Supporting Families

Important Notice

This course is not active. Please contact Department Chair for more information.

Applied Community Studies
Classroom & Community Support
Course Code
CCSD 2334
Semester Length
Flexible delivery ranging over 1 to 15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered


Course Description
In this course students explore the various perspectives on families with member(s) who live with disabilities. Students will have the opportunity to examine the strengths and stresses of these families, the interdependence of family and community, and the unique role of the practitioner in supporting families.
Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • Parents share common experiences and responses to the knowledge that their child has a developmental disability. Related theories include: Grief and Loss, Chronic Sorrow and Recognition of Gifts Received. 
  • Beliefs and value systems are connected to support strategies and treatment options persons with autism and their families.
  • Over the last four decades, societal beliefs and values regarding people with disabilities and their families have changed. These shifts in beliefs and values have led to dramatic changes in the level and type of services provided to families.  Consequently, the experiences, perceptions and beliefs of families can vary dramatically, depending on the age of their son and/or daughter and the prevailing values and beliefs at the time of their birth.
  • There has been a historical range of formal and informal services and supports available to families. It is important to understand how contemporary approaches have emerged from historical ones.
  • The relationship between families and professionals has evolved from a medical-directed to a professional-directed to a family/consumer-directed model. The changing role of professionals and paraprofessionals in the lives of families of individuals with a disability has been significant.
  • The presence of a child with disabilities in the family can impact members of that family differently.  Stress and possible reactions to that stress is reviewed from the advantage point of different subsystems with the family (i.e. sibling issues, marital issues, transitions, and parenting demands)
  • The legal role of parents has changed with respect to their children. This is because of changes to guardianship legislation in British Columbia.
  • The dramatic increase to the incidence rate of autism has impacted classroom supports. Practitioners need to be aware of provincial special education policies in context of family participation and collaboration.
Learning Activities
  • Lecture
  • Guest lecture
  • Video/DVD
  • Case studies (work with families)
  • Group presentations
Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of:

  • Critical research paper
  • Group presentation
  • Reflective journal
  • Classroom or online activity participation
  • Online quizzes
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Examine different theoretical perspectives on families with a member who has a disability.
    • Considers at least two different theoretical perspectives on the parental response of having a child with a disability (i.e. Chronic Sorrow, Grief and Loss, Gifts and Assets)
    • Considers the impact on the family of having a member living with autism and other disabilities
    • Examines past and present societal perspectives and attitudes regarding people with a disability and the impact on the family
    • Explores diverse families and cultural attitudes regarding people with developmental disabilities
  2. Reflect on the role of a practitioner with the family
    • Considers Family-Centered/Family Directed approaches to support
    • Examines the parents’ roles as Caregiver, Advocate, Service Recipient and Employer
    • Examines own values and attitudes towards family and the possible influence they may have on support to the family
    • Demonstrates a willingness to work with attitudes at variance with one’s own
    • Articulates the boundaries and limitations of the practitioner’s role
    • Acknowledges potential tensions between the practitioner’s role and the family role
  3. Examine the impact of stress on the family
    • Explains several theoretical perspectives on the impact of stress on individual and family
    • Considers the perspective of different members of the family (i.e. mother, father, sibling extended family)
    • Considers how a child with a disability may influence the family’s progression through the Family Life Cycle, including issues facing aging parents
    • Approaches the concept of family under stress from a perspective of strengths and assets
    • Describes the value of various formal and informal supports available to families with a child with a developmental disability
  4. Examine theoretical perspectives regarding family dynamics and the influence of culture
    • Considers the influences of culture on family beliefs and values
    • Explores the intrinsic elements of culture and how they shape family functioning
    • Examines the family from a systems perspective
    • Examines the independent and interconnected relationship between individuals and families as a whole
Textbook Materials




No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for CCSD 2334
There are no applicable transfer credits for this course.

Course Offerings

Fall 2023