Do you believe that individuals who have intellectual disabilities should be supported in their homes, at work and school, and in leisure roles in the community? Are you interested in helping to build natural community supports, networks and valued social roles for individuals with intellectual disabilities? Have you completed at minimum an Ontario College Diploma or equivalent or are 19 years of age or older? In addition, have you taken English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent? If you answered yes to these questions, the field of developmental services workers by way of Centennial College may be for you.
The two-year Developmental Services Worker program is highly regarded by established professionals, graduates, families and agencies as its curriculum reflects current issues and developments. Emphasis is placed on 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 are some of the skills developed within this curriculum. Course work includes: projects, seminars, community observations, Internet searches, teamwork and electronic communication. Specific courses within the program for developmental services workers include: Health Promotion and Personal Well-Being (actions that contribute to optimal quality living are discussed along with the importance of health and well-being for all Canadians, especially those with intellectual and/or physical disabilities, students and support workers); Policy and Social Welfare Systems (in particular, social policy, legislation and the models of service delivery that affects persons who have intellectual disability in Ontario are explored); Introduction to Disability (terms and assumptions underlying models of care and supports and services for every day life challenges for individuals with disabilities are explored. Social issues of poverty, abuse, discrimination, oppression and social justice are studied for their impact on people with a disability); and more.
Students of the Developmental Services Worker program are also exposed to a wide variety of field placement opportunities, which is an integral part of the program. In semesters three and four, 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.
Lastly, students of the Development Services Worker undertaking will develop a portfolio documenting their engagement with the College’s signature Institute of Global Citizenship and Equity. The Institute will bring together research and activities related to global citizenship and social justice education at the College. It will provide leadership in facilitating engagement by faculty, students and staff.
Upon graduation, students obtain titles such as educational assistant, support worker, residential support worker and employment supporter.