Training for Direct Support Professionals

Our Direct Support Professionals are the heart of the WSC team, so we ensure they are offered ample training. We go well beyond compliance to cultivate an environment of learning and growth.

New Hire Orientation

Staff complete initial training in several areas:

  • The people we support – Intellectual disability overview, building relationships and community membership, positive behavior supports, Proactive Approaches to Behavioral Challenges, documentation skills
  • Rights of the individuals we support – Human rights, mandated reporting of abuse and neglect, confidentiality, and HIPAA
  • Human resources overview – Worker safety/OSHA, preventing sexual harassment and violence in the workplace, cultural diversity, union orientation
  • Health and safety – Fire safety, emergency procedures and COOP, infectious disease control, vital signs, nutrition, observing signs and symptoms of illness, defensive driver training, Red Cross CPR and First Aid, and Medication Administration Program.

A substantial portion of our orientation is available online, but several courses have a live component for skills or discussion.

Once staff have completed their general orientation, they advance to their assigned program site and complete job shadowing and training specific to the individuals they support.

Intellectual and Developmental Disability Credential

Once our staff gain some experience with our programs, they are offered the eleven-module “Intellectual and Developmental Disability Credential” from Providers’ eAcademy – known as “DSP” at Walnut Street Center! This curriculum is offered as a hybrid program, alternating the online modules from eAcademy with small-group discussions facilitated by WSC team members. Direct Support Professionals complete the program with an enhanced skill set, a broader network within the organization, and a nationally recognized credential in intellectual and developmental disabilities. DSP graduates also receive a salary incentive.

Our DSP credential is comprehensive, including modules on:

  • Human Services and Professionalism
  • Empowering Individuals
  • Communication
  • Assessment and Behavior
  • Community Supports and Service Networking
  • Supporting Skill Development
  • Advocacy
  • Vocational, Educational and Career Support
  • Crisis Prevention and Intervention
  • Documentation
  • Health and Safety

Our staff have many ongoing training opportunities – both review of earlier learning, and new topics that match program needs or professional goals. For more information about our employees’ learning and development, please contact Suzanne Henderson, Director of Quality and Training: hendersons@wscinc.org; 617.629.3552.