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Participation Project: Learning Guides for Disability Support Workers

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Location: National
Date: 18/05/2017 to 31/12/2018

The Participation Project is a series of learning guides for disability support workers (DSWs).

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The complete series comprises six titles and three video clips.

The resources have been developed in collaboration with a large range of people specialist in particular topics. The aim is to ensure that disability support workers have a well-rounded understanding of the various perspectives that impact their role. Contributors include people with lived experience, support workers, service managers, advocates, clinicians and trainers.

The learning guides include activities linking learners to existing high-quality, online resources. As well, reflection activities prompt the learner to apply information to their own context and that of the people they support. A glossary and reference section help with understanding, and validation of the material presented.

This resource is in two parts – “The Role of the Disability Support Worker Part One” and “The Role of the Disability Support Worker Part Two”. Together the booklets provide an introduction to the fundamental principles of disability support work under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Part One

In Part One, we emphasise that the disability support worker’s (DSW) role is to support people with disability to learn things, to do the things they want to do, and to meaningfully participate in their community.

Part one covers the following topics:

  • The person has choice and control
  • Working in the person’s home and community
  • Events that influenced policies related to disability in Australia

Learning outcomes

After completing the activities in this guide, the learner will be able to understand and respect:

  • The principles of person-centred active support
  • The person’s rights and how to uphold them
  • The person’s role within their own team
  • The role of the DSW within the person’s team
  • Different kinds of advocacy and when each is appropriate
  • Dignity of risk and the person’s right to choose
  • That all behaviour is communication
  • That restrictive practices must be authorised by the Senior Practitioner
  • The privacy and individuality of the person’s home
  • The person’s right to privacy and the confidentiality of their information at all times

Part Two

This booklet builds on the material in Part One about the NDIS: the roles and practices of the people, organisations and communities in disability support. It then describes how to apply work health and safety principles when working in people’s homes. The last sections look at different sorts of plans, and at natural supports.

Part Two covers the following topics:

  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
  • Work Health and Safety (WHS)
  • Individual plans
  • Natural supports

Learning outcomes

After completing the activities in this guide, the learner will be able to understand:

  • The process a person follows to develop an NDIS plan
  • The different kinds of plans the DSW might work from
  • The person’s natural supports, and demonstrate respect for these
  • How to assess risk while providing person-centred active support
  • How to maintain professional boundaries
  • The next steps they will take on their learning journey

This resource gives disability support workers (DSWs) information about communicating with the people they support, and promotes reflective practice.

Communication is at the heart of inclusion, participation, and quality of life for all people. It can bring connection, pleasure and support. Being included and participating are human rights.

This learning guide includes the following sections:

  • Disability, communication and participation
  • What makes up communication?
  • Communication barriers and communication possibilities
  • The DSW as an effective and inclusive communicator
  • Record and share information

Learning outcomes

After completing the activities in this guide, the learner will be able to:

  • Demonstrate commitment to empowerment for people with disability, and identify the current communication capability and needs of the person
  • Address constraints to communication
  • Understand how to communicate in an effective way with most people
  • Collaborate with colleagues to work as a team
  • Report problems to their supervisor
  • Complete workplace correspondence and documentation
  • Contribute to continuous improvement
  • Communication barriers and communication possibilities

Communication is at the heart of inclusion, participation, and quality of life for all people. It can bring connection, pleasure and support. Being included and participating are human rights.

Everyone we communicate with is a communication partner. In disability support work, communication partners support the person with disability to express themselves. The disability support worker supports the person to communicate with other people in their community as they go about their daily activities. They do not communicate for another person, they provide supports so the person can communicate themselves. Effective communication partners are attentive and work to make communication successful. They learn about a broad range of communication methods.

This learning guide includes the following sections:

  • What is a communication system?
  • Different AAC systems suit different capabilities
  • Assessment for AAC
  • Support the person to communicate
  • What makes a functional AAC system?

Learning outcomes

After completing the activities in this guide, the learner will be able to understand:

  • The DSW’s role in the team
  • The DSW’s role in supporting the person using an AAC system or device

This guide provides disability support workers (DSWs) with activities they can use to revise the core skills needed to successfully participate in the unit of competency, HLTHPS006 ‘Assist clients with medication’.

This learning guide is designed to be used in a group setting alongside hands-on practice with medication packets. It includes a large range of practice activities. On completion of this guide, the learner will be prepared to begin their study in the above unit.

This learning guide includes the following sections:

  • Medication names
  • Numbers on medication labels and documents
  • Dates
  • Time
  • Measure medication
  • Ratios
  • Temperature

Learning outcomes

After completing the activities in this guide, the learner will be able to:

  • Read numerical information on medication documents
  • Understand how to measure medication accurately
  • Understand how to convert medication measurements
  • Understand a range of words used when preparing to administer and when administering medication

There are two booklets in this topic.

One is for disability support workers (DSW). It is called “Encouraging lifestyle choices for physical health and wellbeing”.

The other is for people with intellectual disability. It is written in Easy English and is called, “Making lifestyle choices for physical health and wellbeing”.

The booklets are designed so the person and the DSW can work together to learn about chronic disease and ways to prevent and manage it.

The chronic conditions covered are:

  • Mental illness
  • Cardiovascular disease (including stroke)
  • Osteoporosis, arthritis & back problems
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes

The booklets work around a key acronym SMART:

  • Stop smoking – or don’t start!
  • Move more
  • Add more whole foods – & look after your teeth
  • Relax & sleep well
  • Try new things

These books were informed by, and as part of, a research project. The report, “Chronic illness and people with intellectual disability: prevalence, prevention and management”, can be downloaded here.

Encouraging lifestyle choices for physical health and wellbeing: learning guide for disability support workers

This booklet is designed for DSWs and is most effectively used in conjunction with the “Making lifestyle choices” booklet. It includes the following sections:

  • Supporting Participation
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Being motivated to make SMART choices for physical health & wellbeing
  • SMART choices people can make about their lifestyle
  • Working as part of a team to support a person’s choices
  • Tests & assessments

Learning outcomes

  • Be familiar with 5 chronic illnesses, in terms of:
    • their causes and risk factors
    • management
    • preventive approaches
  • Understand your DSW role in supporting the person to prevent or manage chronic illness in a holistic manner, by:
  • Developing a trusting collegial relationship with the person and other members of their support team
  • Discussing with the person, their family and other carers, the full range of issues that could have an impact on their wellbeing
  • Responding to the range of issues in an integrated way
  • Supporting the person to understand their chronic illness/disease
  • Facilitating the person to self-manage, through provision of advice and resources
  • Identifying and discussing any unmet needs and requirements, and making appropriate referrals

Making lifestyle choices for physical health and wellbeing: Easy English resource

This booklet is designed for people with intellectual disability who are interested in feeling better.

This includes an especially useful section that gives information on different kinds of health tests and assessments. This can be used to understand what happens in each. These include tests for blood pressure, blood, urine, cholesterol and/triglycerides, weight and BMI, eyes, albumin, electrocardiogram, feet, blood glucose level, bone density, breast examination, mammogram, pap smear, and prostrate.

This resource was co-designed by staff and members of Speak Out Association.

The booklet includes the following sections:

  • Chronic health conditions
  • What motivates you?
  • You can make SMART choices
  • Tests and assessments to stay in charge of your health
  • Want to know more?

The content of the learning resources relates to many of the outcomes for the Certificate III Individual Support (Disability) and some specialist electives. These are indicated in the learning outcomes at the front of each booklet.

The series is available in hard copy and online from NDS Learn and Develop. email:

Investment:

TAS service providers: can receive 1 complimentary hardcopy set + soft copy for unlimited downloads

  • NDS Member Service providers (outside of TAS) $360 + GST: includes 1 x hardcopy set + softcopy for future unlimited downloads
  • Non Member Service providers (outside of TAS) $540 + GST soft copy link
  • Registered Training Organisations: $1100.00 + GST: includes 1 x hardcopy set + softcopy for future unlimited downloads

Acknowledgements

A complete list of people who contributed to this series is available here.

This project has been made possible with funding from a number of agencies.

  • Funding for the entire series has been provided by the Tasmanian Department of State Growth.
  • The Disability Workforce Innovation Network (DWIN) initiated and supported the resource development project. The DWIN project was implemented with the assistance of funding provided by the Australian Government.
  • The lifestyle choices resource were also developed with support from Primary Health Tasmania under the Primary Health Networks Program – an Australian Government initiative.
  • The medication resource was also developed with support from 26TEN.
Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Nicole Jenkins, National Learning & Development Manager, 0292563107,