Course Title: Aetiology and Physiology of Disability

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Aetiology and Physiology of Disability

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences

Distance / Correspondence or Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Jeff Walkley

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7359

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.3.202

Course Coordinator Availability: Please make an appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

There are no pre-requisites for this course however you may need to complete some reading to become familiar with terms common to Aetiology and Physiology.

Course Description

Aetiology and Physiology will introduce you to 1) the causes of various conditions and 2) the human body and deviations from the usual body structure. Throughout the course you will explore the Aetiology and Physiology behind physical, sensory, cognitive and developmental disabilities; examining how and why such disabilities occur. You will consider and discuss the effects and possible impact of disability upon the quality of life of the individual, their family, friends and caregivers. The course will challenge you through discussion on issues around service provision for people with disabilities, responsible practice as well as the moral and ethical views of disability.

Please note there are two separate streams of learning in this course; 1) Aetiology and 2) Physiology. If you have a general query relating to the lectures please direct this to the lecturer of the particular stream you are enquiring about.

  • Aetiology lectures are on a Monday morning and are taught by staff in the School of Health Sciences.
  • Physiology lectures and practical laboratory sessions are on a Thursday morning and are taught by staff in the School of Medical Sciences.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The aim of this course is for you to gain a basic knowledge of the human body and the impact of deviations from this. Additionally, you will gain an understanding of the various causes of disabilities and the resultant effects on individuals.

At the completion of this course, if you have attended and actively participated in lectures, practical laboratories and self directed activities you will be expected to:

  • Recognise the deviations from the normal state
  • Describe the various selected anatomical and physiological concepts using appropriate terminology.
  • Apply a basic knowledge of aetiology and physiology of disability
  • Access and consider the current information, research and issues related to physical, sensory, cognitive and developmental disabilities, their causes, effects and current methods of prevention.
  • Express an awareness of the impact that disability may have on the individual, significant others, and implications for service providers.

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities will include lectures (a weekly lecture for each stream), practical laboratories (physiology stream), class discussions and participation in self directed readings and activities.

Throughout this course you will be learning the language of Aetiology, and Anatomy and Physiology. This will require some practice and application; mostly self directed reading and coming to understand terms used within Aetiology and Physiology.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will be able to access course information and learning materials through the course blackboard. To access the course blackboard you need to log into myRMIT from the student homepage ( You are expected to check the blackboard regularly for materials that will assist you in your learning. Correspondence may also be sent via your RMIT student email account, which should be checked regularly.  

All students are expected to use library resources to aid their learning.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment will occur throughout the semester and you will be provided with feedback on your progress through group feedback on the blackboard, marking guides and written comments on your assessments. Assessment tasks may include: Tutorial activities, group work, written reports, in class tests, examination