Developmental Services Worker


Ann Hines
Program Coordinator
TEL: (705) 749-5530 x 1073 ext. 1073
TEL: (705) 749-5514
TFN: 1-866-353-6464 ext. 1514

Developmental Services Workers (DSW’s) make a difference in the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities.   They provide a wide variety of assistance and support services to maintain and improve the quality of life for clients and their families in a variety of settings.


Winter 2015
Program Status: Accepting Applications
Program Code: DSW
Location: Peterborough
Coordinator: Ann Hines Email
Credential: Ontario College Diploma
Start Dates: January 12, 2015
Tuition Fees: $1,893.09 per semester*
* Tuition and fees subject to change.
Fall 2015
Program Status: Accepting Applications
Program Code: DSW
Location: Peterborough
Coordinator: Ann Hines Email
Credential: Ontario College Diploma
Start Dates: September 08, 2015
Tuition Fees: $1,951.09 per semester*
* Tuition and fees subject to change.

Program Highlights:

This two–year (four semesters, two field placements), Ontario College diploma program is designed to provide the specialized skills required for workers in the developmental service sector.  Graduates will have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to support the empowerment of people with developmental disabilities.

Curriculum and field placements align with and exceed pending accreditation and industry standards for the developmental services sector. Graduates are able to become members of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities (OADD) and the Developmental Services Special Interest Group (DSSIG).  OADD is a professional organization for people working and studying in the field of developmental disabilities, throughout Ontario.

New and emerging fields of study covered in the course work include professionalism, legislation, person directed planning, teaching and intervention strategies, responding to abuse, health and wellness, pharmacology, dual diagnosis, philosophy of support, community building and advocacy skills.

Two supervised field placements – one in a residential and one in a non-residential setting provide students with varied practical experience.  Students also receive placement preparedness training though two professional practice seminars.

Students obtain many certifications within the program including First Aid, CPR and Non-Violent Crisis Intervention – these additional certifications are highly valued by potential employers.

Why Choose Fleming?

  • Small class sizes and individual attention enhance your learning experience
  • This program provides the in-depth training, academic and work placement experience necessary to be successful in this challenging yet rewarding field
  • You will be supported by our knowledgeable and caring faculty who are experts in the developmental service field


Work Experience:

An essential component of your education will include experiential learning through field placements. We offer diverse opportunities for field placements; such as residential/group homes, social service agencies or independent living facilities.   Here you’ll put theory into practice to help support and empower individuals with disabilities.

Career Opportunities:

Providing support services to those with developmental disabilities can be highly rewarding work and it is anticipated that with the growing aging population and the recent changes in legislation,  there will be a shortage of skilled and qualified workers to meet the demand in the developmental services worker sector.

Graduates will have the required expertise to work in a variety of roles in diverse settings in Ontario, across Canada or abroad including:

  • Residential treatment centres / group homes
  • District School Boards - specialized educational programs; educational assistance; alternative  school programs
  • Community outreach programs
  • Services for seniors as activation directors
  • Long-term care facilities
  • With families, providing respite and enhancing presence and participation in community life
  • Other not-for profit organizations
  • In homes, helping people to maintain their independence.
  • Charitable institutions
  • Recreational programs/facilities
  • Prevention programs
  • Day treatment centres
  • Social service agencies
  • Community based programs
  • Mental health agencies

Is this You? To succeed in this program you need:

  • Emotional maturity
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Self-awareness
  • Sensitivity to diversity ( ages, culture, gender, ability )
  • Time management skills

You will also need to be able to work in physically demanding situations and challenging environments.


Minimum Admission Requirements:

The minimum admission requirements for the program are OSSD with the majority of credits at the College (C) and Open (O) level, including:

•  2 College (C) English courses (Grade 11 or Grade 12)

When (C) is the minimum course level for admission, (U) or (U/C) courses are also accepted.

Mature Students over 19 years of age or older before classes start, but who do not possess an OSSD, can write the Canadian Adult Achievement Test to assess eligibility for admission. Applicants with prior learning or related work experience may be eligible for credit recognition through Prior Learning Assessment or transfer of credit from another ¬college or university.

Other Requirements:

In order to ensure, accreditation in the field, students will be required to purchase their student membership with DSSIG (Developmental Service Special Interest Group) and OADD (Ontario Association of Developmental Disabilities) in the first semester.  The student membership for DSSIG is $25.00/year and OADD does not have a fee required at the present time for membership. All applicants must be aware of the basic health requirements for employment and for field placement. Accepted applicants must supply proof of a satisfactory medical examination and immunization prior to going on placement in Semester Three. Prospective students with special needs or limitations that may affect their field placement or potential employment opportunities are encouraged to discuss their program and career goals with a program coordinator prior to admissions.

Prior to the first field practicum, a student must also submit a Police Check for work with the vulnerable sector. Certification in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention will be current for the first practicum and offered within the program before the first field placement. 

Related Programs:

Not quite decided on which Human Services or Community Services career to pursue? Why not consider Drug and Alcohol Counsellor, Social Service Worker or the Community and Justice Services program if you have a desire to help people improve their lives?



Every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on our website and in our publications. The College reserves the right to modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable, or campus location at any time.

Copyright © 2014 Sir Sandford Fleming College. All Rights Reserved.

Fleming College
599 Brealey Drive K9J 7B1 Peterborough, Ontario,
(705) 749-5530