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HSW2200 Disability Theory and Concepts

Semester 2, 2022 Ipswich On-campus
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Wellbeing
Grading basis : Graded
Course fee schedule : https://www.unisq.edu.au/current-students/administration/fees/fee-schedules


Examiner: Kate Jonathan


This course will enable students to develop knowledge of how social processes contribute to the marginalisation of people with disabilities throughout their lifespan. It also examines diversity and influences related to disability while exploring policy and program development in order to address factors such as advocacy and grief and loss related to disability. This course examines the field of disability in relation to daily living, employment, recreation, education and rehabilitation.

Whether the subject of curiosity, pity, exaltation, revulsion or strategic disregard, people with disabilities and notions of disability serve to illustrate not only the `parameters' of human existence but how 'disability' may be problematised as a social construction and an important source of subjective expression. In this course, disability is examined from a sociological perspective in order to develop knowledge and awareness of attitudes, the need for advocacy as well as grief and loss associated with disability. When working with people with disability it is important to understand how people live their lives according to perceptions of health, rehabilitation, infirmity and spiritual transcendence. This course will provide a framework for understanding disabilities and disability-related issues within societal contexts.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate disability from a sociological perspective;
  2. Compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of different definitions and of major theoretical perspectives regarding disability;
  3. Explore and examine how diverse social factors such as gender, ethnicity, Aboriginality, and sexuality interact with disability;
  4. Analyse attitudes and the impact of disability with an emphasis on the perspectives of individuals with disabilities, their families and other significant people;
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of societal attitudes and influences relating to disability and the need for advocacy;
  6. Examine grief and loss experiences by individuals and family following identification of permanent disability.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Theoretical Perspectives of Disability 20.00
2. Cultural Differences and Perspectives on Disabilities 20.00
3. Lived Experiences of Disability & Wellbeing across life span 20.00
4. Social Policy and Contemporary Social Movements 20.00
5. Disability around the World 10.00
6. Grief and Loss experiences 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Written Report No 50 1,2,4,5
Assignments Written Essay No 50 3,4,5,6
Date printed 10 February 2023