Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Building on concepts introduced in IEAC133 Attitudes and Inclusion, this unit explores in greater depth the nature of family life. This unit is based upon the notion of knowledge as a construction. Students will be encouraged to explore personal constructions of knowledge about families and disability as well as exploring both the constructions of others, including parents and siblings, and theoretical constructions. Students will be encouraged to draw upon their own understandings and experience as well as to undertake individual/group work to generate possible and relevant solutions to key issues.

This unit aims to enable students to explore the nature of family life with particular reference to families in which there is a member with disability.

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 - Identify the diverse and dynamic nature of family life across the life cycle especially as it is related to families in which there is a member with disability (GA1)

LO2 - Discuss the impact of societal and professional attitudes on families living with disability (GA1, GA2)

LO3 - Be aware of the experience of being a primary caregiver and/or sibling of a person with disability (GA1, GA2)

Graduate attributes

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

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 


Topics will include:

  • Family systems concepts
  • The varied experiences of families
  • Sexuality and discrimination
  • Impact of societal and professional attitudes on families
  • Siblings
  • Parents living with disability.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Demonstrate their understandings in this unit. Participants will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to support learning, including: lectures, tutorials, review of resource material provided and group and individual discussion.


This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 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 become private study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes and demonstrate attainment of professional standards.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. The assessment will include three assignments which will specifically address each learning outcome and graduate attribute as outlined below. The total of assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of 4,000 words.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

900 words

An essay that explores the experiences of parents who have a child living with disability.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2

Assessment Task 2

900 words

An essay that explores the experiences of families in which one or both parents are living with disability.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2

Assessment Task 3

Group presentation and 1200 essay

Students will deliver a group presentation and individual essay on a selected topic from: Birth and disability; sibling relationships; aging parents; a child living with disability.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2

Representative texts and references

Burke P. (2008). Disability and Impairment: Working with children and families. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Deane, K. (2009). Shut out: the experience of people with disabilities and their families in Australia: national disability strategy consultation report. Canberra, ACT: National People with Disabilities and Carer Council, Dept. of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Hanson, M.J., & Lynch E.W. (2013). Understanding families: supportive approaches to diversity, disability, and risk (2nd Ed.). Baltimore, Maryland: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Llewellyn, G. (2010). Parents with intellectual disabilities: past, present and futures. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Oliver, M. (2009). Understanding disability: From theory to practice. (2nd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave; Macmillan.

Thomas, B., Dowling, C., & Nicoll, N.. (2004). Lessons from my child: Parents’ experiences of life with a disabled child. Lane Cove, NSW: Finch Publishing.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs