Course for Direct Support Professionals

september 10 - october 15, 2024
Tuesdays 12:30-2:15 pm ET 


Spring 2025 dates will be February 4 to March 11

Questions? Contact

The course consists of six weekly, webinar-style sessions via Zoom (105 minutes each), teaching best practices in providing positive, therapeutic interventions for people with IDD and mental health needs. Each session will demonstrate how the information reviewed can be directly applied in the day-to-day support of people with IDD-MH. 

Registration is $149 per person and participants can receive University of New Hampshire Continuing Education Units and a Certificate of Completion for MHIDD Training for Direct Support Professionals.

Facilitators: Lacey Eaton, Micah Peace Urquilla, Anne LaForce

Who Should Participate?

It is highly recommended for the following providers:

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

Questions? Need support registering? Please contact the NCSS Training team at for support. 

Session 1: Foundations I: Introduction to the Course & Guiding Principles

  • Course Overview
  • Positive Psychology & other Guiding Principles (Positive Psych/Strengths-based, Family & Person-centered, Cultural & Linguistic Competency, Trauma-Informed, Biopsychosocial, Wellness-based)

Session 2: Foundations II: Overview of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and Common Vulnerabilities

  • Overview of IDD & Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Core BioPsychoSocial Vulnerabilities of IDD (Executive Functioning, communication, sensory)

Session 3: Foundations III: Mental Health Aspects of IDD

  • Identifying signs and symptoms related to mental health
  • Overview of the most common mental health diagnoses: Anxiety, Depression & Trauma
  • Exploring how core vulnerabilities of IDD impact mental health

Session 4: Foundations IV:  Mental Health Aspects of IDD

  • Trauma
  • Emotional Regulation

Session 5: Therapeutic Interventions I

  • Positive Identity Development
  • Trauma Informed Care in Action (resiliency)
  • Promoting Wellness (PERMA+)

Session 6: Therapeutic Interventions II

  • Emotion Recognition & Regulation
  • Relaxation & Stress Reduction
  • Creative Expression

Course Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, participants will….

  • Demonstrate an understanding of IDD and the presentation of 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

Continuing Education

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).