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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Gerald Kessinger
SOC W 576
Seattle Campus

Empowerment Practice with Persons with Disabilities

Provides background in theories and models of disability that contribute to empowerment-oriented intervention techniques. Emphasizes direct practice skills for working with people with disabilities and their families. Emphasizes understanding how disability studies and the disability movement influence social work practice.

Class description

This course is designed to provide students with a background in theories and models of support involving people with developmental disabilities and their families, across the lifespan and across practice settings. Emphasis is given to understanding disability as a characteristic that is experienced on a spectrum as a natural part of the human condition and as a socially constructed category through which people experience discrimination and oppression. Emphasis is also given to promoting personal empowerment in service planning and demonstrating how the disability civil rights movement has influenced current social work best practice.

Student learning goals

Demonstrate an increased understanding and greater appreciation of people with disabilities.

Demonstrate an increased awareness of one's own assumptions, beliefs, values and behaviors with regard to disability.

Build on the skills and competencies developed in foundation courses to acquire increased specialized knowledge and skills for working on behalf of people with disabilities.

Understand the influence of the history of disability intervention on current services and gain increased knowledge and appreciation for person-centered, strengths-based practice.

Demonstrate knowledge of the disability studies analytical approach which views disability as a natural part of the human condition and as a category of social oppression.

Demonstrate an increased awareness of the disability civil rights movement and of the major social policies that impact current disability services.

General method of instruction

guest speakers; lectures; required readings; classroom discussion; in class group activities & projects

Recommended preparation

Genuine and sincere interest in disability.

Class assignments and grading

Weekly required readings and reflection papers on assigned topics

7 reflection papers, 10% each; 1 "small sparks" community project outline, 10 % ; overall class participation, 10% ; final course evaluation, 10%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Gerald Kessinger
Date: 02/19/2011