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EDAC138 Disability Support Practice

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit forms part of the suite of units that enable students to explore issues related to professional practice through course work and professional experience. The first professional experience unit EDAC138 introduces students to organisational contexts that serve marginalised individuals. EDAC227 builds on this understanding of organisation practice to focus the experience of marginalised individuals who are served by organisations and sets the foundation for the third professional experience unit which builds students skills in critiquing professional practice.

This unit develops students' ability to achieve the overall course outcome of critiquing their own practice and that of others to identify attitudes and practices that prevent or limit inclusion.

People living with disabilities have the right to the same opportunities and experiences as their peers who do not experience disability, however they may have additional individual needs, which must be accommodated to attain what might be considered a 'good life'. The attainment of full inclusion requires careful planning and supports tailored to the specific needs of the individual. Person-centred approaches to supporting individuals brings together a range of concepts and foci to enable individuals, their allies and professionals to critique current practice and circumstances and work in person-centred ways to facilitate attainment of a 'good life'.

The unit will examine the role of the professional in person-centred approaches and ways in which professionals can participate and collaborate in the process. Students will complete a total of 100 hours of professional experience during which they will explore person-centred approaches to professional practice.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Interact with individuals, families and professionals ethically in a manner that reflects Person-centred practice and professionalism (GA1, GA3, GA5)

LO2 - Discuss the key elements of Person-centred approaches (GA1, GA5)

LO3 - Critically evaluate the contribution of professional practice in achieving Person-centred outcomes (GA5)

LO4 - Critically reflect on practice and ethical issues in service delivery (GA1, GA3, GA5).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 


Topics will include:

  • History and context of Person-centred approaches 
  • Full inclusion 
  • Changing traditional perceptions  
  • Exploring valued roles 
  • Concepts of authority and control 
  • Meaningful supports

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then becomes private study.

The teaching and learning organisation may take a number of forms, depending on specific course/subject requirements at the time of delivery, this may include a combination of face to face and/or online learning delivered on a weekly or intensive schedule. Tutorials and/or synchronous learning will enable students to participate in cooperative and supportive learning opportunities. All learning modes will be delivered and/or supported by a range of resources and activities on ACU’s technology learning platform (LEO).

Assessment strategy and rationale

Students are required to complete three assessment tasks. The first assessment task has been designed to provide an opportunity to gain professional experience (LO1). The second assessment task requires students to journal critically and reflectively on the aspects of person centred approaches as they apply in the student’s placement site (LO2 & 3). The purpose of the third assessment is for students to demonstrate their understanding of how person centred approaches apply to an individual (LO3).

This process of assessments allows students to progressively develop their ability to interact with individuals ethically and reflect of the practices and ethical issues with in service delivery.


Assessment Tasks

The assessment tasks are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. Assessment will be on a pass/fail basis. Covering a range of assessment processes and tasks which will specifically address each learning outcome and graduate attribute and are outlined below 

The total of assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of 4,000 words. In order to pass this unit, students are required to obtain a pass in all assessment tasks.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment task 1 

Professional experience  

Students are required to complete 100 hours of professional experience in a human service setting



GA1, GA3, GA5

Assessment task 2

2,000 words

Students will complete an on-line journal reflecting on particular aspects of Person-centred approaches as they apply in the placement site.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA5

Assessment Task 3

2,000 word equivalent

An essay considering the elements of Person-centred approaches and how they apply to an individual



GA1, GA3, GA5

Representative texts and references

Brown, H., & Smith, H. (2012). Normalisation a reader. Hoboken, NJ: Taylor and Francis.

Davis, L.J. (2013). The disability studies reader (4th ed.).). London: Taylor and Francis.

Fleischer, D., & Zames, F. (2011). The disability rights movement: From charity to confrontation. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Goodley, D., Hughes, B., & Davis, L. (Eds) (2012). Disability and social theory: New developments and directions. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Oliver, M., Sapey, R., & Thomas, P. (2012) Social work with disabled people (4th ed). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Watson, N., Roulstone, A., & Thomas, C. (Eds) (2012). Routledge handbook of disability dtudies. New York: Routledge.

Shakespeare, T. (2014). Disability rights and wrongs revisited (2nd ed.). London; New York: Routledge.

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