX and the final examination will be held on XX. Both examinations present the student with case histories and the student is expected to discuss relevant components of the psychosocial aspects of disability in essay format.

Grades will be calculated as follows:

Midterm examination 45%
Final examination 50%
Class participation
----------------------------- ----


The criterion to determine a final grade assumes that students have met attendance requirements discussed above.


100-97.5% = A+
92.5– 97.4% = A
90 – 92.4% = A-
87.5 – 89.9%
82.5 – 87.4% = B
80.0 – 82.4%
77.5 – 79.9%
70.0 – 77.4% = C
0 – 69.9% = F

Students will be graded based on the scoring rubric provided. The grades are assigned according to the values published by the Hunter College Graduate catalog.

1 Course overview, basic definitionsand concepts.       
Multiculturalism as a component of disability.
K.2.a.c.e., K.4.d.,K.5.a.d.,A.1
2 Psychological and cultural aspects of disability throughout the life span K.2.a.c.e.,                                                                              K.3.c.,K.4.h.,K.5.a.b.,A.1
3 Reaction to disablement throughout the life span K.2.d., K.3.c., K.5.a.
4 Disabled children,adolescents and adults living in a handicapping world K.2.c.,K.3.c.,
5 Independent living K.2.d.,K.3.c.,K.4.h.,        K.5.a.b.
6 Housing,Transportation and access to schools as
components of living with a disability
7 The family, family culture and community culture K.2.a.,c.e., K.4.d.,K.5.a.d.,A.1
8 Sexuality and Intimacy K.2.c.,K.4.d.,K.5.d.
9 Interactive Class Discussion
10 Midterm Examination
11 Education: from special education through college K.2.d.,K.3.c.e., K.4.b.c.d.,K.5.a.b., A.1
12 Employment
K.2.c.d.e., K.4.b.c.d.,K.4.h., .5.a.b.,A.1
13 Friendship and recreation K.2.c.e., K.5.d.,A.1
14 Interactive Class Discussion
15 Midterm Examination


Expectations for Written Proficiency
Students must demonstrate consistently satisfactory written English in coursework. The Hunter College Writing Center provides tutoring to students across the curriculum and at all academic levels. For more information, see In addition, the Teacher Placement Office in the School of Education offers a writing workshop during the semester and a series of free writing classes are offered to students who are in need of additional support in improving their writing skills. In both cases, stop by room I000 West for information and dates of workshops.

Integrity and Plagiarism
Hunter College has subscribed to the online company, allows faculty to compare student papers with extensive databases of billions of documents in order to detect and verify material that has been plagiarized.  In this course, is used to deter students from plagiarizing material.  Please be aware that student papers will be examined from time to time.  Students who plagiarize will be punished. “Hunter College regards acts of academic dishonesty (e.g., plagiarism, cheating on examinations, obtaining unfair advantage, and falsification of records and official documents) as serious offenses against the values of intellectual honesty.  The college is committed to enforcing the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity and will pursue cases of academic dishonesty according to the Hunter College Academic Integrity Procedures.”

Statement of Reasonable Accomodation
In compliance with the American Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) and with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Hunter College is committed to ensuring educational parity and accommodations for all students with documented disabilities and/or medical conditions. It is recommended that all students with documented disabilities (Emotional, Medical, Physical and/ or Learning) consult the Office of AccessABILITY located in Room E1124 to secure necessary academic accommodations.  For further information and assistance please call (212- 772- 4857)/TTY (212- 650- 3230).


K.2.a. multicultural and pluralistic trends, including characteristics and concerns between and within diverse groups nationally and internationally;

K.2.c. individual, couple, family, group, and community strategies for working with diverse populations and ethnic groups;

K.2.d. counselors' roles in social justice, advocacy and conflict resolution, cultural self¬ awareness, the nature of biases, prejudices, processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination, and other culturally supported behaviors that are detrimental to the growth of the human spirit, mind, or body;

K.2.e. theories of multicultural counseling, theories of identity development, and multicultural competencies; and

K.2.f.  ethical and legal considerations.

K.3.c. human behavior, including an understanding of developmental crises, disability, exceptional behavior, addictive behavior, psychopathology, and situational and environmental factors that affect both normal and abnormal behavior;

K.3.e. ethical and legal considerations.

K.4.b. career, avocational, educational, occupational and labor market information
resources, visual and print media, computer-based career information systems, and other electronic career information systems;

K.4.c. career development program planning, organization, implementation,
administration, and evaluation;

K.4.d. interrelationships among and between work, family, and other life roles and factors including the role of diversity and gender in career development;

K.4.e. career and educational planning, placement, follow-up, and evaluation;

K.4.h. career counseling processes, techniques, and resources, including those applicable to specific populations; and ethical and legal considerations.

K.5.a. counselor and consultant characteristics and behaviors that influence helping processes including age, gender, and ethnic differences, verbal and nonverbal behaviors and personal characteristics, orientations, and skills;

K.5.d. a systems perspective that provides an understanding of family and other systems theories and major models of family and related interventions. Students will be exposed to a rationale for selecting family and other systems theories as appropriate modalities for family assessment and counseling;

A.1. history, philosophy, and current trends in school counseling and educational systems;

A.7. the role of racial, ethnic, and cultural heritage, nationality, socioeconomic status, family structure, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious and spiritual beliefs, occupation, physical and mental status, and equity issues in school counseling;

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