Crime and Inclusion – People with Disabilities Deserve the Opportunity to Live Independently in the Community with Their Peers.

In an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the state director of The Arc Wisconsin addressed the brutal attack on a Chicago teenager with disabilities and urged that it not be used to make the case against community inclusion. Her comments were in response to a commentary that proffered the logic that the horrific incident… Read more

Category: Mental Health

DirectCourse and Institute for Community Inclusion Celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month

In October, disability advocates and allies across the U.S. celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, supported by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). DirectCourse and the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston are proud to participate in and honor employment opportunities for people with disabilities. This October, the DOL has… Read more

Category: Employment

Equity, Equality, and Inclusion

In her recent novel, “small great things,” author Jodi Picoult addressed the difference between equality and equity. As one of the author’s character explained it: “Equality is treating everyone the same. But equity is taking differences into account, so everyone has a chance to succeed.” She goes on to say that the former seems fair,… Read more

Bullying Prevention: Teaching Our Youth To Embrace Their Differences

October was anti-bullying month, so naturally we at DirectCourse thought this would be a good time to talk about this issue, and how it may affect people with disabilities. Research suggests that children with physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional, and sensory disabilities are more likely to be bullied than their peers. According to a study conducted… Read more

Why it’s Important to help Seniors Avoid Isolation

As we grow older, the tendency to rely only on ourselves is not unusual; however, doing so to the point of isolation can be detrimental to our health, especially when it comes to senior citizens. While relying on the help of family can become wearisome, it can also cause seniors to feel like a burden… Read more

Admin Corner – September 2016

EPM Redesigned Home Page Coming Soon! As part of the ongoing improvement of our products, we are pleased to announce that we will soon launch a new homepage for Elsevier Performance Manager. Key Benefits & Features This homepage will make it easier for learners to find their assignments, view organization announcements, locate their transcript, and… Read more

Category: Admin Corner

There’s No Love Like a Dogs Love

  There’s no love like a dogs love. As man’s best friend, dogs have that unique gift to make you feel loved and cherished. They also, as researchers say, have that distinctive ability to lower stress levels, which can be extremely beneficial especially when it comes to children on the autism spectrum as well as… Read more

Category: I/DD

The 26th Anniversary of the ADA: Progress and Lingering Obstacles

Last month marked the 26th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by President H.W. Bush in 1990. A law that ensured that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else; giving civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the… Read more

More than a wheelchair; Emojis to better represent people with disablilties

Every day, billions of emojis are sent back and forth on social media applications and have come to play a quite significant role in the world of text communication. There has been quite a bit of initiative to make emojis more diverse, to depict people with different skin tones and same sex couples and so on; however,… Read more

Why Hiring Those on the Spectrum is Good for Your Company

According to Disability Scoop, an estimated 50,000 students with autism graduate from high school each year, entering into the scary realm of adulthood. However, now that they are adults and no longer children, they enter into a world where they may not have access to the support systems they were given in childhood. Thus, more… Read more

Category: Employment, I/DD

Admin Corner – July 2016

College of Direct Support Updates Several media have been updated to current courses. Some of these include: Cerebral Palsy Depression Diabetes Supporting Healthy Lives …and others Resource Center Reminder: The Elsevier Resource Center is where you can find the latest product enhancements and admin updates on DirectCourse and Elsevier Performance Manager. Access this from within your DirectCourse… Read more

Category: Admin Corner

Press Release: College of Direct Support Expands National Advisory Board Focus to Improve DirectCourse Educational Training and Funding Opportunities

Diverse board represents broad variety of provider agency, research and quality entities Philadelphia, PA, June 2, 2016 – Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, in collaboration with the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) at the University of Minnesota, have announced an expanded national advisory board… Read more

Category: Admin Corner

Smoothing the way for better pay for Ohio’s home-care workforce

Low wages are a challenge that’s all too familiar for the nation’s direct support workforce, and in Ohio in particular, it’s a problem that is not being overlooked. According to a recent article on Cleveland.com, home-care workers in Ohio are pressing for an increase in wages to $15 an hour. According to the article, until… Read more

Category: All, Employment

No Woman Left Behind

According to UN Women, approximately 10% of the world’s population lives with a disability (about 650 million people) and those with disabilities are often among the most marginalized group in society. However, a man with a disability is almost twice as likely to find a job than women with a disability. Women in general, even… Read more

Press Release: DirectCourse Launches Person-Centered Counseling Training Program Pilot for the No Wrong Door (NWD) System through the Administration for Community Living (ACL)

‘No Wrong Door’ system offers better way to navigate access to long-term services and support Philadelphia, PA, June 6, 2016 – Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, in collaboration with the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Community Integration,… Read more

Category: Admin Corner

North Carolina MCOs Announce Workforce Development Collaborative

New initiative designed to boost quality of care, improve patient outcomes Three North Carolina specialty Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) have come together to launch a one-of-a-kind workforce development initiative that will provide cutting-edge training resources to their network providers. Through this collaborative effort between Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, Smoky Mountain LME/MCO and Trillium Health Resources,… Read more

Fellowship Prepares Young Adults with Autism for Careers

An innovative fellowship in Massachusetts is helping parents, employers, and state legislators to support and empower people with autism. Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC), a legal advocacy organization, created the Young Adult Leaders Fellowship, which helps young adults with autism prepare for work, gain new skills, and perhaps most importantly, learn to advocate for themselves… Read more

Category: Employment

2015 International Day of Older Persons Explores Need for Inclusiveness

In 1990, the United Nations General Assembly declared that October 1st would be designated “International Day of Older Persons.” In an attempt to meet the guiding principle of “Leaving No-One Behind”, this day is seen as an opportunity to explore the numerous issues that face older persons throughout the world. As the population of people… Read more

Wildfires Highlight Need for Emergency Preparedness Among People with Disabilities and Older Adults

Tragedy struck this September in rural Lake County, California, when wildfires tore through neighborhoods, destroying property and taking lives. In this community, where nearly 20% of the residents are over 65, three older persons were killed when their mobility issues kept them from evacuating to safety. According to articles in the Los Angelels Times, the… Read more

Unlock Philly App Helps People with Disabilities Navigate the Big City

When visiting major cities, mobility in public space is often an issue for people with disabilities. Are there working elevators or lifts in the subways and buses? Especially in East Coast cities, which often feature businesses located in very old buildings, things like steps into a favorite restaurant, narrow and uneven sidewalks, and other impediments… Read more

CES Approved for ACRE Certification

After a rigorous review process that took nearly a year, The Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE) has approved the DirectCourse College of Employment Services (CES) curriculum as an integral part of their training process for employment professionals. The ACRE certification process allows employment professionals to document their accomplishments and education, develop professionally,, and help… Read more

Category: Employment

Admin Corner – Nov/Dec 2015

NEW Courses Now Available! We have released two new courses, one in College of Employment Services and the other in College of Recovery and Community Inclusion. Customers of the applicable content areas will automatically receive the new content, and free demo’s of the content are available to anyone interested (contact us here for details). College… Read more

Admin Corner – Sept/Oct 2015

Upcoming Therap Conferences Therap Services, LLC. is a web-based service organization that provides an integrated solution for documentation, reporting and communication needs of agencies providing support to people with developmental disabilities. We will be leading sessions about Improving Implementation, Meeting Compliance and Regulations, Using the Therap Bridge, and more at these upcoming Therap conferences. We… Read more

Community Inclusion is Changing the Field of Psychiatric Rehabilitation

The community mental health field has a long history of trying to meet the needs of people with serious mental health conditions and in trying to help them become active members of their community, whether it’s helping them find jobs, get educated, or the myriad ways in which we all try to have a personally… Read more

Category: Mental Health

Employment Specialists Can Create Social Change

As the nation celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its many successes, it’s a good time to examine how far we’ve come as a nation in ensuring the civil rights of people with disabilities. One of the foundations of any civil rights movement is the right to employment. Employment professionals–also called employment support… Read more

Category: Employment

Arc of Minnesota Provides DirectCourse Training to Families for Free

This past February, The Arc of Minnesota partnered with the University of Minnesota and DirectCourse to make four online curricula available to Minnesota families and people with disabilities absolutely free. The Arc of Minnesota is a private, non-profit statewide voluntary organization that provides advocacy work and education that will further the efforts of inclusion and integration for people… Read more

CPAC’s Alice Wong visits the President via Robot

As part of the ongoing recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA), a reception was held at the White House this past July. Among the guests was Alice Wong, MS, a Staff Research Associate at the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco, who has helped shape much of… Read more

“The First One” NADSP Conference A Resounding Success

This past May, the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) held its first Annual Meeting & Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Titled “The First One”, in anticipation of many such conferences for years to come, this inaugural conference, which was held in conjunction with the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), provided an… Read more

Category: I/DD

Google Impact Challenge Seeks to Make Technology More Accessible for Everyone

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, over one billion people on Earth have some form of disability. If you have a disability, know or work with someone with a disability, the reality you face every day is one of limited accessibility and opportunity. And sometimes, barriers for people with disabilities exist simply due… Read more

New Book Encourages Entrepreneurship for People with Disabilities

In today’s challenging job market, finding opportunities for people with disabilities often seems like an uphill battle. However, job professionals may want to consider another option when helping the person they support find meaningful work—starting their own business. Rayna Verbeck, MBA, is the author of three books, most recently (with co-author Wheeler del Torro) Creating… Read more

Category: Employment

DSP of the Year Uses Technology to Improve Lives

In this age of smartphones, tablets, and apps that can help a person do virtually everything, direct support professionals (DSPs) are also discovering that modern technology is helping them better serve people with disabilities. One DSP, Alex Andrews, of Imagine! of Lafayette, Colorado, who, in his fifteen years with the organization, has created various applications,… Read more

Category: I/DD

Celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act on its 25th Anniversary!

On July 26, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will turn 25 years old. One of the most groundbreaking and influential pieces of legislation in the history of this country, the ADA has helped change the lives of Americans, young and old, across various races, people with disabilities and people without disabilities. Virtually everyone working… Read more

There’s Great Careers in Rehabilitation Counseling

If you’re an employment professional seeking new opportunities, one of the fastest growing and most rewarding fields is in rehabilitation counseling. Even more intriguing, rehab counseling is one area where employment professionals can get certified and find fulfilling work almost immediately. Recently, the Masters program in Rehabilitation Counseling at the School for Global Inclusion and… Read more

Category: Employment

Higher Education Should be for Everyone

As more and more state governments work to build the necessary infrastructure to help make post-secondary education available to people with disabilities, employment professionals should be abreast with all the emerging opportunities available to the people they support. One such resource is Think College (ThinkCollege.org), a resource with a strong, convenient online presence that helps… Read more

Category: Employment

Task Force Seeks to Curb Unemployment for People with Disabilities

As an employment professional, you know the challenges that face people with disabilities when finding employment. With unemployment rates typically in the double-digits, and with accessibility and discrimination set as two of the many barriers facing people with disabilities, work can sometimes feel impossible to find. This past March, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive… Read more

Category: Employment

A Strong Community Can Help People Living and Working with a Disability

For the last decade, Jonathan Keleher has been coming to work every morning at 9:00 on the train, settling in and going about his day as a receptionist and administrative assistant at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts-Boston (ICI). What makes Mr. Keleher’s day unique, however, is that he was born… Read more

Category: Employment

Transition Specialists Help Students Enter the Workplace

For students with disabilities, leaving high school can be fraught with challenges. Like most teenagers, they seek to find their way in a complex world, trying to navigate college, employment, or a new place to live. Massachusetts is trying to make this leap into adulthood less daunting with a new transition certification for special education… Read more

Category: Employment

A review of our conversation at #NatCon15!

We had a great time at the National Council of Behavioral Health Conference this year (see the photos below for proof!). Thank you to everyone who joined our conversation about the importance of community inclusion for people with mental health conditions. Here’s what you had to say in response to our polls!     Check… Read more

Category: Mental Health

DirectCourse Webinar Examines Direct Service Workforce Core Competencies

As the need for direct service workers (DSW) increases nationwide, ensuring that they provide quality support is of paramount importance. However, for DSWs, pay has stagnated and turnover is high, often resulting in a lack of quality care. Because of this and other issues, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS) sponsored the creation… Read more

Category: I/DD

Massachusetts Blueprint for Success Increases Employment Options

Almost two years ago, the Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it was no longer going to support reimbursement for sheltered work services–settings such as workshops where all employees have developmental disabilities. Instead, CMS stated its support for integrated employment for people with disabilities. To make the transition from segregated work to competitive employment… Read more

Category: Employment

Forthcoming CRCI Course Will Help Behavioral Health Workers Identify Trauma and Work within a Trauma Informed Approach

This summer, DirectCourse: College of Recovery and Community Inclusion (CRCI) will launch a new course on the basics of understanding trauma. The course, Trauma Matters: Providing Trauma Informed Supports and Services, will consist of twelve lessons, and help learners understand trauma, its impacts and prevalence, and trauma-informed care. Karen Johnson is Director of Trauma-Informed Services… Read more

Category: Mental Health

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Still Needs Senate Approval

In a process that has taken over three decades, the United Nations has created the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international human rights treaty that protects the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. The CRPD continues to be ratified by countries around the globe—over 151 thus far. According to… Read more

Category: Employment

Judge Strikes Down Home Health Care Rule

In a controversial decision, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon struck down a rule by the Department of Labor that would have meant that home care workers, primarily supporting older adults, would be given at least minimum wage and overtime pay. A loophole in the 1974 expansion of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), in which… Read more

Minnesota Utilizes College of Direct Support for Statewide DSP Training

Last year, the State of Minnesota entered a contract with DirectCourse to make the College of Direct Support curriculum available to all county, tribal and Department of Human Services staff for training purposes. In doing so, the State has also made this valuable training tool available to providers as well—organizations who serve less than ten… Read more

Category: I/DD

New Crosswalks, CDS featured in NASDDDS Newsletter, and more!

March/April 2015 Connections Admin Corner The College of Direct Support was featured in the January 2015 issue of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) Newsletter for exciting findings from the UMN Research and Training Center on Community Living  – click here to view! The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) funded… Read more

CMS Regulatory Requirements for Home and Community Based Settings

DirectCourse Crosswalks to the HCBS Regulatory Requirements: College of Direct Support College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving   The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is engaged in an ongoing effort to improve quality management expectations for providers of Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). As part of this effort they have released new… Read more

Category: I/DD

2014 Year in Review

As we start the New Year, the DirectCourse team has been reflecting upon a successful 2014, surrounded by friends, old and new. We invite you to share in our reflection – check out this video we made! Happy New Year!

Recent Webinar Examines Methods to Support County-Level Change in the Mental Health Workforce

Mental Health Workforce Development in 2015 and Beyond Strategies to Support Change for County Level Administrators from Elsevier Clinical Solutions on Vimeo.   This past December, DirectCourse/College of Recovery and Community Inclusion (CRCI) hosted an important webinar that examined the need for expanded and improved training for personnel in non-licensed and/or entry-level positions in the… Read more

Category: Mental Health

Preventing Falls May Save a Life

Everybody takes a spill now and then, whether tripping on a carpet or slipping on an icy sidewalk, there are limitless ways we can fall. Stumbling now and then is a part of life, but for people with physical disabilities or older adults, tripping and falling could result in serious physical injury and even death.… Read more

Hiring People with Disabilities Can Be a Winning Corporate Strategy

For many years now, corporations have been devising hiring strategies to attract and retain more minorities in their workforce. However, too often corporations don’t look at hiring people with disabilities as a way to enhance diversity. However, as an employment specialist, familiarizing yourself with a corporation’s diversity strategy can actually help the person you support… Read more

Category: Employment

Forthcoming Webinar Examines Direct Service Workforce Core Competencies

Register Today! Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS) sponsored the creation of the Road Map for Core Competencies for the Direct Service Workforce (DSW), which is to be implemented through the National Direct Service Workforce Resource Center. Created in partnership with dozens of stakeholder organizations, the Road Map is intended to foster… Read more

Category: I/DD

Recreational Therapy May Reduce Dependence on Antipsychotic Medication

Responding to a 2011 report by the Office of the Inspector General which revealed that nursing homes across the country were using atypical antipsychotic medications to treat residents with dementia, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care. Using these atypical antipsychotic medications for “off label” uses (e.g., they… Read more

Category: Mental Health

New CPAC Dementia Care Course Arrives This December

Ever since the DirectCourse/College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving (CPAC) launched in the fall of 2012, the Elsevier sales and marketing force has heard requests from clients and potential purchasers for a course on Dementia Care. After nearly  a year and a half of development, the new Dementia Care course will launch this December, the newest… Read more

Project SEARCH Helps Teens Find Meaningful Work

Finding work is one of the most challenging goals a person will face in their lifetime—not just landing a job, but one that is challenging and edifying. People with disabilities face an even more daunting task, as finding a job—any job—is often seen as an end in itself, without thought to whether or not it… Read more

Category: Employment

ABLE Legislation May Help Pave the Road to Self-Sufficiency

In September, a bipartisan group of four U.S. senators announced that the groundwork had been laid for the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act to become a reality. The bill, S.313 and H.R.647, seeks to “encourage and assist individuals and families in saving private funds for the purpose of supporting individuals with disabilities.” Senators… Read more

Category: Employment

New Jersey Utilizes CDS for Pre-Service Medical Training

As internet technology improves day-by-day, federal and state agencies are beginning to embrace online learning to streamline and improve training. This past July, the State of New Jersey decided to allow agencies to utilize the DirectCourse/College of Direct Support (CDS) online medication curriculum as a part of meeting their pre-service medication training requirements for direct… Read more

Category: I/DD

Focusing on the Whole Individual is One Key to Long-Term Health

According to recent statistics cited by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), persons with mental health issues and substance abuse disorders often die many years earlier than the average person—from fifteen to twenty-five on up to thirty-plus years earlier in some states. Chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease… Read more

Category: Mental Health

Are You Prepared for Dangerous Weather Conditions?

Most home care providers understand that being adequately trained and prepared for an emergency is important. Though when we often think of hazardous weather, we may tend to imagine blizzards and hurricanes, those moments that not only get the most coverage in the media, but whose epic scope seems to lend itself to training. While… Read more

RAND Report on Dementia Reveals Need for Trained Professionals

As the Baby Boomer population ages and life expectancy increases, the number of individuals aged 70 and older that will be living with dementia is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. A recent report by the RAND Corporation supports this – over 88 million Americans in that age group will live with dementia… Read more

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Heralds New Opportunities

On July 22, President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act and Rehabilitation Act. For over a decade, Congress has been debating this reauthorization, which is now effective through 2020. The President stated that the WIOA “will help workers, including workers with disabilities, access… Read more

Category: Employment

Tips to Help Employment Professionals Support Veterans with Disabilities

Veterans returning from military service with disabilities often face an uphill battle when seeking employment. But as an employment specialist, you can prepare yourself to help veterans find satisfying work. Lisa Stern is a consultant who has worked with private and government organizations throughout the United States, and is the author of the Disabled Veterans… Read more

Category: Employment

NEW! Why Working in the Community is Essential

A presentation from the ICI at UMass Boston. Anya Weber shares a 7 minute presentation about why working in the community is essential for people with disabilities – and how employment professionals can help make it happen! View the presentation!

Category: Employment

Showing Employees Their Earnings Helps Motivate Them

It goes without saying that no matter how much you enjoy your job, being paid is a primary motivator for work. Too often, supported employees who do not manage their money are not included in this very simple premise. Without the appeal of a paycheck, or the simple understanding of what money actually does, these… Read more

Category: Employment

Using Business Models Can Help People Find the Perfect Job

We all know that having a good job has a profound effect on people’s lives. However, job coaches and employment specialists can sometimes focus on getting a person hired – and not spend enough time on the needs of the business doing the hiring—when trying to find the perfect match. Often times, failing to connect… Read more

Category: Employment

Elsevier’s PolicyNavigator Streamlines Training

This July, Elsevier launched PolicyNavigator, an efficient and flexible management tool that pairs perfectly with Elsevier Performance Manager – the platform on which most DirectCourse users access their content.  PolicyNavigator can further productivity by making it easier for organizations to train and communicate with employees. With PolicyNavigator, documents of all kinds are available instantly. Too… Read more

Admin. Corner: New courses, sunset courses, and an exclusive webinar with Nancy Thaler!

Did you miss our webinar with Nancy Thaler?  Don’t worry – we recorded it. Check it out here: “Future Needs of Caregivers in the Home” with Nancy Thaler, Executive Director of NASDDDS In case you missed it – we’ve added several new courses this year!  Click on the titles below to learn more about each one.… Read more

2014 Moving Mountains Award Recognizes Excellence in the Direct Support Workplace

Since 2002, the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals and the Research & Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota have been bestowing the Moving Mountains Award on outstanding organizations that utilize “best practice in direct support staff workforce development that results in improved outcomes for the people being supported.” This year’s… Read more

Category: I/DD

Helping Parents Navigate Supported Employment

Transitioning from high school and into the workplace is always a challenge. But for people with disabilities and their parents, finding work can often be even more complex. Luckily, a variety of resources and tools can help parents navigate this often confusing path. Barb Ziemke is a parent advocate and trainer and project coordinator at… Read more

Category: Employment

Work Autonomy App Helps Employees Take Charge

As an employment specialist, you work hard to try and get the person you support into a job, keep the job, and enjoy the work with as much independence as possible. A lack of strong accommodation can slow this process.  Often, this is a lot for anyone to juggle. Jennifer White is the Director and… Read more

Category: Employment

Community Living Fast Becoming a Reality for Medicaid Subscribers

This past January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a press release detailing important news for seniors and people with disabilities. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule that guarantees that people utilizing Medicaid’s home and community-based service programs are given full access to community living,… Read more

Category: I/DD

Exercise and Movement are Key Components to Healthy Aging

One of the many challenges facing older people is the continuing need to stay active. Not only do many adults find themselves becoming increasingly sedentary after retirement, but a myriad of other issues contribute to people becoming increasingly less mobile. A recent article on the National Public Radio website details the concerns experts face regarding… Read more

Communication is Key to Helping People Thrive in Employment

Communication is perhaps the most important element in a person’s life, not to mention in their workplace. Try to imagine being unable to communicate even your most basic needs, much less the things you need to get your job done. But for some people in supported employment who are non-linguistic, the usual methods of communication… Read more

Category: Employment

New DirectCourse Webinar Focuses on Future Needs of Caregivers in the Home

DirectCourse is proud to present the recording of its latest webinar, Future Needs of Caregivers in the Home, presented by Nancy Thaler, Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDS). According to recent studies noted in the webinar, almost 40% of all adult Americans are caring for someone disabled… Read more

New Jersey Career Path for DSPs Showing Signs of Success

In 2009, the New Jersey Direct Support Professional Workforce Development Coalition created the New Jersey Career Path for DSP’s, in order to help increase the skills of direct support professionals (DSPs) and provide opportunities for them to earn more money. The Career Path is a voluntary training program for DSPs, utilizing various educational and professional… Read more

Category: I/DD

New DirectCourse Video!

Thank you to all participants in the making of our new video, which is now posted on our website: www.directcourseonline.com Ben Woodworth, Director of Training, Iowa Association of Community Providers Megan Hartwig, Technical Assistance Specialist, Iowa Association of Community Providers Judith Dotzman, Executive Director, SPIN Lucy Corker, Director, Professional Development, SPIN Erica Lowry, Direct Support Professional, SPIN Taryn Garvin, Direct Support Professional, SPIN… Read more

After 12 Years, CDS is a Proven Success in Pennsylvania

For over a dozen years, Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has been providing self-advocates, families and direct support staff with access to the DirectCourse/College of Direct Support (CDS) curriculum. Eager to implement a tool that would train DSPs across the state, ODP found CDS’s flexibility, affordability, and content the perfect… Read more

Category: I/DD

New! DirectCourse Admin. Training

We are proud to announce that Elsevier’s Customer Support Team is providing training directed to clients using DirectCourse products on a bi-monthly basis, as of this April! Please check your inbox for a list of upcoming sessions that we’ve designed to ensure you are getting the most from our learning management system delivering the content… Read more

The “Dual-Customer” Approach is Changing Vocational Rehabilitation

Traditionally, vocational rehabilitation (VR), including job development, focused almost exclusively on serving the client with disabilities. VR counselors would assess the individual’s needs, offer training, and help the person find a job. Lately, however, there has a been greater focus on including the needs of the business community in the VR focus. In recent years,… Read more

Category: Employment

Individual Placement and Support Means Better Jobs and Happier Clients

A person seeking vocational rehabilitation (VR) services often has to go through a lengthy process before finding work—assessments, evaluations, and tests to ensure readiness. The VR specialist often works with people who face significant barriers to employment, and they want to make sure that the person can succeed on the job, a process that often… Read more

Category: Mental Health

Safety at Work: Information for Home Care Providers

In this brief presentation, Mel Nerri, Research Associate at the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, shares tips for Safety at Work for Home Care Providers. Click here to view!

Data on Caregivers Reflects Growing Need for Training

According to recent data reported from the National Center on Caregiving, the numbers of individuals caring for people who are disabled, ill, or aged is in excess of 65 million. The article defines an informal caregiver as someone who “is an unpaid individual (a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor) involved in assisting others… Read more

Certified Peer Specialists are Changing the Face of the Mental Health System

As the nation’s mental health system undergoes enormous changes, from transition to a recovery and community inclusion model, to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (to name just a few), the use of Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) has become commonplace. “A CPS is a person who has experienced a mental health or substance abuse… Read more

Category: Mental Health

DirectCourse – Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions – we have answers! Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive, as well as our responses. How are your curricula developed? Will your curriculum help me meet my state standards? Do I receive a certificate upon completion of each lesson? I want to incorporate my current training… Read more

Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies Embracing Job Development Role

Vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies help people with disabilities to find good jobs. When these agencies were first created, their staff were expected to handle every aspect of this process. However, over time, job development—working closely with job seekers and employers to create strong job matches—began to fall off their menu of services. Now the pendulum… Read more

Category: Employment

Can Social Media Help You Find the Right Job?

Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. As these and other social media websites become more and more essential for the job search, employment professionals must be aware of the benefits—and the challenges—of these intriguing new online platforms. “I tend to think of social media as another tool in the toolbox, but not radically different from the methods we’re… Read more

Category: Employment

Adults with Autism Thrive in Employment

A recent study by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center at Vanderbilt University has shown that adults with autism benefit greatly from having employment. The study included 153 adults, ages 19 to 53, with autism spectrum disorder. The study, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, found that people who held jobs saw significant improvement… Read more

Category: Employment

New CES Course Addresses Employment Opportunities for People with Mental Health Issues

As an employment specialist, you’re charged with finding the best possible job for the person you support. But often, people have co-occurring issues, including mental health issues, that can make finding and keeping a good job that much more difficult.

Category: Employment

Federal Government: Contractors Must Hire People with Disabilities

After months of concerted effort on the part of disability advocates, on August 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a Final Rule that changed the regulations of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This prohibits federal contractors (and subcontractors) from discriminating against employees with disabilities. Though this rule has been in… Read more

Category: Employment

Self-Directed Care: Empowering People

For over a decade, mental health advocates have been arguing for the adoption of self-directed care for individuals using Medicare and Medicaid services. Furthermore, in 2003, President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health issued a report urging people (and their families) play a much larger role in utilizing their health care dollars.

Category: Mental Health

Informational Interviewing: Your Secret Weapon in the Job Search

If you enjoyed our post about informational interviews (or if you missed it!), please be sure to view this 5 minute presentation from Anya Weber, Copywriter and Editor at the Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts, Boston.  She walks through the concept, including examples, tips for getting started, and more!

Category: Employment

Winter Often Means Additional Challenges for People with Disabilities

Around the United States, this winter has delivered some record snowfalls, but even a light snow can be troublesome for people with disabilities. When winter approaches, it is important that you help the person you work with prepare for average winter weather, as well as the occasional storm.

Tips for Connecting with Employers

Though the economy is improving, finding a job is often challenging. One of the first steps toward securing a rewarding job for the people you support involves connecting with the people who create those jobs. Suzy Hutcheson is the president and CEO of Helping People Succeed, Foundation Inc. of Stuart, Florida. She is an expert… Read more

Category: Employment

Moving Mountains Award Nominations Are Due by the End of February!

Large or small, organizations that help improve workforce outcomes for direct support professionals (DSPs) and their employers are being sought for possible nomination for the 2014 Moving Mountains Award. The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) and the Research and Training Center (RTC) at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration have been… Read more

Category: I/DD

CPAC Curriculum Ideal for Direct Care Alliance Credentialing

Ever since its inception in the summer of 2012, the DirectCourse/College of Personal Assistance & Caregiving (CPAC) curriculum was created to educate the home care aides, personal care attendants and personal assistants that provide services for older adults and persons with physical disabilities living in long-term home and community based environments. Created by the Center… Read more

Skill and Trust Improve Long-Term Care

A recent study by LifePlans, Inc., an organization dedicated to helping long-term care insurers, plans and providers, examined individuals receiving such care, to help determine the most effective ways to deliver support that satisfies them. The study, whose results were examined in a recent article on the Huffington Post, showed that caregiver performance and trust… Read more

NPR Story Shows Family Strength

When 21-year-old Army Sgt. Erik Schei was about to deploy to Iraq, he told his father that “if anything happened” to him, “pull the plug.” As with many people heading off to war, Schei was concerned, and the young man was not interested in living life in a vegetative state. Sadly, in October 2005, during… Read more

The State of Mental Health Has Improved But Still Faces Challenges

The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 (ADA) and the Olmstead Decision in 1999 established community integration as a right of people with psychiatric disabilities.  Since then, greater attention has been paid to the facilitating the ability of people with psychiatric disabilities to fully engage in meaningful activities in their communities. However,… Read more

Category: Mental Health

New CPAC Course Helps You Through an Emergency, Anytime and Anywhere

When trouble strikes, everyone is at a disadvantage. And with “superstorms” a year-by-year occurrence, being prepared is more important than ever. For the people you work for, the difference between safety and danger—or perhaps even life and death—may depend upon your ability to respond, calmly and capably. The College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving (CPAC)… Read more

Social Security Administration to Replace “Mental Retardation” with “Intellectual Disability”

In a process that began in January 2013, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began eliminating the term “mental retardation” and replacing it with “intellectual disabilities” in its listing of impairments and official rules, regulations and other documents. The new rule was published on the first of August, and went into effect at the end of… Read more

Category: Employment

Real Work Stories Inspire Job Creation Success

Finding a good job is never easy. For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), this journey may seem even more daunting—both for them, and the employment professionals who support them. The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston has created a website called Real Work Stories that highlights numerous stories… Read more

Category: Employment

CDS Congratulates DSP of the Year

Each year, the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed (NADD) bestows its Direct Support Professional (DSP) Award for Excellence on an individual “whose dedication, advocacy, compassion, competence, person-centered approaches and collaboration results in improved quality of life, health, and wellness, and/or opportunities for person(s) with intellectual disabilities or mental health needs.” This year, April El,… Read more

Category: I/DD

Research Shows Benefits of Training Include Decreased Turnover Among DSPs

At a recent Leadership Summit sponsored by the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), researchers from the Institute of Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Minnesota presented their findings from a five-year study to evaluate the effectiveness of comprehensive competency based training intervention that utilized the DirectCourse/College of Direct Support (CDS). The… Read more

Category: I/DD

Employment Expert Takes the Mystery out of Informational Interviews

When you’re supporting a job seeker to find employment, one of the first steps is to learn about the field he or she is interested in. Informational interviews are a great way to do this. These interviews can help your client find a job, and can even help make you a better employment specialist. “A… Read more

Category: Employment

Social Security/SSI Benefits To Increase in 2014

Thanks to cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase in 2014. COLA is engaged when inflation rises, to help cover the rise in the cost-of-living. Beginning in January, benefits will rise just over 1.5% over last year’s benefits. According to an article in DisabilityScoop.com, an online magazine dedicated to… Read more

Category: I/DD

New Savings Calculator Helps Set Training Budget

Whether the economy’s soaring or times are tough, organizations are always seeking ways to cut costs and stretch their budgets whenever, and wherever, possible. With this in mind, DirectCourse has created a “Savings Calculator”, designed to allow potential clients of any of the DirectCourse curricula to determine how much money they will save using our… Read more

College of Recovery and Community Inclusion Launches this October

The College of Recovery and Community Inclusion (CRCI) will be launched on October 14, bringing to community mental health practitioners a new web-based curriculum. Developed in collaboration between the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities, and the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center on Community Living, the CRCI is… Read more

Category: Mental Health

Professional Development May Help Increase Pay

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary for home health aides, or direct support professionals (DSPs), meaning those workers who provide support to people with physical and mental disabilities and older adults, is just $21,800 a year. To put this into perspective, if a DSP were the sole breadwinner for a… Read more

Category: I/DD

Direct Care Alliance Names New Executive Director

The Direct Care Alliance (DCA), a nationwide and state-based advocacy organization for direct care workers in long-term care, has recently named Carla D. Washington as its new Executive Director. DCA is an advocate to help direct care workers fight for better wages, benefits, and training, and make this growing field an attractive career.

DirectCourse Announces College of Recovery and Community Inclusion

The DirectCourse curricula is expanding in new and exciting ways! This summer sees the launch of the College of Recovery and Community Inclusion (CRCI), an integrated, web-based curriculum designed for community mental health practitioners. Utilizing Elsevier’s web based Performance Manager learning management system. Along with content developed in collaboration by the Temple University Collaborative on… Read more

Category: Mental Health

UCP Agreement Brings CDS Nationwide

Elsevier and the United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) have reached an agreement to offer the DirectCourse/College of Direct Support (CDS) online education and training to the network’s nearly 100 affiliates. The UCP network supports nearly 200,000 individuals with cerebral palsy and a spectrum of developmental disabilities , and has hundreds of employees across the United States,… Read more

Category: I/DD

Disability Studies programs offered at CUNY SPS

The City University of New York (CUNY) and its School of Professional Studies (SPS) have a long-standing history of providing direct support workers with the skills and knowledge to improve the lives of people with disabilities. For over 20 years, they have continued the great strides that John F. Kennedy. Jr. made in the field… Read more

Category: I/DD

College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving Launches Pilot Studies

This past summer, Elsevier launched the College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving (CPAC), a new web-based curriculum designed to train and educate learners working with people with physical disabilities and older adults. Pilot programs have already been launched in various states around the country, but a managed care program in Tennessee is also using CPAC… Read more

DirectCourse Curricula Expands with the College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving this September

After two years in development, Elsevier will launch the College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving (CPAC) this September, thus expanding the DirectCourse curricula. This is a new web-based curriculum designed to train and educate learners working with people with physical disabilities and older adults. Pilot programs have been launched in many states, including Missouri, Kansas,… Read more

Elsevier/DirectCourse Curriculum Aligns with APSE Certification Process

Elsevier/DirectCourse’s College of Employment Services (CES) curriculum is now aligned with the national certification from APSE, the Association for People Supporting Employment 1st, a national organization dedicated to integrated employment and career advancement for people with disabilities. APSE recently developed the first national certification program for employment support professionals.

Category: Employment

DirectCourse Now a Partner with APSE

Elsevier is pleased to announce that it has engaged in a partnership with the Association for Persons in Supported Employment (APSE.) All registered members of APSE are eligibile for a preferred rate of up to 25% off the purchase price of DirectCourse curricula, particularly the College of Employment Services (CES) curriculum.    

Category: Employment

CDS Curriculum Grows to Meet New Standards Established by CMS

This February the National Council on Disabilities (NCD) issued a report, CMS Managed Care NCD Recommendations, examining the increased financial burden that state governments face when addressing managed care for people with disabilities and Medicaid’s response to such challenges. Citing a number of factors, including state managerial capacity, performance measurement, and the challenges of utilizing… Read more

Category: I/DD

Join Today! DirectCourse’s Social Media Sites Launches

Elsevier, a global leader in medical and health information, continues to find ways to make its DirectCourse online curriculum even more accessible to its learning community. We have successfully launched a Facebook page and Twitter account for both the DirectCourse College of Direct Support (CDS) and the College of Employment Services (CES) online curricula.

Category: Employment, I/DD

The Evolution and Vision of the New DirectCourse Curricula

DirectCourse…online curricula for life in community A decade ago the College of Direct Support (CDS) online curriculum was a vision fast becoming reality. Its founder Bill Tapp, DirectCourse Vice President, was working with MC Strategies and the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center (RTC) on Community Living to develop an online curriculum to train… Read more

Brew in the Holidays with DirectCourse’s New Website and Branding & Enter to Win a $10 Starbucks Gift Card

The newly designed DirectCourse website, that embraces new branding, was released November 2011. The website that is optimized for organize web searches enables existing and prospective customers and visitors to experience a user-friendly design, easy navigation, and engaging tools that initiate lead generated marketing programs and promotions. Most important, the website houses compelling content centered… Read more

Elsevier Introduces DirectCourse, an Expanded Suite of Online Curricula to Train Professionals Who Support People with Intellectual, Developmental and Physical Disabilities

ATLANTA, November 30, 2011 — DirectCourse is anchored by the renowned College of Direct Support (CDS), plus the addition of the College of Employment Services. Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today introduced DirectCourse, an expanded suite of online curricula to train professionals who support people with intellectual,… Read more

Category: Employment, I/DD

Partner Profiles: Apple Patch

If the three most important factors in real estate are location, location, location, then the three most important factors in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities must be inclusion, inclusion, inclusion. Apple Patch strives to provide the array of support services needed to help each individual be included and personally succeed in all aspects… Read more

Category: I/DD

Elsevier to Unveil its New DirectCourse Curriculum at AFP: College of Employment Services

The College of Employment Services (CES), Elsevier’s second online training curriculum in its new DirectCourse overbrand developed by the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at University of Massachusetts Boston, will be unveiled during the Alliance for Full Participation (AFP) Summit 2.0. AFP will be hosted at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel outside of Washington, D.C.… Read more

Category: Employment, I/DD

Partner Profile: Emory Valley

The Emory Valley Center (EVC) began using the College of Direct Support (CDS) online learning in 2008 and our staff, unaccustomed to computer-based training, responded quite well! How well? EVC staff members who once dreaded training now request classes from the CDS. The CDS has made a tremedous difference in how EVC staff view training.… Read more

Category: I/DD

Partner Profile: Orange AHRC

Though it will never be enough, I like the fact that as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) I am a part of opening more doors for the people we serve,” said Leigh Schulz, a DSP for Orange AHRC in Newburgh, N.Y., a suburban area 50 miles north of Manhattan. Read the rest of this Partner… Read more

Category: I/DD

Partner Profile: AbilityFirst

AbilityFirst’s partnership with the College of Direct Support (CDS) has had a positive impact on our organization, an impact that can be seen and felt when someone walks into any AbilityFirst facility. The children and adults with special needs who we support are realizing their full potential through AbilityFirst programs in a nurturing and creative… Read more

Category: I/DD

Partner Profile: New Horizons Resources

New Horizons Resources, Inc. (NHR) is a not-for-profit agency providing supports to children and adults with developmental disabilities in the Hudson Valley Region of New York State. Our mission is to support people to have fulfilling lives within their local communities by establishing a home, belonging, self determination, productivity and life- long learning. Read the… Read more

Category: I/DD

Nominations for 2012 Moving Mountains Awards Being Accepted Until Nov. 30th

Nominations are now being accepted for the prestigious 2012 Moving Mountains Awards that recognize and honor organizations using best practices in direct support staff workforce development. The deadline for nominations is November 30, 2011. These annual awards are sponsored by the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) and the Research and Training Center (RTC)… Read more

Category: I/DD

Partner Profile: OHI in Maine CEO Says, “CDS Curriculum Revolutionized Training”

The partnership between OHI in Maine and Elsevier/College of Direct Support (CDS) began in March 2010. Bonnie-Jean Brooks, the founder and CEO of this 33-year-old agency says, “CDS completely changed the culture and approach to training its 260 Direct Support Professionals that support approximately 600 people.” “There is no question that CDS has revolutionized training… Read more

Category: I/DD

NEW Film for Thought Course Breaking Shells: Art and Steve

The University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center of Community Living, authors of the College Of Direct Support curriculum and Elsevier are pleased to announce the release of a new Film for Thought course, Breaking Shells: Art and Steve. This course is now available for Learning Administrators to incorporate into the learner’s lesson plan by… Read more

Category: I/DD

Introducing the New DirectCourse Overbrand: Includes CDS & Evolving Online Curricula in the Disabilities Field

Elsevier’s product line of online training curricula under the brand of DirectCourse will officially launch in November, along with the introduction of its second curriculum – the College of Employment Services (CES). Both will be rolled out during the Alliance for Full Participation Conference Nov. 17-19 in Washington, D.C. DirectCourse is an expanding lineup of… Read more

The Admin Corner

Elsevier Performance Manager: Featuring Content Elsevier Performance Manager: Core Development is an online education and performance management solution that offers administrators, such as you, tools needed to better manage, develop and communicate with your staff. Administrators, use Elsevier Performance Manager daily to perform tasks such as adding learners, viewing learner transcripts, assigning training, and reviewing… Read more

Category: I/DD

The DSP Chronicles 2011 ANCOR DSP of the Year: Gina Bartlow “Learn What Makes Us the Same”

Written by Tom King Her powerful words quickly convey why Gina Bartlow is the 2011 ANCOR Direct Support Professional (DSP) of the Year. “I am an ordinary person doing an important job.” “The DSP job description always seems to include something like ‘and other necessary duties not otherwise listed’ because there is no way one… Read more

Category: I/DD

Major Ohio Provider Koinonia Homes Signs 3-Year Contract to Use CDS Curriculum and Elsevier Performance Manager Tools

Koinonia Homes Inc., (Koinonia) has signed a three-year contract with Elsevier/College of Direct Support (CDS) to use the College of Direct Support online curriculum and Elsevier’s Performance Manager for staff training and development. Koinonia is the largest private provider of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout all of Cuyahoga County, OH. Koinonia’s… Read more

Category: I/DD

Passing the Torch

Dr. K. Charlie Lakin, for 22 years the Director of the Institute on Community Integration’s Research and Training Center (RTC) on Community Living at the University of Minnesota and a driving force in the creation and development of the College of Direct Support (CDS) curriculum, is the new Director of the National Institute on Disability… Read more

Category: I/DD