Disability in Context

Applied Community Studies
Disability & Community Studies
Course Code
DACS 4111
Semester Length
Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This upper level undergraduate course examines historical and contemporary constructions of disability from a variety of perspectives and highlights various frameworks for interpreting the nature and meaning of what it means to have a disability. It will examine the characteristics, classification, and pathology of a variety of developmental, congenital and acquired disabilities and their relevance to socio-cultural and human rights perspectives.
Course Content
  • General overview of disability frameworks and models
  • Develop a conceptual understanding of the various meanings and perspectives of disability, e.g.:
    • Medical model
    • Rehabilitation model
    • Social model
    • Charity model
    • Social justice and civil rights model
    • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of these models
  • Examine exceptionalities and their characteristics, pathology and classification across diagnostic and classification systems including:
    • DSM
    • ICF
    • How disability is defined and measured
  • Develop an awareness of the historical and cultural constructs of disability and how they impact employment outcomes and other quality of life measures
  • Using various theories as a lens to understand disability:
    • Examine the history of oppression and politics of prejudice as it relates to disability
    • Consider disability movements, independent living and disability rights
    • Consider the anti-treatment movement
Learning Activities
  • Lecture
  • Case study
  • Presentations
  • Guest speakers
  • Small and large group discussion
  • Video
Means of Assessment

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

  • Literature reviews
  • Research paper
  • Debate or Editorial class presentation
  • Case Study/critiques
  • Online communications (discussion forum, live synchronous sessions)
Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of historical and contemporary constructs of disability.
  2. Demonstrate a broad understanding of the characteristics, pathology and classifications of developmental, congenital and acquired disabilities.
  3. Compare and critique classifications and schemas of disability and analyze implications and impacts across settings and environments.
  4. Compare and critique representations of disability in culture.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of disability as a subject of human rights.
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:

A Course Pack or list of required and optional textbooks and materials is provided for students at the beginning of each semester.



With instructor permission


No corequisite 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 DACS 4111
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) No credit
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU GE 2XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HLTH 4XXX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV ADED 2XX (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023