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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Health in Social Science : Clinical Psychology

Postgraduate Course: Intellectual Disabilities - Clinical Placement (CLPS12039)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Health in Social Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 12 (Postgraduate)
Course typePlacement AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThe aim of the clinical placement is to give the trainees the opportunity to develop their clinical competence in relation to clients with an intellectual disability, their families and both formal and informal carers, through supervised practice in a variety of clinical settings with a clients with a range of psychological needs.
Course description a) Academic Description
The placement will take place in NHS settings, normally under the supervision of a Clinical Psychologist. There may be situations where trainees are supervised by more than one supervisor, by other Applied Psychologist(s) (e.g. Counselling, Forensic), or by members of other professions according to the Programme Eligibility criteria for supervisors which are found in the NHS and Clinical Practice Placements Handbook. Depending on the availability of placements, it may be that some trainees will complete a split placement in conjunction with an elective half placement.

The placement will be scheduled to last a minimum of 5-6 months and trainees will typically be on placement for 4 days each week apart from weeks when they have teaching (see Handbook for details). During the placement, trainees are required to demonstrate principles of work relevant to clinical psychology practice and the application of evidence based practice governed by psychological models and concepts. During this placement, trainees will have 1 study day per week apart from weeks when they are teaching (see Handbook for details). This time is for reading and study relating to placement as well as academic coursework.

b) Outline Content
During the placement, trainees are expected to have a range of experiences and client contacts, such that they are able to demonstrate competencies in the application of psychological theory to practice relevant to this population.

Relevant experience might include:
- Assessments for intellectual disability (using reliable and valid measures), that show an integration of cognitive functioning, adaptive functioning and development history.
- Work with clients presenting with emotional and behavioural difficulties.
- Case(s) where there is an issue of declining cognitive abilities.
- Case(s) involving transitional issues, for example, an adolescent leaving school/home or an adult moving from one care setting to another.
- Cases(s) that involve sexuality or relationship issues.
- Cases involving behaviour that challenges, using assessments and interventions based on Positive Behavioural Support
- Indirect work, which will encompass describing psychological principles to staff and family carers.
- Collaborative multidisciplinary (and if possible multi-agency) work.

A wide range of referrals should be aimed for and could include the following categories:
- Clients presenting with a significant and a severe level of intellectual impairment
- Experience of clients with sensory difficulties.
- Experience of clients with physical difficulties.
- Children (if possible).
- Working within a range of settings such as hospital (where possible) and community settings (for example, clients' homes, day provision and residential establishments).
- Participating in Teamwork

c) Student Learning Experience
Trainees will be on placement in NHS settings working clinically with clients/patients. The settings may be in a psychology department or in a multi-disciplinary or multi-agency team. Working with families or carers or staff from NHS and other agencies (eg social services, education) is usually a key element of intellectual disability clinical placements. Trainees will receive regular supervision from their supervisor(s) in line with guidance from the professional/accrediting bodies, in addition to other informal contact and input, sometimes from other psychologists or team members. Trainees can expect to observe their supervisor(s) in line with guidance from professional/accrediting bodies during the placement. Trainees are required to be observed by their supervisor(s) during the placement, in line with guidance from the professional/accrediting bodies, in order to receive feedback on their performance and for the supervisor to be able to evaluate their progress towards their standard and personalised learning objectives and implementation of agreed changes. Formative feedback will be provided by placement supervisor(s) verbally in regular supervision sessions and, in writing, by completion of the Evaluation of the Clinical Competence form prior to mid-placement visit. Verbal formative feedback will also be provided by the mid-placement visitor. Summative feedback will be provided by the placement supervisor(s) at the end of placement through completion of the Evaluation of Clinical Competence Form which is reviewed at the End of Placement Meeting.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Lecture Hours 8, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Placement Study Abroad Hours 180, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 204 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework

Trainee clinical competence is assessed at mid-placement and end of placement based on the following:
- Supervisor evaluation of clinical competence (Evaluation of clinical competence form)
- The extent to which the trainee has met minimum placement requirements (Assessed by placement experience checklist, weekly placement log, mid-placement visit report, summary of placement experience form)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Apply the concepts, theories and principles of the learning disability specialism in an integrated, critical, ethical and professional way in clinical practice.
  2. Clinical competence as applied to a range of client needs and in a variety of clinical settings in relation to: assessment, formulation, intervention and evaluation of behavioural and psychological difficulties in clients with a learning disability (including indirect work with families and carers); participation in collaborative multi-disciplinary teamwork and the ethical and legal issues pertaining to learning disability clinical psychology services.
  3. Apply their knowledge and skills to develop creative and original responses to clinical problems and issues .
  4. Analyse, synthesise and evaluate the taught material and apply it to dealing with complex and novel situations and issues in clinical practice in an informed and reflective way.
Reading List
Key Texts
Emerson, E., Dickson, K., Gone, R., Hatton, C., Bromley, J. & Caine, A. (Eds.) (2012). Clinical Psychology and People with Intellectual Disabilities, 2nd Edition. Chichester: Wiley & Sons.

Taylor, J., Lindsay, W., Hastings, R. & Hatton, C. (Eds.) (2013). Psychological Therapies for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities. Chichester: Wiley & Sons.

Other Texts
Baum S & Lynggaard H (2006) Intellectual Disabilities: A Systemic Approach. Karnac.

British Psychological Society (2015). Guidance on the assessment and diagnosis of intellectual disabilities in adulthood. Leicester: BPS. Available to Faculty of ID members at:

Carr A. O, Reilly G. Noonan Walsh P. & McEvoy J. (2007) The Handbook of Intellectual Disability and Clinical Psychology Practice: Routledge ISBN: 978-1-58391-862-3

Emerson, E. & Einfield, S.L. (2013). Challenging Behaviour. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Emerson, E. & Hatton, C. (2013). Health inequalities and people with intellectual disabilities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fraser W I, Sines D., & Kerr M (1998). Hallas 'The care of people with Intellectual Disabilities' - 9th Edition Butterworth: Heinemann.

Jordan, R. (2001) Autism with Severe Learning Difficulties London: Souvenir Press

Lovett. H (1996) Learning to Listen: positive approaches and people with difficult behaviour London: Paul H Brookes

NHS Education Scotland (2014). Thinking about me? Essential psychological care for people with learning disabilities. Edinburgh: NES. Available from:

O'Brien, G.& Yule, W. (2002) Behavioural Phenotypes: Mac Keith Press: London
Royal College of Psychiatrists, British Psychological Society and Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (2007) Challenging Behabviour: A unified Approach. RCP/BPS/RCSLT, Available at:

British Psychological Society/ Royal College of Psychiatrists. (2009). Dementia and people with learning disabilities. Leicester: BPS. Available to Faculty of ID members at:

Stenfert Kroese, B., Dagnan, D. and Loumidis, K. (Eds.) (1997) Cognitive-behaviour therapy for people with learning disabilities. London: Routledge. [EUML
Talbot, T., Astbury, G. & Mason, T (eds.) (2010) Key Concepts in Learning Disability, SAGE: London

Watchman, K. (Ed.) (2014). Intellectual disability and dementia. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Other Important Publications
Scottish Government (2013). Keys to Life: Improving Quality of Life for People with Learning Disabilities. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. Available from:

Scottish Executive (2000). The same as you? A review of services for people with learning disabilities. (2000) Edinburgh: Scottish Executive. (

Professional Affairs Boards of the British Psychological Society. Learning Disability: Definitions and Contexts. (2000) Leicester. British Psychological Society. (Due to be updated soon)

Intellectual Disabilities Journals
American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Research in Developmental Disabilities
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
British Journal of Learning Disability
British Journal of Developmental Disabilities
Journal of Special Education
The Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
Learning Disability Practice
Journal of Intellectual Disabilities
Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis
Clinical Psychology
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Trainees completing Learning Disability Clinical Placement will have been required to demonstrate a range of attributes and personal and professional skills in line with the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Practitioner Psychologists, the HCPC Standards of Conduct and Ethics for Students and the Required Learning Outcomes of the BPS Accreditation Criteria for Clinical Psychology Training Programmes.
KeywordsClinical Psychology,Clinical Practice,Intellectual Disability,Placement
Course organiserDr Jennifer Hadden
Course secretaryMr Timothy Abbot
Tel: (0131 6)50 8498
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