Mental Health Aspects of Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
Professional Development Series

Course for Direct Support Professionals

2021 Course Dates Coming Soon

This live, 6-session course gives Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to provide individuals with IDD and mental health service needs (IDD-MH) positive, person-centered, strengths and wellness-based supports and services. The course facilitator will demonstrate how the information reviewed during session can be applied in the day-to-day support of people with IDD-MH. The course features guest speakers with lived experience and optional 30-minute office hours sessions where participants can ask questions and further discuss course topics.

The course consists of two sections. Sessions 1-3 will address foundations. Topics will include positive psychology, cultural and linguistic competency, trauma-informed care, and the biopsychosocial approach. Overview of IDD and Autism Spectrum Disorders & overview of mental health aspects of IDD. Sessions 4-6 will focus on the application of therapeutic interventions including Person-centered Support, Positive Social Engagement, Positive Identity Development, Trauma Informed Care in Action (resiliency), Wellness Promotion (PERMA+), Emotion Recognition & Regulation, Relaxation & Stress Reduction,  and Creative Expression.

Who Should Participate?

  • Direct Support Professionals (both MH and IDD)
  • Functional Support Specialists (both MH and IDD)
  • Residential/AFL/home care providers & staff
  • Day habilitation & residential supervisors

Why Participate?

This course is designed to improve the supports provided to individuals who experience IDD-MH by….

  • Enhancing DSPs’ understanding of important aspects related to wellness and positive supports for people with IDD-MH
  • Equipping DSPs with practical approaches to use in their daily work
  • Increasing job satisfaction and preventing burnout
  • Providing assurance to supervisors that DSPs are adequately trained and equipped to provide quality, strengths-based supports

Participants who attend all 6 sessions of this course will receive a Center for START Services Certificate of Completion and 0.75 CEUs from the University of New Hampshire (CEUs are available for individual sessions).

Registration fee is $149 per person. 

Course Expectations:

It is expected that all participants will:

  • Complete a pre- and post-survey at the beginning and conclusion of the course & brief training evaluations following each session
  • Approach training opportunities with readiness and receptiveness
  • Attend all Zoom training sessions
  • Engage with course material in order to apply what is learned into daily work

Course Learning Objectives:

At the end of this course, participants will….

  • Demonstrate an understanding of IDD and the presentation of co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Demonstrate a biopsychosocial understanding of an individual’s strengths and vulnerabilities
  • Apply strengths-based therapeutic practices, interventions and skills to support individuals
  • Effectively facilitate therapeutic activities
  • Engage in positive and wellness-focused interactions with individuals, families, and colleagues

About the Facilitator:

Picture of Anne LaForce

Anne LaForce, MA
CSS Director of Therapeutic Coaching

M.A., Clinical Psychology, North Carolina Central University
B.A., Psychology, Kent State University

Anne La Force is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience working with adults, adolescents and children with developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental health disorders.  As a Project Manager and Director of Therapeutic Coaching, Anne provides consultation and training to START teams across the country and facilitates monthly practice groups for Therapeutic Team Leaders and Clinical Directors.  Anne has experience in practicing and training other clinicians in crisis prevention and intervention, implementation of positive psychology approaches, assessment of biopsychosocial factors and trauma informed care practices.