California State University, Sacramento
School of Education
Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and School Psychology

EDS 260b
Psychological, Social and Medical Aspects of Disability
Spring 2006
Time: Monday, 4:00 p.m. - 6:50 p.m.; Room: Eureka 315

Instructor: Todd Koch, Ph.D.
Phone: (916) 487-6547
E-mail: (in Subject line, type “Med Aspects class”)
Office Hours: Monday 7:00 - finished

Course Description

Study of the psychological, social, and medical aspects of various congenital, hereditary, and trauma-induced disabilities with specific emphasis on the effect of these factors on vocational adjustment.

Course Objectives

1. To provide students with a basic set of skills for evaluating and interpreting psychological, social, medical, and vocational factors of disability.
2. To familiarize students with the types of disabilities most frequently encountered by rehabilitation professionals working in agencies, facilities, hospitals, and other organizations.
3. To promote the development of resources that can be utilized by rehabilitation professionals to assist persons with disabilities in coping with functional limitations, adjustment to disability, and vocational implications of disability.
4. To provide an overview regarding rehabilitation philosophy and process to enable the student to view the course content from a holistic standpoint.

Text and Materials

Medical, Psychosocial and Vocational Aspects of Disability (2002). Brodwin, Tellez & Brodwin. Elliott and Fitzpatrick, Inc. Direct Order: (800) 843-4977

Other materials as assigned


Date Topic Assignment
January 23 Course overview

January 30 DR Order of Selection Decide Project Topic
DOT; Case study Complete Language & Etiquette Survey

February 6 Diabetes; Renal/Kidney Dysfunction Read Ch. 1, 2, 17 & 33
(in Library - Room 2024) Diabetes Assignment

February 13 Upper Extremity Disorders: Carpal Read Ch. 23 & 24
(Fran Wagner) Tunnel; Tendonitis; Cumulative Trauma

February 20 Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Disabilities Read Ch. 18 & 19
Cardiovascular & Respiratory Assignm’t

February 27 Cancer Read Ch. 14
Cancer Risk Assignment

March 6 Hematological Disorders: Lymphoma Read Ch. 15 & 16
Leukemia, Hemophilia; Sickle Cell

March 13 Spring Break

March 20 Visual Impairments Read Ch. 13
(Tentative- Mike O’Brien, M.S.)

March 27 HIV and AIDS; Hepatitis Read Ch. 6
HIV Assignment

April 3 Burns Read Ch. 7 & 8
(Tentative- at Shriner’s Hosp.) Hepatitis Assignment

April 10 Spinal Cord Injury Read Ch. 22
Spinal Cord Injury Assignment

April 17 Back Injury; Arthritis; Lupus Read Ch. 20 & 21
Arthritis Assignment
Shriner’s reaction paper

April 24 Hearing Impairments Read Ch. 12
Hearing Impairment Assignment
May 1 Miscellaneous: Sleep Disorders; Chronic
Fatigue; Post Polio; Chronic Pain

May 8


1. Complete reading assignments prior to the date of the scheduled class.
2. Write a short (less than one page) review of each chapter, including (1) a brief description of the chapter content, (2) the three most important things you learned, (3) whether you thought the chapter was enjoyable reading or not, and (4) why.
3. Complete homework activities prior to the date indicated on the schedule.
4. Complete a paper and presentation on a disability that we will discuss this semester (see “Paper and Presentation”, below)
5. Compile a list of local resources/agencies that provide services to individuals with the disability described within your Paper and Presentation.
6. Compile an annotated bibliography of website resources that are specific to the disability described in # 4 above.
7. Attend class and participate in discussion (See “Attendance Policy”)

Paper and Presentation

Each student will research one of the disabilities that we will discuss this semester with the goal of becoming an expert on that disability. This research will culminate in the development of a paper and an informative presentation for the class related to that disability. Pertinent handouts for class members should be created to summarize information presented to the class. The Paper and Presentation will be graded separately.

The presentation will occur on the date that the related disability is discussed in class, if possible. Presentations and discussion should be no longer than 25-30 minutes. The sign-up sheet will be passed out during the second week of class and each student will indicate the disability they plan to research, and the associated date of presentation. No two students may select the same disability; however, you may select a subtype of a similar disability (e.g., asthma and emphysema).

The paper that you submit to the instructor should be typed and double-spaced with a reference section. The paper should be approximately 6-10 pages in length, although quality is more important than quantity. The paper should be in APA style and references should be no more than 5 years old, with rare exception. You should include a bare minimum of 5 references from professional journals or books. If you also use Internet references, make sure you use appropriate citations.

During your presentation, do not read your paper to the class. Rather, you should share the information you have gathered in an informative fashion that extends beyond your handouts and your paper. Handouts should serve as a supplement to your presentation.

The following information should be included in your paper:

Description of the Disability. What is it, how does it manifest itself, what are the signs and symptoms, is it congenital, etc.?

Cause. Is the cause or etiology of this disability known or suspected? If so, what is it, and can it be prevented and/or remedied by treatment?

Epidemiology. How common is this disability in the general population? Does it tend to strike any particular population more frequently than others? What is the usual age of onset or could onset occur at any age?

Effect. What effect does the disability usually have upon the individual? Is there a progressive course to the disability or is it stable? How does it affect the person’s ability to function at home or work? What are the functional limitations associated with this disability?

Psychosocial Impact. What is the psychosocial impact of the disability? How do the individual, the family and the community perceive it? Are there common stereotypes and/or prejudices regarding this disability?

Treatment in Recovery. What can be done to lessen the impact of this disability? This might include medication, therapies, assistive technology or accommodation. Focus on state-of-the-art developments such as new medications, therapies, or assistive technology.

Summary. What is your feeling about this disability? What did you learn by doing this paper? Share the result of this learning experience with the instructor in a reflective manner, e.g., consider how your new awareness may affect your life or your work in the future.

Local Resources

Each student will contact 5 local agencies/resources that provide treatment/services to, or information regarding, the disability selected for their project. The student will document their contact with each entity by providing a list including address, phone number, contact person(s), and a one-paragraph description of the entity and its relevance to the disability.

Internet Resources

Each student will identify a minimum of 5 web sites that offer pertinent information regarding the disability. The list will be provided in the form of an annotated bibliography, with the name of the web-site, web site address, a two- or three-sentence description of the web-site, and a rationale for why the student feels the site is valuable.

Attendance Policy

Attendance and participation is the most important element of this class. After the first week of class, a maximum of one absence will be allowed prior to the deduction of points from your attendance score. Two points will be deducted for every absence thereafter.
Evaluation Criteria

Credit will be given for assignments based upon the following:

Chapter Reviews/Homework Activities (25/25) 50 Points
Paper 15 Points
Presentation 15 Points
Local Resources 5 Points
Internet Resources 5 Points
Attendance/Participation 10 Points
Total 100 Points


Your final grade will be based on the following:

A 90-100
B 79-89
C 69-78
D 59-68
F < 59

ASSIGNMENTS (All websites are “up” as of 01/17/06)
Arthritis Assignment
Go to the following website and read about arthritis; then answer the questions below:
1. What is the most common type of arthritis? Describe the effect of this type of arthritis.
2. What is the second most common form of arthritis? Describe the effect of this type of arthritis.
3. What is an NSAID and how does it work to treat arthritis?
4. What do rheumatologists recommend in terms of nonmedicinal treatment of arthritis?
5. Go to the following website and answer this question: Which diseases are considered autoimmune disorders and what does the term autoimmune mean?
Cancer Risk Assignment
Go to the following website and take the cancer risk questionnaire for 2 of the cancers you see listed and summarize what you learned:
Cardiovascular and Respiratory Disorders
Directions: The objective of this activity is for you to utilize the websites below to answer the following questions:
HINT: It is often useful to seek indexes, search options or encyclopedias of information to answer specific questions quickly.
1. What are 5 risk factors that contribute to heart disease?
2. What is high blood pressure and what causes it? What level of blood pressure would be considered high?
3. What is atrial fibrillation? Why is it so dangerous, in other words, what other medical condition can it cause?
4. How is this condition treated?
5. What is COPD and how is it treated?
American Heart Association
National Jewish Medical and Research Center
Diabetes Assignment
Directions: Please read your textbook and visit the following websites to formulate answers to the following questions.
1. What is the primary difference between the 2 types of diabetes?
2. Read about stem cell research and briefly describe how it applies to treatment of diabetes.;_id=1653AE4B-2A5E-7B6E-16999554B2C1971C
3. What are some of the common medical complications for persons with diabetes? How do you reduce or control the medical complications of diabetes?
4. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of individuals with type II diabetes. What might be the implications for rehabilitation counselors? What rehab strategies would you employ with this population?
5. Go to the following website and view information under "Pump Stuff" about the various pumps and other products that are on the market.
Hearing Impairment Assignment
Research the topic of cochlear implants and comment regarding why there is a controversy in the Deaf Community concerning this procedure. What are your opinions on the topic?
Hepatitis Assignment
Visit the CDC website and answer the following questions:
1. Find the facts sheet for Hepatitis A and describe how the virus is transmitted and prevented.
2. How is Hepatitis B transmitted and how would you know if you have it (symptoms)?
3. How is Hepatitis B treated?
4. What percentage of the population will have no symptoms after contracting Hepatitis C?
5. What are the long-term effects of HCV?

HIV Assignment
Read the appropriate textbook chapter and the following case study; then, answer the questions below.
Helen is a 46-year old woman who discovered she was HIV+ 5 years ago. A divorced woman, Helen has no children and has only lived in Sacramento for 6 years. She believes she contracted HIV during a brief relationship with a man who subsequently moved to New York. Upon discovering she was HIV+, Helen told no one; she has made few friends in Sacramento and feels isolated.
Helen was working as a sales clerk at Macy's but had to stop working 5 years ago because she was too sick. At that time, her t-cell count was 225 and she had begun to demonstrate some of the symptoms of AIDS. She was taking AZT at the time and it made her quite sick; additionally, she was tired much of the time and lacked the stamina to go on working. She quit her job, applied for Social Security and was accepted for services.
In the past year, Helen has been taking new medication including protease inhibitors and her t-cell count is up to 500 and her viral load is down. She believes she may be capable of working but is uncertain of her stamina level. She doubts her ability to work as a sales clerk. She has no other work experience and was previously a homemaker. If she returns to work, she fears she will lose her SS and medical benefits. Her medications cost $15-20,000 a year. At the same time, SS has informed her that she may no longer be eligible for benefits due to her improving health.
Helen decides to apply for services at the Department of Rehab. You are her counselor. Please address the following questions:
1. Would Helen be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services through DR?
2. If so, why and how might you facilitate her acceptance as a client for services?
3. What kind of questions would you need to ask Helen during the initial interview?
4. How would you go about assessing potential vocational goals as you work with Helen?
5. What recommendations might you make to Helen to assist her in her return to work?
Spinal Cord Injury
Read the textbook chapter and review this website; then answer the following questions:
1. What is the difference between paraplegia and quadriplegia in terms of the specific area of the spinal cord where the injury occurs?
2. What are the difference between a complete and an incomplete lesion?
3. What is Autonomic Dysreflexia?
4. What causes this condition and how can it be prevented?
5. After you review the website, tell me what you think your biggest adjustment would be if you had a spinal cord injury.

Reaction Paper Shriner's Hospital Visit
Following your visit to the hospital, please write a reaction paper concerning your impressions of the facility and the following:
• If you had been a patient of Shriner's Hospital as a child, what factors would affect your adjustment to life following a severe burn?
• What types of services and assistance might facilitate your adjustment to visible physical disfigurement as a result of a burn?

Last modified: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 06:03 PM