Developmental Services Worker

Developmental Services Worker (2016-2017)

How to Apply

Program Code



Program Length

Four semesters, beginning in September



Contact Information

Jo Anne Nugent, program co-ordinator
416.675.6622 ext. 3257


The 2015/2016 fee for two semesters was
– domestic $3,740.82
– international $14,200.
Amounts listed were the total of tuition, lab and material fees, student service and auxiliary fees for the first two semesters of the 2015/2016 academic year. Fees are subject to change.

$800 – textbooks (over four semesters); costs vary for transportation for field placement, field trips and crisis intervention training.


Start DatesAvailability
2015 SeptemberClosed
2016 SeptemberOpen

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admission, you must possess the following:
• Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent including these required courses:
– Grade 12 English (ENG4C or ENG4U or equivalent)
– Three Grade 11 or Grade 12 C, M or U courses in addition to those listed above
• Mature student status
• College or university transfer status

All applicants whose first language is not English must meet Humber’s English Language Proficiency Policy.

Selection Includes Secondary Requirements: Admission selection is based on the academic criteria indicated and the result of the evaluation of additional secondary requirements. Secondary requirements may include a portfolio, audition, letter of intent, references, etc., and vary by program.

Additional Requirements

Note: The following additional requirements are not program admission requirements. However, they will be required when applying to prospective placements during the program.

The following requirements must be completed before field placement can begin:
• Medical Certificate of Health
• Valid Standard First Aid with CPR-C and Automated External Defibrillator (AED)(C)
• Employers who provide field placement opportunities require students to undergo a police record check for criminal offences. It is important for potential students to understand that the requirements noted above are beyond the control of Humber and may prevent students from completing the full program, including the field placement component, and/or securing employment. Applicants are advised to check the requirements for specific positions in which they are interested before enrolling in this program.

Note: A police record check will be requested during your program of study. In respect of the 90-day limit on the validity of record checks and the type of checks required by various agencies, please do not attain a police record check prior to being accepted to the program. Faculty will support students upon arrival to the program to ensure they apply for the correct type of police documentation at the appropriate time.

Our Program

Humber’s Developmental Services Worker (DSW) diploma program teaches you skills to effectively promote the physical, mental and emotional health of individuals with special needs.

Our faculty team consists of developmental services experts who are active in the field, and our small class sizes allow for individualized attention. Our curriculum is designed with input from developmental services field experts, ensuring courses are current and relevant.

Your studies begin by learning the stages of human development, the types of developmental disabilities and the range of available community support services for this population. Next, you’ll learn intervention techniques, person-centered planning, abnormal psychology/dual diagnosis, basic pharmacology, supporting people with autism, augmentative forms of communication and effective responses to people who have been abused. Finally, you’ll develop skills in building interpersonal relationships and counselling.

You’ll also build your expertise in our counselling labs, which provide an ideal setting to develop abilities in working with individuals with limited verbal skills. Extensive work placements also give you valuable practical experience in communicating with clients in sign language, safely administering medications, creating effective behavioural programming, assisting individuals with physical disabilities, and helping those with special needs to integrate into the community.

Note: Optional information sessions may be held throughout the year for applicants who wish to learn more about this program. For dates, call 416.675.6622 ext. 3484.

List of Courses

Your Career

• Allows you to help people who have disabilities live, work and participate in their communities
• Allows you to support people with intellectual disabilities, autism, physical challenges or other special needs
• Will find you assisting people in a variety of roles:
– community support worker
– educational/teaching assistant in a school
– classroom assistant in a daycare centre
– counsellor in a seniors’ program
– residential counsellor.
Build a rewarding career in this field, with a deep understanding of developmental disabilities, skills in behavioural interventions and a desire to help others.

Note: The learning outcomes of the Humber Educational Assistant Certificate program have been incorporated into the Developmental Services Worker program in recognition of the increasing role developmental services workers play in promoting learning, not only as educational assistants, but also as community agency and family workers.

Professional Accreditation, Endorsement and Recognition

This diploma is the one most frequently recognized by employers as qualifying individuals to work with people of all ages who have disabilities such as autism, intellectual handicaps, physical disabilities and dual diagnosis. Graduates may apply to become members of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities (OADD) – visit and its Developmental Services Special Interest Group (DSSIG).

Our Industry Partnerships

Our program has partnerships with an extensive list of agencies that have provided input on the curriculum and provided placement and/or employment opportunities for students/graduates.

Some of the partners include the following: Bloorview MacMillan Centre, Brampton Caledon Community Living, Central West Specialized Developmental Services, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Community Living Toronto, Peel District School Board, Reena, Rumball Centre for the Deaf, Safehaven Project for Community Living, The Salvation Army Broadview Village, Toronto Catholic District School Board, and Toronto District School Board.

Our advisory committee is comprised of people with extensive experience in the developmental services work profession, representing a variety of settings where developmental services workers are employed. Many are also members of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities (OADD).

Work Placement

Our program offers a rich diversity of innovative and traditional work practice/field placement opportunities. You’ll complete approximately 800 hours of field practice over three placements. Placements are in and around the Greater Toronto Area and can also be arranged in your community.

After consulting with you regarding your interests and preferences, the school will refer you to specific agencies for these unpaid work placements.

The first three-week placement takes place in the fall semester of year one. The second three-week placement occurs in the winter semester of year one. The third placement takes place during the winter semester of year two, for four days per week for 14 weeks.

Alternative Course of Study

Humber also offers the Developmental Services Worker – Accelerated diploma program 10401 and the Developmental Services Worker Apprenticeship certificate program 06411.

The Developmental Services Worker diploma program is also offered on a part-time basis, in the evening, on weekends and online.

The entire curriculum is offered within a three-year timespan, with intakes in the fall, winter and summer semesters. Students have the opportunity to design an educational schedule that meets their needs and suits their lifestyle by having input into the number of courses they take each semester, having the ability to take some time off, and having considerable flexibility with respect to the order in which courses are taken.


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