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Disability in Context

Course Code: DACS 5111
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Department: Disability & Community Studies
Credits: 3.0
Semester: Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Online
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter
course overview

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.)

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Case study
  • Presentations
  • Guest speakers
  • Video/DVD

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

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.

course prerequisites

With instructors permission

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.