Disability and a Good Life: Thinking through Disability

We know that the way we think about and understand things shapes the way we act. In this course we’ll explore the ways disability is understood and challenge you to think about what it means to have a good life.

To begin, you will reflect on what a good life means for you and hear from other people with and without disabilities about their views on what a good life means for them. As you move through the topics, you will engage in thinking about and discussing contemporary disability issues such as disability politics, history and disability across the life course. At the end of the course we will challenge you to consider how a good life might be enabled for all.


This course is suitable for both beginners and experts wanting to raise their awareness of disability and disability-related issues within a global context. It is appropriate for people with disabilities and their family members, friends and allies; professionals in the care and community service sectors; medical and allied health professionals; educators; built environment professionals; advocates and policy makers; scholars; and lifelong learners.

Thinking through Disability is an appropriate foundational course for those interested in the course Working with Disability, which looks at disability and its relationship to human rights, access, advocacy and care.


By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • identify how understandings of people with disabilities have changed over time
  • critically reflect on changing understandings of disability
  • identify core concepts in the social understanding of disability
  • appreciate the intersections between individual, social, political and cultural aspects of disability
  • understand what a good life might mean for a diversity of people, including people with disabilities.

More Info

Thinking through Disability is a free online course provided by Future Learning on behalf of UNSW. The course starts on 24 October, 2016.

For enrolments and more information, head to https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/thinking-through-disability.


Kelley Johnson (BA DipEd MA PhD) is a Professor of Disability at the Social Policy Research Centre UNSW.

Leanne Dowse is Associate Professor and Chair in Intellectual Disability and Behaviour Support [IDBS] at UNSW

Dr Louisa Smith is a lecturer in the Intellectual Disability Behaviour Support Program (IDBSP), a collaboration between UNSW and the Family and Community Services (Ageing, Disability and Home Care).