CCHU9010 Arts and Humanities
Being Different: Understanding People with Disabilities

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth (SCCE)
  • The Human Life Span (HL)

Course Description

This course focuses on disability as a social phenomenon and social construct. It engages students to look into the everyday life situations people with disabilities (PWDs) commonly encounter, particularly people with physical disabilities, special educational needs, as well as mental illnesses. Issues that arise from these situations will be examined through the critical lens of sociology, politics, culture, and social policies. Stereotypical images of PWDs, myths and erroneous assumptions about them, and the basis of discrimination against them are major aspects students will reflect upon. They will explore how these attitudes have been shaped by the media, cultural representations, knowledge from medical and social sciences and further obtain an empathetic understanding of PWDs through class activities and direct contact in NGOs or self-help organizations. 

By the end of the course, students should be able to appreciate the value of social inclusion and human diversities. They should be equipped to critically identify necessary amendments to be made in related social policies and service provisions and to take individual and collective actions in their future positions for building a more inclusive society.

[There will be a compulsory agency visit scheduled during Reading Week.]

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain disability issues through a critical analysis of its definitions, moving away from the purely medical model to a human rights perspective and the social model of disabilities.
  2. Identify the social, political, biological and cultural determinants of social exclusion in disabilities.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of the experiences of persons with disabilities and reflect on the personal values and societal issues of social inclusion.
  4. Express an understanding of the family issues, educational concerns, and psychosocial aspects of the disability experience.
  5. Critically examine the basis of discrimination and necessary changes for social inclusion of human diversities.
  6. Critically examine the related social policies and service provisions and identify the changes necessary to build up a barrier-free society.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 8
Fieldwork / Visits (incl preparation) 8
Reading / Self-study 40
Assessment: Essay / Proposal writing 40
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 40
Total: 160

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Tutorial presentation 26
Proposal writing 20
Case analysis 10
Review of articles 20
Participation 10
Online forum 14

Required Reading

Tutorial one

  • Rehabilitation Advisory Committee. (2020). Persons with Disabilities and Rehabilitation Program Plan. Hong Kong SAR Government. [Executive summary only]

Tutorial two

  • Ma, G. Y. K., & Mak, W. W. S. (2016). Caregiving-specific worry, affiliate stigma, and perceived social support on psychological distress of caregivers of children with physical disability in Hong Kong. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(4), 436-446.

Tutorial three

  • Leung, C., Chan, S., Lam, T., Yau, S., & Tsang, S. K. M. (2016). The effect of parent education program for preschool children with developmental disabilities: A randomized controlled trial. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 56, 18-28.

Tutorial four

  • Tse, S. (2017). Shared decision making in mental health care settings: Perspective, purpose and practice. World Psychiatry, 16(2), 158-160.

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr S.K.M. Tsang
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 1090
Email: sandratsang@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr S.K.M. Tsang
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 1090
Email: sandratsang@hku.hk