Help to Make Your Community More Inclusive as a Developmental Service Worker

Do you like working with others and helping people? Are you cooperative and enjoy developing and implementing plans? Do you possess strong communication skills and the ability to understand where others are coming from? If you answered, “yes” to these questions, then a career as a Developmental Services Worker might be for you.

Developmental Services Workers, also known as DSWs, are professionals who support individuals with intellectual disabilities in their homes, work, school, and leisure roles within the community. Developmental Services Workers help to build natural community supports, networks and valued social roles for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Working as educational assistants in schools, employment support workers, family supporters, integration facilitators, and residential service workers in group homes, these professionals have a variety of tasks. These tasks include: completing and maintaining client history and background forms, participating in the development and implementation of individually-directed plans, supporting clients in developing relationships, managing medication, developing and applying crisis intervention strategies, being responsible for and promoting a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a safe environment.

The proper implementation of these responsibilities and tasks can be learned in Centennial College’s two-year Developmental Services Worker program. The highly regarded undertaking sees emphasis being placed on understanding the nature of intellectual disabilities, facilitation skills, critical and reflective thinking, team skills, time management and accessing resources. The curriculum reflects current issues and developments in the field with stress on in-depth analysis and critical thinking. Therefore, students learn through theory taught during lectures as well as projects, community observations, Internet searches and electronic communication. Some sample course titles within the Developmental Services Worker program include: Interpersonal Skill Development, Social Psychology, Pharmacology, Health Promotion and Personal Well-Being, Policy and Social Welfare Systems and much more. During these courses, not only do professors teach theory, they also provide real-life examples, as they are all professionals from the field who can offer real insight.

During the program, students also experience what their careers will entail by participating in supervised field placements during semesters three and four. When they are in the field, students work side-by-side with Developmental Services Workers, learning new skills and applying the ones they have already learned. This experience enhances students’ resumes and education. Please note that 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.

If students want to further their education after graduation from Centennial, they may be eligible to participate in an articulated program with selected universities, institutes and professional associations. These partnerships allow graduates 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.

However, before students can think of what they’ll do upon graduation, they first have to be accepted into the Developmental Services Worker program. In order to do so, Centennial College expects students applying for admission to present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Students must also possess compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent. English proficiency will be considered in the admissions process and a program admission session may also be required.

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