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What is the California College of Direct Support?

  • The most comprehensive internet-based learning system for Direct Support Professionals and Frontline Supervisors our state has ever seen.

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The State of the Community Support Service System

  • The DSPs and Supervisors of today are faced with increasingly demanding and evolving roles & responsibilities while stagnant rates have made it close to impossible to match demand with a livable wage.  As budgets get tighter training and professional development is the first to get cut.  Workers, feeling the impact of this divestment, move around from agency to agency and eventually leave the direct support workforce altogether.

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How will the College of Direct Support Address the Current Problem?

  • Workers are now more dispersed over larger geographic regions with schedules beyond the standard workday with school, second & third jobs, family obligations, etc.  Getting to trainings at a specific time and location can be a major barrier to developing the ongoing skills required for supporting people with disabilities in the community and once they get to trainings every agency provides a different type and quality of training and some agencies vary in quality and type from month to month.  The California College of Direct Support will provide a consistent and a synchronous (anytime, anywhere) web-based learning, backed by nationally recognized curricula, designed to help support a profession of direct support professionals.

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Who's participating in the California College of Direct Support?



Courses of the California College of Direct Support (CDS)

Click on any of the headings/descriptions to see or hide details.

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INTRODUCTION TO DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

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This course provides the learner with a background in the history, language, and basic concepts of services for persons with developmental disabilities. In this course the learner reviews the ideas and learns the vocabulary that are important to working within the field of developmental disabilities. This information makes the learner more effective in communicating with others and in understanding the system in which developmental disabilities services are provided.
  • Lesson 1: A Brief History of Developmental Disabilities
  • Lesson 2: The Language and Ideas of Best Practices
  • Lesson 3: Terminology and Classification in Developmental Disabilities
  • Lesson 4: The Causes of Developmental Disabilities
  • Lesson 5: Services for People with Developmental Disabilities

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COMMUNITY INCLUSION

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This course helps DSPs understand their roles in supporting the inclusion of people with disabilities in the communities in which they live and work. It provides an overview of inclusion and why it is important, and the learner is given strategies for enhancing inclusion of individuals with disabilities.
  • Lesson 1: The DSP Role in Community Inclusion
  • Lesson 2: Matching Community Resources with Individual Interests
  • Lesson 3: Community Bridge-Building and Networking
  • Lesson 4: Natural Supports

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CULTURAL COMPETENCE

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This course increases learners’ cultural awareness by teaching the five elements of cultural competence: 1) valuing diversity; 2) understanding your own culture; 3) understanding when culture may be affecting interactions between per sons and among groups; 4) knowing where to find good resources; and 5) knowing how to change their behavior to meet the cultural needs of others.  Situational examples in the lessons provide an opportunity for learners to think about their own culture while examining and reflecting on new knowledge gained about other cultures.
  • Lesson 1: What is Cultural Competence?
  • Lesson 2: Understanding Your Own Culture
  • Lesson 3: The Culture of Support Services
  • Lesson 4: The Cultural Competence Continuum
  • Lesson 5: Culturally Competent Communication
  • Lesson 6: Cultural Competence in Daily Support
  • Lesson 7: DSP Roles in Culturally Competent Organizations

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DIRECT SUPPORT PROFESSIONALISM

bullet This course introduces the learner to the importance and benefits of a professional orientation to the DSP role and to the history and status of the professionalism movement. The national movement to professionalize direct support is described. The reasons why professionalism is important, progress that has been made in creating a profession and how DSPs can become part of the professionalism movement are included. An ethical code for DSPs is reviewed along with ways of applying these ethical guidelines in daily practice.
  • Lesson 1: Becoming a Direct Support Professional
  • Lesson 2: Contemporary Best Practices
  • Lesson 3: Applying Ethics in Everyday Work
  • Lesson 4: Practicing Confidentiality
  • Lesson 5: Working with Your Strengths and Interests

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DOCUMENTATION

bullet This course provides the learner with a thorough understanding of why it is important to record specific activities or events, different types of documentation, ways of effectively completing documentation, and the importance of maintaining confidentiality in documentation. Learners are given general guidelines for documentation and are urged to re view the policies and procedures of their employers and states. Agencies and states are encouraged to take advantage of the easy-to-use tailoring features of the CDS to present learners with specific information about their agency or state.
  • Lesson 1: Purposes of Documentation
  • Lesson 2: Types of Documentation
  • Lesson 3: Effective Documentation
  • Lesson 4: Confidentiality in Documentation

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EMPLOYMENT SUPPORTS: EXPLORING INDIVIDUAL PREFERENCES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR JOB ATTAINMENT

bullet This course provides an overview of employment services and supports for people with disabilities. Learners are taught how to assist people with disabilities in identifying employment skills and preferences, exploring job opportunities, completing job applications and interviews, and determining appropriate work place accommodations.
  • Lesson 1: Introduction to Employment Services
  • Lesson 2: Identifying Individual Employment Preferences, Interests, and Strengths
  • Lesson 3: Job Opportunities and Job Searches
  • Lesson 4: Getting a Job: Applying, Interviewing, and Making Accommodations

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INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND CHOICE

bullet In this course, the learner gains knowledge of the rights of individuals with disabilities including a brief overview of relevant laws and their historical roots. It teaches how to balance the right to take risks with the right to be protected from harm, and provides valuable skills in facilitating choice-making by the individuals to whom DSPs provide support. It is recommended that the learner complete the course on Maltreatment of Vulnerable Adults and Children along with this course to better understand rights. While this course discusses many federal laws that concern the rights of individuals with disabilities, state and local communities also have laws that pertain to rights. Learners are encouraged to contact their state or local government representatives and their supervisor to find out about local laws. Agencies are encouraged to use the tailoring options of the CDS to identify state and local laws and information that DSPs should know.
  • Lesson 1: Overview of Rights
  • Lesson 2: Identifying Restrictions of Rights
  • Lesson 3: A Past of Barriers, a Future of Risks, Choices, and Solutions
  • Lesson 4: Your Role in Supporting Expression of Rights and Facilitating Choice

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INTRODUCTION TO MEDICATION SUPPORT

bullet This course helps learners understand how to support people in effectively and safely managing their medications. Information on how to work with medical professionals and safely store, administer, and handle medications is included. Not all DSPs have the same responsibilities in medication support due to different regulations and the varied needs of the persons being supported. To address this, the course provides concepts and tools that help learners understand and address their unique situations.
  • Lesson 1: Introduction to Medication Support
  • Lesson 2: Medication Basics
  • Lesson 3: Working with Medications
  • Lesson 4: Administration of Medications and Treatments
  • Lesson 5: Follow-up, Communication, and Documentation
  • Lesson 6: Using Medication References
  • Lesson 7: Medical Abbreviations

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PERSON-CENTERED PLANNING AND SUPPORTS

bullet This course helps learners understand the foundational concepts, values, and benefits of person-centered planning. It describes the evolution of person-centered planning, provides an overview of several different approaches and presents learners with tips and steps for effectively implementing meaningful plans. Common challenges to person-centered planning process are re viewed and the learner is instructed on how create solutions.
  • Lesson 1: Foundational Concepts and Values
  • Lesson 2: Person-Centered Planning Approaches
  • Lesson 3: Contributions People Can Make to the Person-Centered Planning Process
  • Lesson 4: Making Person-Centered Plans Come to Life
  • Lesson 5: Challenges and Barriers to Person-Centered Planning

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POSITIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORT

bullet This course is an introduction to methods of supporting people who engage in challenging behaviors. Strategies that are safe, fair, compassionate, and effective in preventing and reducing problem behaviors are included. The learner is provided with definitions of challenging behavior and basic behavioral terms and principles. The learner will understand more about the history of treatment of people with disabilities and why the person-centered practices at the heart of positive behavior supports are being embraced. The course teaches learners about regulations in the use of behavioral interventions and provides practical information on how to effectively support people who present behavioral challenges.
  • Lesson 1: Understanding Behavior
  • Lesson 2: Functions and Causes of Behavior
  • Lesson 3: Understanding Positive Approaches
  • Lesson 4: Preventing Challenging Behavior
  • Lesson 5: Responding to Challenging Behavior
  • Lesson 6: Behavior Support Plans
  • Lesson 7: Rules, Regulations, Policies, and Rights

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SUPPORTING HEALTHY LIVES

bullet This course provides an over view of information needed to understand what it takes to lead a healthy life and how to support people with disabilities in making good choices related to their health. It covers the importance of making healthy choices such as eating right and getting the right amount of exercise. It reviews health-related issues across the life span and gives advice on working with health care providers. A lesson on recognizing the signs and symptoms of illness is included along with information on how to take care of someone who is ill.
  • Lesson 1: Living a Healthy Life
  • Lesson 2: Health Through the Age Span
  • Lesson 3: Individual Health Needs
  • Lesson 4: Care of Common Health Care Conditions
  • Lesson 5: Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of Illness
  • Lesson 6: Working with a Health Care Provider

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TEACHING PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

bullet This course is an overview of the important role that DSPs have in teaching people with developmental disabilities. It provides the learner with a basic understanding of teaching and learning, an important part of the direct support role. It helps the learner move beyond a “caregiving” role to one of being a true supporter and professional. This course helps the learner understand why it is important for all people to learn new things, what motivates people to learn, what teaching strategies help people with developmental disabilities learn, and how teaching and learning can be effectively organized.
  • Lesson 1: Understanding Teaching
  • Lesson 2: Preparing to Teach
  • Lesson 3: Teaching Strategies
  • Lesson 4: Organizing and Applying Teaching Strategies

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YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND: SUPPORTING FAMILY CONNECTIONS, FRIENDS, LOVE, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

bullet This course explores the importance and meaning of human relationships in the lives of all people, including people of all ages with disabilities. In it the learner reflects on the benefits that healthy relationships bring to people’s lives and why they are valuable. The learner identifies the common perceptions and prejudices about people with disabilities that create barriers to social relationships. The learner is taught the common challenges that DSPs face when supporting people in developing and maintaining relationships and specific strategies for overcoming these challenges. In addition, the learner explores family relationships and how to effectively support these special long-term relationships that are so important to people with disabilities.
  • Lesson 1: The Importance of Relationships
  • Lesson 2: Barriers, Challenges, and Opportunities for Friendships
  • Lesson 3: Strategies for Building and Maintaining Relationships
  • Lesson 4: Supporting Family Networks

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MALTREATMENT OF VULNERABLE ADULTS AND CHILDREN

bullet This course helps the learner under stand what abuse, neglect, and exploitation are; how to identify suspected cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation; how to protect the person who may have been harmed from further exploitation; and how to effectively document these situations. This course teaches learners about specific reasons people with disabilities may be more vulnerable to abuse, neglect, or exploitation and what strategies they can use to reduce peoples’ vulnerabilities. Protection and Advocacy, state ombudsman, and other agencies that deal with abuse and neglect situations are described and explained to the learner.
  • Lesson 1: Defining Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
  • Lesson 2: Preventing Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
  • Lesson 3: Reporting Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
  • Lesson 4: Documenting Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
  • Lesson 5: Following Up on Reports

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SAFETY AT HOME AND IN THE COMMUNITY

bullet This course provides an overview of methods for preventing and responding to safety issues at home and in the community away from home. Lessons included information on safety while driving, creating safe home environments, and safe handling of blood borne pathogens (universal pre cautions and OSHA requirements). Information for preventing and responding to specific situations such as fires, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other emergencies is covered. Throughout the lessons, the learner is asked to think about balancing safety concerns with personal choice and opportunity for people with disabilities by reflecting on examples that represent the types of challenges DSPs face today. Because safety risks have a lot to do with individual circumstances, the learner is asked to apply learning to the policies and procedures of the specific support setting in which they work, as well as to the unique needs of each person supported.
  • Lesson 1: Risks, Choice, and Common Sense
  • Lesson 2: Safety at Home
  • Lesson 3: Fire Safety
  • Lesson 4: Responding to Emergencies
  • Lesson 5: Safety for All Occasions
  • Lesson 6: Motor Vehicle Safety
  • Lesson 7: Universal Precautions and Infection Control
  • Lesson 8: Accident and Incident Reporting

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PERSONAL AND SELF CARE

bullet Grooming and hygiene is an important part of daily life. Grooming and hygiene can reflect a person's well being and self-esteem. Poor hygiene can lead to poor health. Many direct support professionals help people with grooming and hygiene activities. These include tasks such as helping with dressing, bathing, shaving, or using the toilet. It may also include teaching these skills to children or adults with special needs. Direct support professionals may feel uncomfortable assisting people with grooming and hygiene. Learning to support people with personal care in a sensitive and respectful manner is discussed. It is also important to respect a person's own grooming habits. These are personal and unique, and can be culturally based. Direct support professionals will learn how to find out about people's personal style and preferences. Learners will review methods for completing many grooming and hygiene tasks. This course will also help learners understand health concerns and risks related to personal care.
  • Lesson 1: Understanding Personal and Self Care
  • Lesson 2: Providing Individualized Personal Care Support
  • Lesson 3: The Basics of Hygiene
  • Lesson 4: The Basics of Grooming and Dressing
  • Lesson 5: Oral Care

The College of Frontline Supervision

The quality and stability of DSPs is often directly related to the quality and stability of their supervisors. More often then not, good DSPs are promoted to supervisory positions without receiving the training they need to be effective in their new role. To respond to this reality and to related customer demands we have created the College of Frontline Supervision and Management (CFSM). Its instructional capabilities and administrative functions are identical to the CDS — its target audience is Frontline Supervisors (FS), lead workers, and DSPs aspiring to supervisory positions. Four initial CFSM courses will provide a foundation in meeting the job expectations for a FS. Additional courses will follow.
 

Click on any of the headings/descriptions to see or hide details.

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DEVELOPING AN INTERVENTION PLAN

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This course teaches learners how to develop an effective plan for employee retention based on analysis of specific needs in their service settings. It teaches learners how to calculate and track turn over and vacancy rates and how to use the results to select the best interventions and monitor progress. It also teaches how to anticipate and over come barriers and challenges in implementing intervention plans.
  • Lesson 1: Understanding the Intervention Plan
  • Lesson 2: Assessing the Challenge Part 1: Retention Basics
  • Lesson 3: Assessing the Challenge Part 2: Additional Assessment and the Assessment Process.
  • Lesson 4: Developing an Intervention Plan

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FUELING HIGH PERFORMANCE

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This course focuses on reducing turnover among high-potential staff by providing professional development opportunities and by establishing consistent and high performance requirements. It reviews a number of important interventions that give structure and definition to expectations that promote high quality performance.
  • Lesson 1: Competency-Based Training
  • Lesson 2: Employee Development
  • Lesson 3: Building a Successful Team
  • Lesson 4: Coaching and Positive Discipline
  • Lesson 5: Employee Participation, Motivation, and Recognition

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RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION

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You won't retain the right staff if you can't find and hire them. This course will help you understand how to bring more potential employees to your door and how to choose the best of those that apply.
  • Lesson 1: Recruitment and Marketing
  • Lesson 2: Realistic Job Previews
  • Lesson 3: Selection and Hiring

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TRAINING AND ORIENTATION

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This course reviews the need for assessing employee skills as the foundation of successful training and development programs. The course teaches various components of training and how training practices can influence the retention rates of high-potential staff. Ways to structure training including methods and topics for training are reviewed. Because orientation serves a different purpose than skill training, a separate lesson on orientation practices is included.
  • Lesson 1: Understanding Training
  • Lesson 2: Choosing Training Topics
  • Lesson 3: Choosing Training Methods
  • Lesson 4: Understanding Employee Assessment
  • Lesson 5: Orientation Practices


College of
Direct Support

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