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Discover Disability Studies


Disability Studies Major and Minor

Belinda Webb

My name's Belinda Webb and I'm a special education teacher and I work with students with disabilities.

I also work in the disability specialisation here at Victoria University and teaching pre-service teachers about working with students with disabilities. This course is offered to P-12 Bachelor of Education students from Year 2, and they can undertake a disability specialisation and undertake five core units within my subject as well as a range of other practical aspects.

So lots of hands-on experiences within schools, practical placements within special schools lots of experience and hands-on activities that they'll use within their classrooms particularly when working with students with disabilities. A lot of students come in and they don't really know anything about disability. Some students have never ever met a person with a disability, so we start really gently and we work into understanding about disability and understanding students and people with disabilities and what that might mean for them; and then being able to relate that to how they can teach those students in their classrooms and how they might work with them.

Students will learn a range of skills during this major. They will be able to understand how to support all learners within the classroom as well as identifying diverse needs within the classroom and particular impairments and disabilities that might present. They'll be able to explore different aspects of disability and learn a little bit about them; being able to identify the strengths and the challenges that people with disabilities face and then how to use them in the classroom and how to use them to their abilities.

They also learn things on assessment reporting and being able to plan effective lessons and engaging hands on material in terms of supporting students with their physiological and emotional needs as well. Students will engage in a whole range of activities that are really practical and hands-on and I think that's probably one of the highlights and one of the things that the students report back on as being something that they've really grown from, being able to try new things and be able to implement new tools and strategies, in particular, ways of communicating with students with disabilities, ways of being able to support students or think differently about how they might plan for those students within the classroom, through to engaging with families and working and supporting families of students with disabilities.

The one most important thing that they get out of this unit is the understanding that inclusion is about all students and that understanding of supporting students' ability rather than their disability and working out how important that is to their learning and development.

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