Author: dcadmin

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, while the latter is fair.

It’s a concept that recently has seen a resurgence in interest and one closely tied to the greater issue of community inclusion for people with disabilities.

That said, “community inclusion” is a bit of a misnomer, as individuals with disabilities already are a part of the community. All too often, however, neither they nor the community are reaping all the potential benefits of that interaction. Remedying this situation is not an easy task, as it requires identification and removal of barriers and changes in how we, as a people, think and design our world.

Equity Equality Graphic

October 29. 2016;

This cartoon was circulated on the Internet in the past and shows three people of different heights attempting to peer over a fence to see a baseball game. In the first panel, all are standing on similar-sized crates (equality), but only the two tallest can see over the obstruction. In the second panel, a crate has been added to elevate the other person to where he can enjoy the game, as well (equity). In this version, a third panel shows a chain-link fence through which all can see.

You get the picture.

Success will require creative thinking, an understanding of individuals as the individuals they are and acknowledgement of any changes required to assure people with disabilities are living the lives they choose – and their best lives – in their communities, both contributing and reaping the rewards of that contribution.

In 2017, we look forward to helping those on the front lines of true community inclusion to push boundaries as never before, with the educational tools and training they need to do their best work.

That’s our role to play and it is our privilege to play it. Learn more about our Community Inclusion curriculum.

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 by the Interactive Autism Network, 63% of individuals with autism ages 6 to 15 have been bullied at some point in their lives. Sadly, this is the world we live in.

Bullying can take many forms but in its most basic form, it is any type of behavior that hurts, harms, or humiliates; a type of malicious behavior that makes you feel less about who you are as a person. Whether it is physical or emotional, it can happen while at school, in the community, and online. In many cases, bullying begins with words like “odd,” “different,” and even the dreaded ‘r’ word we have all come to dislike, “retarded.”

Many people have strong reactions when they hear the ‘r’ word, a part of a deep desire to defend our children or anyone we know that has an intellectual disability. There is great ongoing campaign dedicated to ending the use of the word: This isn’t a matter of free speech, nor is it a matter of being overly sensitive. In fact, many people, including many hospitals, doctors, and schools, have quit using it altogether since it has become pejorative.

We do have the power to change the meaning of words such as these. Asking people to reconsider the word and what it signifies is a way to spark conversation about how we view people with intellectual disability, and to respect them more along the way.

We are all different, all unique. However, feeling different among peers can have a lasting effect, especially with adolescents. Words like weird, odd, or strange used in a hurtful or derogatory context can have a devastating impact on children with disabilities. This is especially concerning, because bullying typically occurs when kids are at a very critical age in their overall development.

On the DirectCourse Facebook page in October, we posted a link to a beautifully written poem by a young man with autism, Benjamin Giroux. Ben writes: “I am odd, I am new/I wonder if you are too/I hear voices in the air/I see you don’t, and that’s not fair.” You can read the full poem here. In this poem, the young author really captures the essence of what it feels like to be different, to be “odd.” Everyone has a desire to be accepted. People with disabilities are no different.

So what is the take away from all of this? We must continue to promote inclusion and acceptance, cultivating a world filled with compassion and inclusiveness. Empowering kids early on not only build their confidence and leadership skills, but also reinforces the notion that the world needs all types of minds and people from all walks of life.

After all, at the end of day, aren’t we all different and unique in our own ways?


DirectCourse curricula is all about living life in community. We have a number of courses available that help DSPs and others understand best practices and strategies for community inclusion. Courses in The College of Direct Support that can help reduce the likelihood of bullying include:

  • Person-Centered Planning
  • Community Inclusion
  • Relationships
  • Maltreatment Prevention and Response

Why It’s Important to Keep Our Direct Support Staff Happy

Direct service professionals are an often-overlooked specialty in need of tolerant, good-natured workers; those who can provide the delicate care needed to keep up with the various challenges that are unique to clients with disabilities. Perhaps at DirectCourse we are a little biased, but we believe direct care staff might be one of the most significant types of workers in the lives of the clients that they serve.

The importance of hiring good direct care staff to work with people with disabilities has long been acknowledged, but perhaps not sufficiently appreciated. Not often enough do we give adequate credit to these wonderful people, people who dedicate their lives to serving those in need of constant assistance and care. Having a personal care assistant – someone who is reliable, caring, and flexible can have an extremely significant impact on the quality of life of the developmentally disabled.

We talk amply about how to improve the lives of those who are disabled, and providing them with care is of vital importance. However, since direct service professionals are typically the ones who interact with those with disabilities daily, we also need to think about what steps we can take to improve the experience of these care professionals while they are on the job.

Direct service professionals sometimes provide care under stressful working conditions, do not always have opportunities for career advancement, and are often among the lowest paid workers. Given the nature these jobs, it may not be surprising to learn that long-term care providers have difficulty recruiting and retaining employees.

So what are some things we can do to ensure direct support professionals get the support THEY need in order to do their jobs effectively?

A study published in the Oxford Journal interviewed a group of direct care professionals at both direct care facilities and individual home care to find out how their jobs could be improved. They asked these professionals what the single most important thing their employer could do to improve their jobs. The findings were eye opening.

Other than low pay, they found many common themes in their feedback such as “better communication” or “keep communication open,” and “keep us informed of changes.” Overall, work relationships appeared to be of the greatest concern in direct care facilities, and of the least concern in individual home care. The feedback from the direct care facilities as opposed to at home care is assumed to be related to the more frequent interaction with peers as well as the more intense supervision in this type of setting.

Although workers in home care mentioned work relationships least often when giving feedback, they still called for improved communication more often than other aspects of work relationships. Communication is key!

Another suggestion that direct care professionals stated was access to better training that can properly prepare them for their roles as direct care professionals. After all, training is crucial for both them and those for whom they provide care. At DirectCourse, we provide online training resources designed to empower support and care professionals to aid others in leading meaningful and productive lives. It was created because of the need for reliable, standardized training.

Let us not forget what an important service these direct care professionals provide to our disability community. If you work in the industry like us, it’s our responsibility to ensure these workers are receiving proper training, adequate compensation, and of course the appropriate communication they need to do their jobs well.

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 on others, and thus, sometimes create a desire to isolate. However, it is very important that senior citizens avoid isolation for a variety of reasons.

Two reasons in particular are the risk of injury and depression. Because of their fragile state, senior citizens are especially prone to injury. Suffering an injury alone can be extremely dangerous for a senior. The more severe the injury, the less likely they are to have the ability to call for help. In addition to their risk of injury, seniors are also at risk for suffering from depression, especially if they isolate themselves. This can lead to further issues and may require the help of serious medical attention depending on the severity of the situation.

So what ways can we help prevent or resolve the problem of senior isolation? First, we can make sure that we try and visit them consistently and often.  For most seniors, family and friends mean everything to them and a visit can completely brighten their day. Even if they are short 20-minute visits, a visit is still a visit. If you begin to notice them isolating themselves, try and visit more frequently.

Providing access to transport can also be a great way to boost a senior’s mood and reduce their risk of isolation. Whether it be picking them up and taking them out, getting them involved in senior events, or perhaps investing in a mobility scooter, senior citizens need some sort of method of transportation in order to avoid the feeling of being stuck, or feelings of isolation. There are also a number of options available when it comes to walking assistance devices; you just have to find the right one for their situation.

It’s also important that seniors feel at home wherever they may be living, especially if it is an assisted care facility. To avoid feelings of isolation, help make their dwelling a special place, a place that feels like home. Sometimes, assisted care facilities can feel dreary; however, turning their space into a place of their own can help exponentially. This could mean hanging pictures, having indoor plants, or providing them with other memorabilia that can make them feel more comfortable where they are.

Assuming a senior is not already living at a retirement home or other care facility, another effective way to ensure seniors don’t isolate themselves, is to hire a direct care professional to assist them. Each and every day, the work of personal care assistants and family caregivers make a significant impact on the seniors they work with by providing the necessary care and tasks when needed. Here at DirectCourse, our College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving provides the necessary training designed to offer caregivers the skills needed to provide seniors with effective and superior assistance. Thus, we fully understand the value these professionals offer.

Isolation can be crippling to seniors. If you have a senior family member or close friend, it’s important to be aware of their attitude and mental state. Do what you think is appropriate for your loved one and get them help if necessary.

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 much more. With larger fonts and a more engaging look and feel, the homepage will make your use of Performance Management products more intuitive.

Download this PDF to see changes for DirectCourse users.

Download the FAQ for more detailed information.

Be sure to visit the Customer Resource Center (accessible through the product after you login) for more tools and resources to assist you and your team, including guided tour videos, training webinars, and email templates.

CPAC Personal Care Course Sunset

The College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving (CPAC) Personal Care course will sunset after December 31, 2016. A new, updated Personal Care course will replace the old one at that time.

Access to the lessons in the old course will no longer be available after that date. It will be removed from all active modules and archived, and you will no longer be able to assign the course or any of the lessons to new learners.