Course Title: Family and Disability

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Family and Disability

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Jeff Walkley

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7359

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.3.02

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Students must have completed a 3 year undergraduate degree in Disability or a related field of study

Course Description

This is an Honours and Postgraduate level course.

The aim of this course is the examination of the critical role of families as both sources of support to people with disabilities and recipients of programs and services in the disability field. Students will be exposed to contemporary theoretical frameworks commonly used to study families through the lifespan. The implications of family theory to the development of effective programs for people with disabilities and their families is emphasized through the subject. A major focus of the course will be the understanding families as a means to develop collaborative partnerships between professionals and families.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Reflective practice, building capacity.

To demonstrate an understanding of family systems and their influence on individual development.

To describe family assessment strategies.

To describe the role of families in supporting people with disabilities through the life-span.

To describe supports and strategies to establish collaborative partnerships with families.

Demonstrate an understanding of the issues associated with parents with an intellectual disability.

Overview of Learning Activities

Students will be expected to complete weekly activities specifically tailored to the each objective of the course. These activities will be considered in detail in group discussion sessions.

Students will learn the material in this subject by;

Seminar/workshops: Student directed discussion and analysis will be conducted. Students working in a team will solve a problem or acquire a skill or both. Students will gain intimate knowledge through the exploration of the subject material and practical applications.

Independent Reading: As part of the learning process and after being provided with frameworks through lectures, students will acquire a deeper and broader understanding of the subject material through independent reading. Students will synthesise material from a variety of sources and engage in a critical analysis of this material in class discussions. Students will be given readings specific to each particular lecture. They are expected to participate in discussions around issues in the readings within the class.

Lectures: Students will acquire a framework for relevant knowledge and underlying theoretical and conceptual bases of the subject through attending lectures.

Tutorial Presentations: Students will develop effective communication and presentation skills through the presentation and critical analysis of independently researched material. Students will be exposed to the experience of public speaking and will demonstrate the ability to work as a member of a team through group presentations.

Research: Students will learn to apply theory to practical problem solving in real world settings. Students will develop critical thinking skills in research methods for the evaluation of community based programs and will demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate their research findings to a group or the field in general.

Case study material: Students will develop problem solving skills through the analysis of case studies which will require the application of theoretical and conceptual knowledge to hypothetical situations.

Overview of Learning Resources

The students will be able to access course information and learning materials through the learning hub (also known as Online @ RMIT) and will be provided with reading lists or other sources of information. Students will also use the library resources and University computer facilities.

Overview of Assessment

Case studies, class presentation and written assignments