The Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education
This is a degree that is designed specifically for those wishing to work in the disability and community rehabilitation areas.
Five Reasons for Studying Disability & Developmental Education
- A personally and professionally rewarding career which makes important differences in people’s lives
- Job opportunities available in a wide variety of fields and a high employment rate.
- Develop specialist human service skills in areas, including counselling, rehabilitation, case management, skill development and individual support.
- Work collaboratively with families educators, psychologists and other allied health professionals.
- Opportunities to participate in the development of more inclusive communities.
Contemporary society recognises that people with disabilities should be offered every opportunity to involve themselves as fully in community life. Graduates of the Bachelor of Disability & Developmental Education are generally referred to by the title of Developmental Educator (DE). Developmental Educators play an important role in making community inclusion for people with disabilities a reality, not just by providing physical assistance but also by assisting people with diverse needs to grow as individuals. Their professional interests are broad, incorporating health, psychological and educational issues as well as the current best practices to develop social and vocational skills of people with developmental or acquired disabilities. They are equipped to:
- promote the physical and emotional well-being of people with disabilities;
- teach functional skills such as social, communication and language, self-care and domestic skills, recreational skills, and employment skills;
- develop research and evaluation skills relevant to disability and community rehabilitation;
- utilise person centred planning;
- develop and implement positive behavioural support plans
- provide case management services to people with disabilities;
- provide counselling support to people with disabilities
- work with families and care-givers to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities;
- liaise and work with community services and other professionals to facilitate community inclusion;
- facilitate self advocacy and/or advocate on behalf of people with disabilities;
- assist individuals with disabilities to access and maintain meaningful vocational experiences;
- work independently or as part of a team.
With its multi-disciplinary focus and contributions from psychology, philosophy, sociology, health, rehabilitation and special education, a range of flexible part-time and fulltime study options are available. The first year introduces the student to the diversity of people who comprise society, the prevailing societal values and attitudes towards difference, the current philosophies and effective practices in the treatment of people with disability, in addition to the issues of health and lifespan development and introduction to neurological rehabilitation.
In the second and third year there is a focus on specific areas such as family and professional partnership, communication and language, principles of learning and instruction, ethical and legal issues, counselling, case management and employment. Skills, knowledge and professional behaviours introduced and discussed in theoretical contexts must be demonstrated successfully by students during the three compulsory practicum placements which take place in a variety of community, residential, recreational and employment settings throughout the course. Theory and practice are closely interwoven to enable graduates to become efficient and effective disability and human service practitioners.
The fourth year of the degree offers a range of specialisation areas including autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disability, augmentative and alternative communication, leisure, the arts and community development, technological applications and disability, and community rehabilitation for people with acquired brain injury or mental health issues. Students are given the opportunity to study the selected specialisation content topics from the perspective of academic input, individual research and practical application.
Alternatively in the fourth year, enrolment in the honours program may be offered to a student who meets certain academic criteria and subject to the school/ department being able to provide appropriate resources and staff to supervise the program of study. The honours program is focussed on research and is a stepping stone to an academic career as this is required before entry can be gained to PhD studies.
What jobs does this lead to?
Our graduates obtain work in a range of community services and agencies. In South Australia these include
- Autism SA,
- Child and Youth Health,
- Community Support Inc.,
- Community Accommodation & Respite Association - CARA,
- Department of Education & Children's Services - DECS
- Disability SA
- Finding Workable Solutions - FWS
- Leveda Accommodation & Community Support Services
- Minda Incorporated,
- Offenders Aid and Rehabilitation Services,
- Para Quad Association,
- Royal District Nursing Service,
- Salisbury Council,
- Southern Child Care Support Program,
- Spastic Centres of SA,
- Strathmont Centre
- and many other services
Overseas graduates are sought after by a range of agencies in their countries of origin.
The program of study is described in the official University Course Information listing for Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education
Dr Michelle Bellon
Undergraduate Course Coordinator
ph: 61 8 8201 3645
fax: 61 8 8201 3646