Elective Years 1 and 2: Developing Skills for Developmental Disabilities

Department: Pediatrics 
Title: Developing Skills for Developmental Disabilities
Location: University of Alberta, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital
Duration: 12 hours

Iman Kassam (izkassam@ualberta.ca), Student Rep
Dr. Lisa Lemieux (llemieux@ualberta.ca), Preceptor
Dr Rebecca Baril (rgole@ualberta.ca


This elective will provide a variety of opportunities for students to complete a minimum of 12 hours of experience. The elective will be offered on a virtual platform with the opportunity to transition to in-person experiences, pending the restrictions of the pandemic. There will be three different opportunities for students to gain experience, with some components being mandatory and some highly recommended. This elective is open to first- and second-year medical students, with preference being given to second year students for the clinical experiences. The capacity of this elective is 24 students to ensure that all receive clinical shadowing opportunities. The virtual sessions will be open for any medical student who wishes to attend, with no maximum capacity. Students will participate in a skills evening designed with the theme of developing effective communication skills when working with children and families with disabilities. This will include an initial presentation about communication strategies, followed by small group rotations. There will be four rotations, each providing interactive opportunities to develop history, physical exam, and communication skills with a focus on the pediatric population and those with disabilities. This communication skills evening will be offered either virtually or in-person, depending on the pandemic restrictions. Students will also have opportunities to sign up for shadowing experiences within the department of developmental pediatrics. Shadowing experiences will be offered either virtually or in-person, depending on the pandemic restrictions.


The goal of this elective is to Increase confidence of medical learners interacting with those who experience developmental conditions and disabilities, their family unit, and the multidisciplinary healthcare team.


1. Gain further experience in pediatric history and physical examination skills related to those with developmental disabilities.

2. Develop a framework for typical child development and atypical child development.

3. Provide strategies for improving communication skills, especially when working with those with disabilities.

4. Gain an understanding of different aspects of the multidisciplinary team approach in working with those with disabilities and developmental conditions.

Last Updated: December 1, 2023