DSLC – Disability Studies
Students discuss field placement experiences and have the opportunity to reflect on the application of theory to practice. Grounded in evidence based practice, the importance of professional and ethical conduct within a team structure are explored and developed. Students begin to develop the skills and attitudes of a reflective practitioner. Basic multimedia presentation skills are learned as a means to communicate information. The process of developing professional portfolios is initiated.
Field Placement I
In this supervised field placement, students apply and enhance their skills and knowledge in person directed practice, family support, facilitating learning, and advocacy and activism. Students integrate current disability studies theory and research into their practice. Ethical and values based practice are applied and critically analyzed. Students access the expertise of supervisors, peers, families, and individuals they support in order to function as an effective team member.
Person Directed Practice
Students develop person directed practices that focus on strengths, gifts, relationships, and community connection in supporting people with disabilities to have meaningful lives of their choosing. Students learn to facilitate person directed plans that support positive outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Students select and apply planning approaches that incorporate the practices of inclusion, empowerment, and individualization in the planning process.
Theoretical approaches to understanding family systems, considering the psychological, social, and cultural factors affecting families, are discussed. Students explore the importance of the family as it responds to and impacts upon members with disabilities. Approaches to identifying and supporting diverse family strengths and needs are examined and applied to communication, support, and professional boundary issues that may arise when working in family homes.
Advocacy and Activism
Advocacy and social activism are important processes that support people with disabilities in achieving equal citizenship. Personal, cultural, and structural oppression are examined as the means by which people with developmental disabilities are excluded from equal citizenship. Students develop a working knowledge of advocacy and social movement theory, as well as human rights legislation as foundations for empowerment work. Students examine current techniques and approaches in supporting self-advocates who are working within and outside of systems to effect change in order to achieve lives of equality and full inclusion. Students learn to work within a critical ethical framework as they develop their role as an ally.
Positive Approaches to Learning
The shift from person centred to person directed planning is evident in the disability service sector. As part of a self-directed plan, individuals with developmental disabilities are encouraged to identify personal learning goals. Students are introduced to adult development and learning, processes of formal and informal assessment, and interpretation of assessment reports as part of supporting individuals with disabilities to meet their personal learning goals. Teaching strategies that support individual skills development are developed. Methods to evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching strategies are explored.
Positive Behaviour Support
Positive behaviour supports refers to innovative ways of supporting individuals with complex needs so that they can lead lives of belonging and meaning. Students develop creative supports based on a deep understanding of the person and his or her unique challenges, such as the impact of disability, addictions, mental health concerns, conflict with the law, and history of trauma. Students acquire a solid foundation of functional assessment approaches and strategies used in the disability service sector. The knowledge and skills are used as a foundation for students to develop, implement and evaluate positive support plans. Students also learn strategies required to manage critical incident and crisis situations.
Personal Care and Wellness
Students examine practices that promote healthy living and wellness for individuals with developmental disabilities including individuals with complex health needs. Students integrate theory and skills related to health promotion measures that contribute to optimal quality of life in terms of social, emotional, occupational, spiritual, mental, environmental, and physical health across the life span for individuals with developmental disabilities. Students create wellness plans and develop knowledge and skills in nutrition; tube feeding; seating, lifting, carrying and transferring procedures; and wheelchair maintenance. Students are required to demonstrate competencies in medication administration, universal health precautions, feeding, and wheelchair safety and maintenance.
Approaches to Building Community
Students examine the concepts of community building and development, and apply them to the practice of supporting people with disabilities. Students learn how community capacity and strong community connections enable the people they support to live lives of meaning, connection, and contribution.
Supervision and Organizational Leadership
Students examine the importance of strategic planning as a way to guide organizations within the disability service sector. Students explore various theories of management, leadership, and supervision and the skills required to effectively manage teams and organizations, and facilitate organizational change. Strategies to foster diversity and inclusion are also examined along with issues unique to the disability service sector.
Grounded in evidence based practice, professional and ethical conduct within a team structure are demonstrated. Students demonstrate advanced skills and attitudes of a reflective practitioner. Students discuss field placement experiences and have the opportunity to reflect on the application of theory to practice. Students create and present multimedia presentations. Comprehensive professional portfolios are completed and job search processes are practiced.
Field Placement II
In this supervised field placement, students apply and enhance their skills and knowledge in community building, organizational leadership and supervision, providing positive behavioural support, providing personal care and promoting wellness. Students integrate current disability studies theory and research into their practice. Ethical and values based practice are applied and critically analyzed. Students access the expertise of supervisors, practitioners, families and individuals they support in order to function as an effective team member. Students develop their professional identity and focus of future practice.