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Developmental Services Worker Program

Making a difference in the lives of people faced with challenges

  • The Developmental Services Worker (DSW) Program is a Diploma Program.
  • The program offers a rewarding and fulfilling career in the provision of quality care and support services to individuals with Developmental Disabilities and other challenges.
  • It is an eight-month full-time intensive program.
  • Instructions are provided in 23 topic areas including job search preparations, presentations and group discussions.
  • It has as a vital component hands-on work experience through off-site practicum placements with social services agencies and organizations.
  • The program is ideal for those endowed with caring attributes and empathy and who are desirous of making a difference in the lives of people faced with challenges.
  • Opportunities for graduates of the program include, but are not limited, to the following: Educational Assistants, Residential Counsellors, Day Program Coordinators, Family Support Workers, Seniors' Support Workers, and Community Service Coordinators.
  • The program is delivered by a team of highly motivated, experienced and qualified instructors with robust industry background.

PROGRAM MODULES FOR DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES WORKER PROGRAM

  • Module 1: Introduction to Developmental Services
    Course Code Description
    DSW 101 Introduction to Developmental Services Worker Program
    An overview of the program is explored with emphasis on the scope of the courses and competencies needed to work in the field of services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
    DSW 102 Introduction to the Nature of Developmental Disabilities (1)
    Students explore the nature of developmental disabilities and their contributory factors. Issues arising from the various perspectives of those who work in the field that lead to different definitions are discussed. The common types and their characteristics are examined.
    DSW 206 Introduction to the Nature of Developmental Disabilities 2:
    Students learn about the more complicated developmental disabilities and their contributory factors. The common types and their characteristics are examined.
    Factors of assessment of individuals with the selected types are addressed; e.g. Current concept of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Prader Willi Syndrome, etc.
    DSW 106 Professionalism in Developmental Services:
    Focus will be on attitudes and behaviours that convey professionalism. Special emphasis is placed on avoiding stigmatization of the individuals with disabilities.
    Discussion of ethical principles, implications of the legislative acts, discriminating between professional and non-professional behaviours.
    DSW 204 Family Involvement and Support:
    The course focuses on the importance of families and their involvement in the care and life of their members with developmental disabilities. Strategies for the inclusion of family members as part of the team are explored.
    Basic family support strategies are addressed and emphasized.
    DSW 107 Psychosocial Issues: Stress Management, Abuse, Neglect and Workplace Violence:
    The course deals with psychosocial issues and concerns in the care of individuals with developmental disabilities, Stress management and caregiver stress, strategies for coping and dealing with stress, reduction of risk of abuse, neglect and workplace violence. The course also includes Quality Assurance Measures Training and Health and Safety Awareness Training.
  • Module 2: Essential Communication Skills in Developmental Services
    Course Code Description
    DSW 104 Essential Communication Skills in Developmental Services:
    Students learn report writing skills necessary for completing written assignments as well as documentation required in the field. Students are introduced to Basic Sign Language to equip them with basic skills in sign language for supporting individuals who are hearing impaired. Record keeping and documentation
    DSW 103 Interpersonal Skills Development and Helping Relationships
    This course focuses on the development of trust, respect and listening and responding skills. The course also underscores the need for effective communication skills in developing interpersonal skills which help relationships.
    DSW 105 Teamwork in Developmental Services:
    Emphasis is on value of team in supporting individuals with disabilities, development of team skills, characteristics of an effective team player, and how to resolve conflicts
    DSW 202 Person-centred Planning:
    Focus is on data collection, assessment, and planning entailed in the care of persons with developmental disabilities. Students are exposed to person-centred planning processes to meet the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. Students will learn their roles in using these approaches in the field.
    DSW 203 Home Management and Community Integration:
    In this course, students will learn about:
    Issues relating to home management whether in a private home or in a residential group home setting. Services available in the communities and how to access them for the benefit of persons with developmental disabilities. Use of assistive technology.
  • Module 3: Human Growth and Development
    Course Code Description
    DSW 205 Life Skills for Individuals with Disabilities:
    Students will learn the basic strategies to assist individuals with disabilities to develop functional skills that encourage independence and increase autonomy and problem solving. Topics include: meal planning, personal self-care/hygiene, grocery shopping, housekeeping and social adjustment skills.
    DSW 207 Human Development/Human Growth and Aging:
    This course will address the various issues of human development and aging.
    The impact of developmental disabilities on aging will also be addressed. Also included are different theories, stages and challenges. The importance of hierarchy of needs and strategies of successful aging will also be discussed.
    DSW 209 Human Diversity: Issues of Faith, Culture, Gender and Human Sexuality:
    This course will focus on the knowledge of various religions and cultures and how they influence the support for individuals with developmental disabilities. Topics include culture shock, cultural competencies, socially acceptable behaviours and various issues of sexuality.
    DSW 108 Health Challenges: Health, Safety and Wellness:
    Focus will be on health and wellness and the implications on individuals with developmental disabilities. Course will also explore the different medical conditions, their relationship to developmental disabilities as well as ways to support them. Students will also learn about temperature taking, and blood pressure readings, and safe lift and transfer procedures and techniques.
    DSW 111 Safe Food Handling/Universal Precautions:
    • The course will emphasize the following
    • Principles of food handling in safe manner
    • Basic information on microorganisms, food borne diseases, safe food preparation, display and storage
    • Personal hygiene and housing keeping strategies
  • Module 4: Supporting Persons with Challenging Behaviours
    Course Code Description
    DSW 109 Crisis Intervention:
    Course focuses on discussions on how crisis develops and the behaviours associated with the various levels and how care givers/support workers can appropriately deal with crisis situations. Attitudes towards crisis are explored. Principles of crisis prevention and intervention are discussed. Discussion of CPI principles of safety in managing disruptive behaviours. Examination of CPI verbal escalation continuum and appropriate intervention for each stage in the continuum.
    DSW 110 Safe Management:
    Focus will be on:
    • Principles of safe management of disruptive and assaultive behaviours
    • Application of real life scenarios
    • Differentiation between prevention and management
    • Demonstration of approaches, reflective exercises
    • Planning of basic ways for behavior assessment and management.
    DSW 201 Basic Pharmacology: (DSW 201A & DSW 201B)
    The course focuses on:
    • Introductory overview of Pharmacology.
    • Legislative acts and ethical issues relating to medication administration, safety issues and medication errors.
    • Agency policies and procedures concerning medication administration.
    • An overview of the functions of the respiratory, neurological, endocrine, musculoskeletal, digestive and cardiovascular systems and the common medications to treat these conditions.
    DSW 208 Introduction to Abnormal Psychology and Dual Diagnosis:
    This course provides an introduction to the concept of abnormal behavior, different mental illnesses and dual diagnosis. Students will also learn about the contributory factors, characteristics of the individuals with these conditions, general overview of treatment modes and the impact of these conditions. Care-giving issues and practical applications of interventions are also addressed.
    DSW 210 Special Intervention Techniques:
    This course provides an overview of the specialized interventions used to support individuals with developmental disabilities such as management of challenging behaviours, classroom management, use of sensory stimulation and use of plants, music, and other recreational activities. The course will also discuss the ABCs of behavior assessment, concept of reinforcers, types of reinforcement schedules, least intrusive and prohibited ways of managing behaviours.
  • Module 5: DSW Completion Courses
    Course Code Description
    DSW 301 Job Search Preparation:
    Focus will be on:
    • Knowledge and skills required to search for jobs
    • Preparation of job-targeted resumes
    • Preparation of cover letter using correct grammar
    • Accessing websites for jobs online
    • Preparations for job interviews
    • Mock Interviews
    • Punctuality
    • Mode of dressing, etc.
    DSW 302 Practicum Placement:
    This segment of the program will provide the students the opportunity to:
    • Integrate knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in the practicum placement setting.
    • Learn about the policies and procedures of host agencies
    • Be part of teams where interventions to challenges facing individuals with developmental disabilities such as person-centred planning, family and community involvement, safe management, crisis intervention, safe food handling, behavior management, safe medication administration, that have been covered in the classroom and practiced in the field.
    • Display professionalism, practice essential communication skills and apply skills in assisting individuals to achieve autonomy and their potential.
    • Have hands-on experience in home living activities required for supporting individuals with developmental disabilities under the care of the host agencies.
    • Benefit from the observations and supervision provided by the host agency's supervisors.
    The practicum placement is aimed at preparing the students for the real world of care and support services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

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Announcements

(Special points of interest)

  • Registrations Open: Keeping in mind the health and safety of our staff and students during the COVID-19 pandemic Freedom College continues to provide the PSW and DSW program classes online. Registrations for September 2021 intake are open.: November 1st 2020
  • COVID-19 Updates: In response to the increasing COVID-19 positive cases, Premier Doug Ford has moved Toronto into the grey “Lockdown” zone starting 23rd November, 2020. This decision has been taken to slow down the transmission rate and help keep the most vulnerable safe. The health and safety of our students and the Freedom College community is our number one priority. We have shared responsibilities in following the recommendations of the Government of Canada and Provincial and Local Public Health authorities. Freedom College is committed to meeting the measures outlined for as long as it is required by the Government.: November 23rd 2020