Developmental Services Workers Focus on Creating Inclusive Societies

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    Jan 28, 2013
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Every individual in our society is entitled be supported at home, work and school, and in leisure roles in the community. As such, developmental services workers play an important role in ensuring that people with intellectual disabilities are granted these support systems. This is done as a part of building natural community supports, networks and valued social roles for individuals with intellectual disabilities. If this field sounds like it may be of interest to you, you will be required to attend a post-secondary program such as Centennial College’s Developmental Services Worker undertaking, which takes two years to complete.

Upon graduation, students obtain titles such as educational assistant, support worker, residential support worker and employment supporter. While the different roles may have different specific duties, the professionals in the Developmental Services Workers field should all know how to: complete and maintain client history and background forms; participate in the development and implementation of person directed plans; support individuals to develop and maintain relationships within the family and community; manage individual medication; develop and apply crisis intervention strategies; be responsible for modeling and promoting a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a safe environment; and more.

Centennial College’s Developmental Services Worker program prepares students to expertly fulfill these duties in a few ways. First and foremost, curriculum reflects current issues and developments. As such, students learn through projects, seminars, community observations, Internet searches, teamwork and electronic communication. Through these methods they learn vital skills such as: in-depth analysis and critical thinking, managing and affecting change, interpersonal communication and leadership skills as well as clarification of values, helping people to fill valued social roles, teaching and the provision of personal support. Specific courses within the Developmental Services Workers offering include:  Valued Social Roles, Social Psychology, Pharmacology, History of Disability, Readings in Disability and others.

To round on the training they receive on campus, Developmental Services Worker program students have ample opportunity to apply their learning through placement opportunities, which is an integral part of the program. In the third and fourth semesters, students participate in two placements to gain applied experiences supporting people who have intellectual disabilities within different contexts. Students have the opportunity to take the responsibility for designing and implementing plans or strategies to teach and support individuals and/or work with communities. Facilitation and leadership skills, community development and, positive imagining and competencies for holistic the personal well-being and community inclusion for individuals whom students support are some of the areas they pursue in the placements. Some field placement agencies may require a criminal reference check prior to student placement. Certain criminal convictions may disallow placement in these agencies and program completion may not be possible.

To apply for Centennial College’s Development Services Worker program, students are required to have an Ontario College Diploma or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. In addition, they must have completed the English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent.

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Through a combination of practical practice and theory, students learn the ins and outs of being successful Developmental Services Workers at Centennial College.

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