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Specialisation: Sensory Disability

Award(s) to which this specialisation belongs:
Specialisation Details

Sensory Disability


Department of Educational Studies
Faculty of Human Sciences
Admission Requirements:
Admission to Master of Disability Studies
Study Mode:
Full-time, Part-time
Attendance Mode:
External — Session 1 (February)
External — Session 2 (July)

This specialisation must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Specialisation:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

800 level

8cp from
Introduction to Vision Impairment (4)
Complex Vision Impairment (4)
or 8cp from
Introduction to Educational Audiology (4)
Perception and Production of Speech in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Children (4)
16cp from
Independent Project in Disability Studies (Deaf/Hard of Hearing or Vision Impairment) (4)
Orientation and Mobility Fundamentals (4)
Technology for Learners with Vision Impairment (4)
Introduction to Vision Impairment (4)
Complex Vision Impairment (4)
Foundations of Orientation and Mobility for Instructors in Training (4)
Advanced Orientation and Mobility for Instructors in Training (4)
Orientation and Mobility Practicum (4)
Language and Literacy Learning in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Children (4)
Language and Literacy Interventions for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Learners (4)
Social Perspectives on Deafness and Deaf Education (4)
Sensory Disability: Child Development and Family Perceptions (4)
Signed Communication in Early Childhood Education (4)
Theory and Practice in Sign Bilingual Education (4)
Advanced Educational Audiology (4)
Introduction to Educational Research (4)
Special Education Project Stage I (4)


Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program The Master of Disability Studies (Sensory Disability specialisation) is designed for a range of candidates including: teachers already working in the sensory disability field who wish to upgrade their skills and qualifications; and professionals from a variety of backgrounds (including disability and allied health) who are seeking to complete studies or conduct research in sensory disability.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:
1.Describe and apply the philosophies that underpin educational/therapeutic practice in the sensory disability field including legislation, ethics, policies and procedures that support diversity, participation and inclusion. (K,A)
2.Demonstrate knowledge of the impact of sensory disability on the physical, social, psychological and educational domains.(K)
3.Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of clinical and functional assessment and the application of these outcomes to educational/therapeutic practice in the sensory disability field.
4.Implement a range of differentiated instructional programs and strategies that foster habilitation, rehabilitation and learning for people with sensory disability.(K,J)
5.Understand the need for the range of communication modalities used by people with sensory disability.(K,C)
6.Communicate effectively with all stakeholders (the person, their family, the professional team and the community at large). (C)
7. Understand and value the role of each team member (the person, their family and professionals) by working collaboratively to promote the inclusion of a person with sensory disability.(C,A)
8.Apply research-based principles, research skills, systematic inquiry and critical thinking to professional practice in the field of sensory disability.(P,J,T)
9.Critically reflect upon and apply skills needed to foster change in professional practice to improve outcomes for people with sensory disability.(A,T)
10. Appreciate the role educators and other professionals contribute to the education of people with sensory disability especially in the selection, training and use of services, assistive and alternative technologies to expand access in a range of settings. (K,J)
Learning and Teaching Methods The program is defined by an enquiry based teaching and learning approach. Teaching methodologies and subsequent student learning are fostered through critical reflection that is informed by the current research and in consideration of the requirements of professional bodies.
Students have the opportunity to put theory into practice during a supervised professional experience placement and through planning and implementing interventions, developing targeted resource packs or individual education plans.

The program is taught externally, with all units being on iLearn. Units are either online (with all content, assessment and interaction online) or external where the unit content is primarily online but supplemented by compulsory on campus sessions. On campus sessions are used where there is a practical skill-based component that benefits from a face to face session.

Across the program, the following teaching methods are used:
• Online lectures and tutorial tasks based on problem based learning.
• Reading reflections
• Critical appraisal of journal articles
• Analysis of data
• Discussion board/perspective taking
• Research and case study based enquiry
• Opportunities for practical skills-based development through on campus sessions and professional experience

Overall, there is an emphasis on independent and self-directed learning with the student provided with the learning materials but able to access them and utilise them in ways that best support their own learning.
Assessment Students will be assessed through a diverse set of tools that take into account a range of learning styles. Assessment includes methods to assess professional skills and competency in professional practice.
Assessment methods include:
• Critical review of journal articles and recent research
• Problem based learning exercise
• Written assignments (essays)
• Professional experience/practicum
• Practical Skills assessment
• On line quiz
• Case studies
• Resource package development
• Individual programming and teaching strategies (IEP)
• Student literacy assessments and clinical reports
• Discussion board contributions
• Research proposal and report
• Technology Resource kits
• Braille literacy teaching program
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

The Master of Disability Studies (Sensory Disability) prepares allied health professionals for a variety of roles that address the needs of children and adults with hearing and/or vision loss.

Students of all specialisations are required to complete sixteen days of supervised professional experience relevant to their specialisation.

2017 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148