Developmental Services Worker Program Reflects Current Issues

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    Mar 12, 2014
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Developmental Services Worker Program Reflects Current Issues Photo by Jason White

Developmental services workers, educational assistants, support workers, residential support workers and employment supporters are vital to the community as they work with individuals with intellectual disabilities in a variety of environments in order to build natural community supports, networks and valued social roles.

At Centennial College, students can attend the two-year Developmental Services Worker program whose curriculum reflects current issues and developments. It is especially focused on helping students to develop critical thinking, leadership and communication skills that will allow them to manage and affect change.

Employed are vital practical experiences such as projects, seminars, community observations, Internet searches, teamwork and electronic communication. The standout hands-on practice, however, comes in the form of two field placements. During these two opportunities, students are supervised by a faculty member and spend two days per week in the field during semester two and three days per week in semester four. Students are assessed in relation to the types and needs of supports required by individuals and their communities and the competencies outlined in the field manual.

Before they head out on placement, students attend a range of courses that are led by faculty with of years of work under their belts who are familiar with personal relationships with people with intellectual disabilities. Here is a closer look at some particular courses from which Centennial College students benefit.

History of Disability: To understand the evolution of the view of developmental disabilities is an essential part of the program. In this course, students also look at the evolution of supports and services with particular attention paid to the use of imagery and role perceptions.

Pharmacology: Supporting individuals with intellectual disability to achieve health through the use of prescribed medications is explored in this course. Student learn to administer medications, teach, support and provide care to ensure drug effectiveness and health for individuals.

Supports for Personal Health Care: In their roles, developmental services workers assist clients with personal care, care for individuals who require assistance with daily needs, and much more. To carry out their roles, this course teaches students by applying the problem solving process case profiles to develop creative problem solving, critical thinking and personal time management skills. Meanwhile, hands-on, lab opportunities are used to develop skills in assessing vital signs, hygiene care, changing simple dressings, controlling infectious diseases, thermal applications, body mechanics, and lifting and transporting individuals.

Policy and Social Welfare Systems: In particular course, social policy, legislation and the models of service delivery that affects persons who have intellectual disability in Ontario are explored. Philosophical values, theories and assumptions about social welfare from political, geographical and historical perspectives are used to explore social welfare policy.

Author's Profile

Jason wrote this piece in which he describes the Centennial College Developmental Services Worker offering, which includes two supervised field placements that allow students to apply their skills to the real word.

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