Level 2
Unit No:
Guided learning hours:
16 hours

Unit Learning Outcomes


Understand what is meant by ‘disability’. 

Disability may be considered as the generic term. The legal definition is having a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial or long term negative effect on someone’s ability to do normal daily activities.

Impairment is more specific. Impairment being defined as an injury, illness or condition that causes or is likely to cause loss of or difference of physiological or psychological function - e.g. can have a sensory, physical, ormental impairment but it is not legally defined as a disability.

A disabled person is a person with an impairment who experiences disability. Disability is the result of negative interactions that take place between a person with an impairment and her or his social environment.

Conditions that cause disability may include:

  • arthritis and other musculoskeletal problems
  • back pain
  • heart disease and stroke
  • cancer
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • learning disability
  • sensory impairments

Assessment Criteria

  • 1.1

    Define the terms ‘disability’ and ‘impairment’. 

  • 1.2

    Outline the key differences between ‘disability’ and ‘impairment’.

  • 1.3

    Outline conditions which cause different types of disability.


Know how key legislation protects people who have a disability.

Key legislation may include:
• Equality Act 2010
• The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
• United Nations (UN) Convention on Disability Rights.

The rights of disabled people may include:
• the right to be protected from discrimination
• the right to employment, education and dealing with the police.

Legislation ensures no-one with a disability gets less favourable treatment than a person who is not disabled, i.e. it is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of disability.Under the Equality Act protections relate to:

  • Employment, including application forms; interview arrangements; aptitude or proficiency tests; job offers; terms of employment, including pay; promotion, transfer and training opportunities; dismissal or redundancy; discipline and grievances; reasonable adjustments in the workplace
  • Education, including direct discrimination, e.g. refusing admission to a student because of disability; indirect discrimination, e.g. only providing application forms in an inaccessible format; discrimination arising from a disability, e.g. a disabled pupil is prevented from going outside at break time because it takes too long to get there; harassment, victimisation.

Assessment Criteria

  • 2.1

    Identify current legislation which protects people with a disability.

  • 2.2

    Describe the rights of people with a disability which are protected by law.


Understand attitudes and barriers faced by people who have a disability.

Types of difficulties faced by disabled people may include:

• social and financial issues - may not be able to get out without assistance, accessibility to facilities, not in employment
• negative attitudes - verbal and physical abuse, individuals not willing to help
• physical barriers - accessing buildings, managing pavements, reaching counters
• institutional barriers - accessing courses.

Strategies to address attitudes and barriers:

  • educating people about disability to raise awareness
  • increasing opportunities for interactions
  • seeing positive images of disabled people in the media to reduce stigma.

Assessment Criteria

  • 3.1

    Explain the different attitudes and barriers facing disabled people including
    a) social and financial issues
    b) negative attitudes
    c) physical barriers

    d) institutional barriers.

  • 3.2

    Explain the impact of these attitudes and barriers on the lives of disabled people.


Understand different models of disability.

The social model of disability says that disability is caused by the way society is organised rather than by a person's impairment or difference. It looks at removing barriers to ensure independence, quality of life and equality.

The medical model implies that people are disabled by their impairment and therefore need to be changed by medical or other treatments. The medical model looks at what is wrong with people rather than what the person needs. It creates low expectations and leads to loss of independence.

Language associated with the social model may include:

  • adapting
  • providing support
  • accessibility
  • independence
  • provision of tools and equipment.

Using the social model in practice includes:

  • getting the person involved in decision making and problem solving
  • asking their opinions
  • providing appropriate support, equipment, aids.

Assessment Criteria

  • 4.1

    Explain the ‘medical’ and ‘social’ models of disability and the differences between them.

  • 4.2

    Explain how use of the social model of disability benefits disabled people.