Developmental Services Worker

September 2019

Availability: Accepting Applications
Credential: Ontario College Diploma ( 4 semesters )
Classes begin:
September 03, 2019
Offered at:
Sutherland Campus
Program code:
Tuition & Ancillary Fees:
Tuition is unavailable at this time

Developmental Services Workers help people with disabilities achieve their dreams by inspiring, advocating and promoting inclusion.

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 lives of children, youth and adults who have disabilities, as well as their support network at home, school, the community, recreation, mental health and addictions, employment support and more.

The Developmental Services Worker program focuses on providing support to people with various intellectual disabilities, such as Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury and neurocognitive disorders, and/or physical disabilities. Graduates have the knowledge, skills and attitudes that include - and exceed - compassionate caring to support the empowerment of people with 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 current 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 provincial and industry standards for the developmental services sector.

Professional Memberships

Students and graduates are able to become members of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities (OADD) and the Ontario Association of Developmental Services Professionals (DSSIG). OADD is a professional organization for people working and studying in the field of developmental disabilities throughout Ontario.

Person-Directed Planning and Facilitation Certification

Three specific courses, with an additional focus on facilitating a Person-Directed Plan in the semester 4 placement, will lead students to being certified facilitators in Person-Directed Planning.

Why Choose Fleming?

  • Small class sizes and individual attention enhance your learning experience
  • Internal partnership with the Community Integration Through Cooperative Education program, where Developmental Services Worker students support the inclusion of CICE students within Fleming and the local community
  • Applied learning projects in partnership with local agencies allows for hands-on skill building in developmental services, contribution to the community and professional networking
  • 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

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 will also complete the last portion of their facilitation certificate by creating a Person-Directed Plan with a person they support (client) in their placement. 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.

Program graduates can be employed in a variety of locations, including:

  • Alternatives Community Program Services
  • Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board
  • Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board
  • Christian Horizons
  • Stewart Homes
  • Community Living Trent Highlands
  • Tri-County Community Support Services
  • Canadian Mental Health Association (Dual Diagnosis)
  • Access County Community Support Services
  • Array Community Support Services
  • DeafBlind Ontario
  • Private families/self-employment as independent facilitators/ support workers
  • Down Syndrome Association of Peterborough
  • Community Living Durham North
  • Community Living West Northumberland
  • Brain Injury Association Peterborough Region
  • Community Living Campbellford-Brighton
  • Various Camps
  • Check out more at Developmental Services Ontario

Career Opportunities

Career Opportunities providing supports and services to those with intellectual or physical disabilities is highly rewarding work. There is a shortage of skilled and qualified workers to meet the demand in the developmental services and disability sectors, as well as related employment.

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

  • Mental health/Dual Diagnosis
  • Self-employment through individualized funding
  • Person-Directed Planning
  • Educational Support
  • Employment supports
  • Community inclusion initiatives and teaching life skills
  • Residential supports
  • Behavioural supports

Is this You? I want to:

  • Make a difference every day
  • Have variety in the work I can do and opportunities for new roles/ advancement
  • Have a rewarding job but be challenged at the same time
  • Find part-time work in my chosen career by second semester
  • Help people live their best lives
  • Have fun in my job

Are you working in an organization that supports people with developmental disabilities and have related education (Personal Support Worker, Social Service Worker, etc.)? Contact us for more information about how your education and experience may reduce the time it takes to complete the Developmental Services Worker diploma.

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.

Minimum Admission Requirements

Students applying to Developmental Services Worker must meet the following requirements:

  • OSSD including Gr 12 C English

OSSD with majority of courses at College (C ) or Open (O) unless otherwise stated.
Grade 12 C courses will be accepted where Gr 11 C course requirements are listed.
Where College level courses are listed, U and M courses will be accepted.
Two Gr 11 courses will be accepted in lieu of a Gr 12 course requirement.

Mature Students

If you are 19 years of age or older before classes start, and you do not possess an OSSD, you can write the Canadian Adult Achievement Test to assess your eligibility for admission. Additional testing or academic upgrading may be necessary to meet specific course requirements for this program.

Transfer Agreements

You may be able to use credits obtained at Fleming College to continue your postsecondary education in pursuit of a degree. The articulation and credit transfer agreements with our partner institutions are summarized below.

Humber College

  • Minimum 65% cumulative average
  • Must possess ENG4U or equivalent with a grade of 65%;
Transfer Credit
  • 30 out of a 120 credit degree;
    Visit for further details

To apply please see the Ontario Colleges website.

For more information
  • Minimum 65% cumulative average
  • Must possess ENG4U or equivalent with a grade of 65%
Transfer Credit
  • 30 out of a 120 credit degree;
    Visit for further details

To apply please see the Ontario Colleges website.

For more information

Lakehead University

  • Minimum 70% cumulative average
  • Minimum 70% (or 'P') in field placements
Transfer Credit
  • 5 out of a 20 credit degree;
    Visit for further details

To apply please see the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC) website.

For more information

Laurentian University

  • Minimum 2.8 cumulative GPA
Transfer Credit
  • 42 out of a 90 credit degree;
    Visit for further details

To apply please see the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC) website.

For more information

Ryerson University

  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • The diploma must include a one-year introductory university-level humanities or social science course or equivalent
  • Two years (or equivalent) related work/advocacy experience. Applicants without this may be accepted, but must either complete DST 80A/B: Practicum in Disability Studies in the program or apply for exemption if achieved while in the program
Transfer Credit
  • Visit for details

To apply please see the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC) website.

For more information

University of Ontario Institute of Technology

  • Minimum mid-70% cumulative average
Transfer Credit
  • 60 out of a 120 credit degree;
    Visit for further details

To apply please see the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC) website.

For more information

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