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Course title: Disability Awareness and Equality
Credit Rating: N/A - Staff development module, equivalent to SCQF Level 7
Short description of course:
Attitudes around disability have changed substantially over the past 50 years, pushed by an active disability rights movement and recently supported through national legislation. This course will give a practical and theoretical introduction to the preferred models of perceiving disability and to ways in which societal barriers can be removed through improved physical, cognitive and emotional design.
The course will explore the legal definition of disability, the social and medical models of disability, and the legislation which guarantees the rights of disabled people. We will consider how the social model affects the language we use and the ways in which we interact with disabled people. The second part of the course will focus on the steps which can be taken to create accessible environments for disabled people, looking at anticipatory, inclusive design for all as well as making responsive adjustments for individuals. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on the impact that inaccessible characteristics of their own field of work might have for people with different impairments, and how to begin removing these barriers.
Course Learning Outcomes:
At the end of the module you will be able to:
- Distinguish between disability and impairment
- Explain the social and medical models of disability and give examples of common courtesies used when interacting with disabled people
- Understand current legal requirements to make adjustments and promote equality
- Evaluate and select the preferred language used when discussing disability
- Propose a range of measures which could be applied to your area of work in order to meet the needs of disabled people
Outline Of Content:
Section 1: What is disability?
- Present the definitions of disability and impairment
- Discuss how and why a person needs to 'prove' they are being disabled, including whether or not a temporary injury such as a broken leg can count as a disability
- For a selection of different impairments, explore the barriers and abilities that emerge for each impairment in different settings (using the 'Open Doors?' study)
Section 2: Legislation and history
- Present an overview of the key pieces of UK legislation relating to disability
- Identify the key implications for each section of legislation, including the sector to which they apply and the dates when each piece of legislation takes effect
Section 3: Language and models
- Present the medical and social models of disability
- Through an interactive learning exercise, discover and consider the preferred language used when discussing disability, in the context of the social model of disability
- Discuss the concept of social barriers, and identify some of the common courtesies that should be used when communicating with disabled people
Section 4: Making adjustments
- Explore the concepts of making reasonable adjustments to course and service provision, and how to determine 'reasonableness'
- Distinguish between reactive adjustments for individual disabled people and anticipatory duties to make environments more accessible
- Cover the concepts of competence standards and in what circumstances discrimination can be justified
Section 5: Equality and promotion
- Cover the expectations within the Disability Equality Duty for institutions to be proactive in how they engage with disabled people and enhance their environments
- Give an overview of equality schemes, and the importance of involving disabled people in decision making/planning processes
Section 6: Auditing and impact assessment
'Hands-on' exercise as part of the final piece of assessment - including:
- How to self audit
- How to continual review
- How to communicate results
There will be no mandatory readings for this course as the majority of content will be provided within the course through materials generated by the course team.
The course has a relaxed structure where students can study the materials and complete the quizzes at their own pace over the 6 sections, though asychronous group discussions will take place during each section, supported by the tutor. Each section's content will include in-course readings and optional external readings, and students will be encouraged to share their thoughts and concerns through the discussion board. Several sections contain interactive and multimedia content such as web exercises, activities in Second Life, and videos.
There are three parts to the course assessment. As the course does not carry credits, the assessment does not formally contribute to an overall mark. However the assessment provides a framework for the learner (and tutor) to evaluate their progress.
Each section will end with a short multiple choice quiz covering the key concepts learned.
Language evaluation: Section 3 will involve students self-evaluating their attitude toward different forms of language used in discussing disability. This will be achieved through a quiz selecting language they believe is preferred, prior to reading the course content. The students will then read the course content and language, and re-take the same quiz. A group discussion will provoke personal and shared reflection of the value - positive and negative - of different forms of language.
Impact assessment: in Section 6 students will take part of their own work environment and conduct an impact assessment on it for someone with a particular impairment, writing a brief report and share it with the group for further discussion.