Course syllabus for

Disability and Psychology, 7.5 credits

Funktionsnedsättningens psykologi, 7.5 hp
This course syllabus is valid from spring 2022.
Please note that the course syllabus is available in the following versions:
Spring2022 , Spring2024
Course code
Course name
Disability and Psychology
7.5 credits
Form of Education
Higher Education, study regulation 2007
Main field of study 
G2 - First cycle 2 
Grading scale
Fail (U) or pass (G)
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Decided by
Education committee CNS
Decision date
Course syllabus valid from
Spring 2022

Specific entry requirements

Passed results from semester 1-3 of the Psychology programme consisting 90 credits and at least 15 credits from semester 4.


On completion of the course, the students should be able to

Knowledge and understanding 

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding for patients with a number of more common disabilities.
  • Demonstrate knowledge regarding suitable support and treatments and be able to give examples of adjustments that are necessary for various disabilities.
  • Define "habilitation" and describe its purpose in the Swedish healthcare.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to include the network of people around the patient.
  • Demonstrate interprofessional knowledge for the disability area, i.e. describe the role of other professions that also treat and give support for the patient and how you as a psychologist interact with them.

Skills and abilities

  • Demonstrate ability to reason, think and communicate from the perspective of the patient for a number of more common disabilities.

Judgement ability and approach

  • Reflect, reason about ethical dilemmas in the role of the psychologist in relation to someone with a disability.


Definition of disability
To have a disability means that a person does not have the same physical, mental or intellectual ability as most people. A disability can occur as a result of a congenital injury or illness. It can also occur due to a later injury or accident. Disabilities can be seen as originating in the individual but it can also be seen as limitations in the surround environment. Discussing different terminology and definitions is part of the course.
Course content
The purpose of the course is to prepare psychologists to work with patients who have long-term disabilities. The course begins with a review of the biopsychosocial approach and an introduction to some common physical and mental disabilities including their prevalence, comorbidity and quality of life.
The course provides knowledge of what it means to work based on stepped-care model from psychoeducation to person-centered, specialized interventions. Here examples of different types of support and treatments are given and how adjustments for different disabilities can be made and what scientific support these have.
As habilitation services have a central role in the care of people with disabilities in Sweden, the course addresses the goals of habilitation, including the emphasis on increasing the patient's participation and independence in their own care and society at large. A model for a consultative approach via networks around the patient is described and the roles and responsibilities of different professionals in this network are addressed.

Teaching methods

The course is part-time. Teacher-led lectures/ seminars are the dominant form of work. Interviews and study visits may also occur. The course presupposes independent reading of the specified course literature according to reading instructions in the schedule in order to be able to actively participate during the lectures.
Compulsory attendance applies to all lectures, as well as any study visits, see the heading "Examination".


The objectives of the course are examined as follows:
a) Written assignment after each lecture/ seminar (approx. 1-2 A4 pages with font size 12, single line spacing), each assignment submitted within five working days after each lecture. Each task is given U or G.
b) Mandatory attendance at all lectures/ seminars and possibly study visits.
The course is graded U or G.
The grade G requires G on all written assignments, as well as fulfillment of compulsory course elements.
Absence from or non-fulfillment of compulsory educational elements
Absence from a lecture or study visit can be replaced by an extended written assignment (1 extra A4 per missed lecture).
Study results cannot be reported until the student has participated in or fulfilled compulsory course elements, or compensated for any absence/ failure to fulfill in accordance with instructions from the examiner. Absence from or unfulfillment of a compulsory course element may imply that the student cannot retake the element until the next time the course is offered. 
Possibility of exception from the course syllabus' regulations on examination
If there are special grounds, or a need for adaptation for a student with a disability, the examiner may decide to deviate from the syllabus' regulations on the examination form, the number of examination opportunities, the possibility of supplementation or exemptions from the compulsory section/s of the course etc. Content and learning outcomes as well as the level of expected skills, knowledge and attitudes may not be changed, removed or reduced.

Transitional provisions

If the course is cancelled or goes through substantial changes, information about interim regulations will be stated here.

Other directives

Course evaluation takes place according to KI's local guidelines. Students are informed of the results and any measures taken on the course website.
Teaching in English may occur.

Literature and other teaching aids

Mandatory literature

Note that students will need to find further articles themselves, in order to conduct the written assignments during the course.

World report on disability
World report on disability
Att undanröja hinder
Cooper, K.; Loades, M.E.; Russell, A. Adapting Psychological Therapies for Autism : Therapist Experience, Skills and Confidence 45 (2018) s. 43-50

Surley, L.; Dagnan, D. A review of the frequency and nature of adaptations to cognitive behavioural therapy for adults with Intellectual Disabilities 32 (2019) :2, s. 219-237

Recommended literature

Marini, Irmo psychological and social impact of illness and disability
Dougherty, A. Michael Psychological consultation and collaboration in school and community settings
Watt, Molly The Importance of Inclusive and Accessible Technology
Guidelines for assessment of and intervention with persons with disabilities
Föreningen Habilitering i Sverige
Policy för delaktighet för personer med funktionsnedsättning
Spain, D.; Happé, F. How to Optimise Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for People with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) : A Delphi Study 38 (2020) s. 184-208

Evans, L.; Randle-Phillips, C. People with intellectual disabilities’ experiences of psychological therapy : A systematic review and meta-ethnography 24 (2020) :2, s. 233-252