Monday, November 25, 2013

Serve Community Better with a Developmental Service Workers Program

Developmental service workers assist individuals with intellectual disabilities in their day-to-day living. They are able to understand the nature of disabilities, identify personal support requirements of individuals and facilitate the development of everyday skills by providing them the support required.

The professionals are expected to fill a variety of roles, such as residential support workers, support workers, education assistants, family supporters, integration facilitators and employment support workers. 

Their job is really challenging as professionals have to deal with people with intellectual disabilities, work in shifts and provide emotional support to clients. Only those students who are genuinely interested in serving the community should consider building a career in this field.

Strong communication and interpersonal skills are required to assume the role of a developmental service worker, as you’re expected to interact with clients and understand their needs most of the times. Other skills including critical thinking, problem solving, in-depth analysis, leaderships and managing change are an added advantage. With all these in your arsenal, you also need to be patient and emotionally strong yet sensitive when dealing with the clients.

Although there is an increasing demand for service workers in this field, but employers are keen in hiring only those individuals who have undergone a formal education and possess relevant experience in community service. Students interested in building a career in this field can enroll into a postsecondary program that covers all aspects of community service.

The two year program covers diverse subjects and emphasizes on supervised field placements. It helps you gain an understanding in social psychology, health promotion and personal well being, pharmacology, valued social roles, disability issues, building responsive communities, teaching skills and policy and social welfare systems.

The program also combines field observation, projects, preparation for practice, community observations, report presentation, field seminars and supervised field placement. Emphasis is also placed on internet searches, teamwork and electronic communication.

After the completion of the program, you are able to

  • Provide support to clients in day-to-day living with respectful and empowering approaches
  • Facilitate development of everyday skills
  • Display patience, maturity and sensitivity when interacting with clients
  • Support promotion and maintenance of health and well being
  • Identify disability issues and provide required support
  • Help bring positive change in attitudes of clients

Enrolling in a Program

Various colleges across Canada offer such courses helping students build a career in developmental services. But there are some colleges that place equal emphasis on field work as that in classroom learning. It’s crucial to conduct a research and enroll in a good college that fulfills your specific goals and offers necessary industry exposure.

To apply for the program, you need secondary school diploma or equivalent and English Grade 12 C or University scores. Once you get admission, you will also require a criminal reference check. Students still attending high schools can also apply for the course. Their final grades will be automatically transferred to the college.

On graduation, you’re also eligible to participate in programs with universities and institutes and apply your academic credits for further study.

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