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Staff Training

Why This Is Important

The field of direct supports to people with developmental disabilities has changed rapidly and frequently in the last several decades. It is exciting to see the movement from segregated, congregate care services where meeting regulations was the hallmark of quality, to individualized support models where services are provided in natural settings, with full inclusion into our communities as the goal, and with the person receiving supports as the ultimate judge of quality. There is a lag, however, between what we know about best practices in the field and when these practices become part of the standard way of providing supports. Some of the lag is due to regulations, agency practices and other bureaucratic issues, but another part of this problem is the lack of quality staff training. To fully implement the practices of supported living, supported work, self-determination, self-advocacy; choice, and other aspects of person centered planning & supports, direct support professionals (DSP) need much better training and support then they currently receive. Today’s DSP have a number of responsibilities that go beyond basic care and they generally work without supervision or support from coworkers. To be successful they need to be able to identify strengths in themselves and others, have an understanding and respect for diversity-both among coworkers and among the people they support, have the capacity to listen to others and reflect on what is said, be creative, utilize problem solving skills, and work well both as part of a team and independently. More than ever DSPs need effective and timely training opportunities that are offered in ways that are accessible to them. This site will highlight products and resources related to training, including established training programs, as well as information about identified competencies for DSPs, DSP credentialing and assessment methods.

This web site is maintained by the Research and Training Center on Community Living with support from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, the Human Services Research Institute and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. E-mail weste050@umn.edu.
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