University of Malta

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TITLE An Introduction to Disability Issues

LEVEL I - Introductory Level


DEPARTMENT Centre for the Liberal Arts and Sciences

DESCRIPTION This Unit explores issues that are of concern to disabled people and their families, how these issues are influenced and responded to by society in general, and how they can impact interactions with disabled people, on a formal or informal basis. The aim of the Unit is to make students aware of disabled people's lives, of the socially-constructed disabling barriers that have a negative effect on the daily lives of disabled people and their families, and of how they can work to help dismantle these barriers and respect disabled people's rights in their work or in their private lives.

The Unit begins with a theoretical grounding of the different models of disability with special emphasis on the social model of disability, and a history of the development of the disability rights movement in Malta and abroad, as well as an outline of available services and benefits. This theoretical aspect is then applied to the personal experience of disability as it is lived by people with different impairments as well as parents of disabled persons in areas such as education, employment, and independent living.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the Unit the student will be able to:
- outline the history of the disabled people's movement, different models of disability, and the move from a focus on charity and welfare to a focus on rights and independence;
- identify the issues that are of concern to disabled people with different impairments;
- explore some of the root causes of the fear and prejudice which individuals and society have for disabled persons;
- develop a personal understanding of how they can help reduce these inequalities through their personal or professional practice.

2. Skills:

By the end of the Unit the student will be able to:
- demonstrate the difference between different models of disability and between the focus on welfare and charity on the one hand and rights and independence on the other;
- identify disabling barriers and remedies for removing or decreasing the negative effect of these barriers;
- identify instances of discrimination against disabled people and ways to combat this discrimination.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Barnes, C. and Mercer, G. (2010). Exploring Disability, 2nd ed. London: Polity.
- Camilleri, J.M. (1998): ‘Disability: a personal odyssey’. Disability & Society, Vol. 14, No. 6, 1999, pp. 845-853.
- Camilleri, J.M. & Callus, A.M. (2001): ‘Out of the Cellars - Disability, Politics and the Struggle for Change: The Maltese Experience’. In Barton, Len (2001): Disability, Politics and the Struggle for Change. David Fulton Publishers. London. UK. Chapter 7. Pp: 79 - 92.
- Morris, J. (1991). Pride Against Prejudice. London: The Women’s Press.

See also


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Project Yes 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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