This unit of study is the first core unit undertaken in the Disability specialisation. In this unit students will be introduced to the origins and meanings of the terms 'disability', 'inclusion', 'impairment' and 'handicap'. Through the adoption of a critical lens students will be asked to evaluate key assumptions and language embodying these assumptions and their association with people with disabilities. Historical, cultural, political and social factors that influence contemporary issues of how people with disability belong in society will also be explored. This unit gives university students an opportunity to also reflect upon and assess their own personal biases related to the nature of disability. They will be required to reflect on their educational experiences with people with disabilities in schools and in the broader community.
University students will develop an understanding of the history of the biomedical and social model of disability and how both these and other models shape notions of 'disablement'. Drawing on their personal understanding of disability and inclusive practice in society, students will examine the following key questions. What does it mean to have a disability? What are some critical assumptions made about people with disabilities? What are positive community assumptions made about people with disabilities? How does the social, medical, psychological and political agencies define, confer and construct the life experiences of people with disabilities? What supports are available for people with disabilities? Through their connection to professional experiences, students will begin to identify how their own personal biases associated with disability may have unknowingly impacted on their encounters with disabled people.