Developmental Services Worker

Exceeding compassionate caring:  Developmental Services Workers inspire, advocate, and include.


Fall 2016
Program Status: Accepting Applications
Program Code: DSW
Location: Peterborough
Coordinator: Ann Hines Email
Credential: Ontario College Diploma
Start Dates: September 06, 2016
Tuition and Ancillary Fees (Domestic): $2,442.32 per semester*
Tuition and Ancillary Fees (International): $7,589.35 per semester*
* Tuition and fees subject to change.

Program Highlights

This two–year Ontario College diploma program is designed to provide the specialized skills required for professionals who make a difference every day in the developmental services sector. This program has a specific focus related to supporting people with various intellectual disabilities, such as Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Autism, and neurocognitive disorders.

Graduates will have the knowledge, skills and attitudes that include - and exceed - compassionate caring to support the empowerment of people with developmental disabilities, while promoting social inclusion and helping people reach their goals and accomplish their dreams. Developmental Services Workers maintain and promote their professional values such as social justice, empowerment, dignity, self-worth, the importance of healthy human relationships, and integrity.  

Students in this program also develop an understanding of the past, present and future of developmental services in Ontario and how it impacts the lives of individuals and families. Students begin to specialize in person-centered, strength-based assessments and develop strategies for individuals, their families, and community inclusion through various community-based projects and field placements.

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.


Why Choose Fleming?

  • Small class sizes and individual attention enhance your learning experience

  • Applied learning projects in partnership with local agencies allows for hands-on skill building in developmental services, contribution to the community and professional networking

  • 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

  • See what DSW students are up to by following us on Facebook and Twitter

Meet some of our faculty:

Work Experience

An essential component of your education will include experiential learning through course work as well as field placements. Two supervised field placements (one in a residential and one in a non-residential setting) provide students with varied practical experience. Students are prepared for placements through training and support in three professional practice seminars. Students will put theory into practice to help support and provide empowerment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Students also have the option of international placements in their fourth semester; however, this should be discussed with the program coordinator as early as possible (and prior to the end of semester 2) in order to assist in facilitating it.

Where have our graduates been offered employment? Program graduates are employed in a variety of locations including:

  • Alternatives Community Support Services
  • Christian Horizons
  • Stewart Homes
  • Community Living Peterborough
  • Community Living Kawartha Lakes
  • Peterborough Communication Support Systems
  • Deaf-Blind Ontario
  • Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board
  • Private families
  • The Down Syndrome Association of Peterborough
  • Community Living North Durham
  • Community Living Northumberland

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
  • Ability to work on a team, or collaborative skills
  • Interest in being an advocate for people
  • Passion about human rights/equality
  • You will also need to be able to work in physically demanding situations and challenging environments.
  • 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.


Health and Non Academic Requirements

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.

  • Immunization Requirements: Your program has mandatory immunization requirements that include a "pre-entry" deadline date for submission. For more information, and to print a copy of the immunization form, please see the Immunization Information page.
  • Non Academic Requirements: Your program has mandatory requirements which may include a criminal reference check, first aid, CPR-C, etc. For more information, please see the Non Academic Requirements page

Related Programs

Not quite decided on which Human Services or Community Services career to pursue? Explore various career options in our two-semester Human Service Foundations program.

Successful completion of this certificate program enables you to enter into second semester of one of these Fleming College diploma programs:

Transfer Agreements

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 © 2016 Sir Sandford Fleming College. All Rights Reserved.

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