Sunday, January 8, 2012

Developmental Services Workers Ensure Purpose in People’s Lives

In the province of Ontario, many organizations are hiring developmental services workers with training from Centennial College. These organizations include:

Community Living, Durham District School Board, Frontier College, Kerry’s Place, Toronto District School Board, York Region School Board and many, many others. Graduates of this undertaking are trusted and well-respected in the field as they are able to support the promotion and maintenance of health and well-being; promote the development of inclusive communities; display competent, responsible and professional behaviour and attitudes; identify and use personal development resources and activities that promote professional growth; facilitate the development of everyday skills; and provide support with respectful and empowering approaches. This DSW program enables the graduate to fill a variety of work roles (i.e. educational assistant, support worker, residential support worker and employment supporter).

Developmental Services Worker (DSWs) support individuals with developmental disabilities in a variety of settings, including school, work and home. They are, essentially, responsible for linking people with intellectual disabilities to their communities to ensure that they are valued members of society.

Taking two years to complete, the Centennial College program for developmental services workers focuses on balancing practical knowledge (through community observations, real-life examples, field placements) with theory (via projects and lectures) with a curriculum that reflects current issues and developments in the field. The emphasis of the undertaking is on understanding the nature of intellectual disabilities, personal support requirements and technique, communication and facilitation skills, critical and reflective thinking, team skills, time management and accessing resources. Specific topics covered include: Interpersonal Skill Development, Introduction to Disability, Valued Social Roles, Social Psychology, Pharmacology, History of Disability, Readings in Disability and more.

In addition to this training, students of the developmental services worker program also take part in two supervised field placements in semester three (two days per week) and semester four (three days per week). During this experience, students spend time in community organizations applying what they have learned in the classroom while gaining new knowledge by actively working with clients. Certain 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.

If students want to further their education in the field of developmental services workers, they can do so by participating in articulated program with selected universities, institutes and professional associations. If they are eligible, these partnerships allow them to apply academic credit towards further study. The partner of the Developmental Services Worker program is Ryerson University (Disability Studies). Graduates with a B grade average or better can apply to Ryerson’s two-year post-diploma degree completion program, Bachelor of Applied Arts in Disability Studies.

College expects applicants to present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Having completed compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent is also necessary. English proficiency will be considered in the admissions process and a program admission session may also be required.

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