Curriculum Guideline

Disability in Context

Effective Date:
Course Code
DACS 5111
Disability in Context
Disability & Community Studies
Applied Community Studies
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
60 hours Offered in Lecture and Online formats
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction
  • Lecture
  • Case study
  • Presentations
  • Guest speakers
  • Video/DVD
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 disability. It will examine the characteristics, classification, and pathology of a variety of developmental, congenital and acquired disabilities.
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
    • Recovery 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
  • 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 (mad pride, aspie’s etc.)
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.
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:

  • Research paper
  • Class presentation
  • Literature reviews
  • Case Study/critiques
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:

Course Pack or



With instructors permission