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SUNY For All


OPWDD is working with SUNY to offer service providers across New York State access to SUNY For All, a free online training program. New and current employees can tap in to more than 20 online tuition-free programs to enhance their skills and help them enter, or advance, in the health and human services field.

Students are eligible for mentoring and advisement to ensure successful completion of the program; and are offered social services, such as automatic enrollment into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, to support their daily lives. Once a student completes a program, they can continue their education and automatically be enrolled into any SUNY Community College, SUNY Empire State College, SUNY Canton or SUNY Delhi. This can lead to a SUNY Associate or Bachelor’s degree in areas that support the service provider industry:

  • Human Services / Community & Human Services
  • Health Studies / Community Health
  • Nursing
  • Psychology / Applied Psychology
  • Mental Health Assistant

DSP Certificate Program

The Direct Support Professional Certificate Program is an online course providing insight to the DSP field and offering support to help graduates succeed. The program includes a 27-hour online program, taught by Luis Torres, a former DSP, now Adjunct Professor at the Bronx Education Opportunity Center.

The online class, along with certification classes in AMAP, CPR/First Aid, and SCIP-R will certify the student as a Direct Support Professional. This course work ensures a successful outcome for the entry-level employee to work, both independently, and within a team setting. The subject matter of the DSP class is derived from the NYS regulating agency, OPWDD, and other agencies providing care, supports and services to people living with developmental disabilities.

DSP Certificate Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student will understand the major ideas, principles, policies, and events that have shaped developmental disabilities services. The course will also go over the following topics below, preparing the student for a rewarding career in the field.

Week 1 Topic: Discussion on employment and work settings:
  • Residential DSP/ Habilitation workers, Day Habilitation without walls
  • Employment with OPWDD or private non-profit agencies
  • Environmental work settings in ICF/IRA facilities/ supported apartments
  • Criminal Background Check- CBC
  • Payscale of the Developmental Disabilities industry and career and growth opportunities within the DSP field
  • The contrast between Institutional Care (Willowbrook) vs. Community Residential (Group Home) Services
  • Understanding classification of individuals receiving services
Week 2 Topic: Communication & Reporting:
  • Awareness of the specific Acronyms, Terminology, Vocabulary and Language used in the field of Intellectual, Developmental Disabilities
  • Self-advocates to speak to students, communication and teaching techniques
  • De-Institutionalization and Community Inclusion
  • Recreation and Choice-Making
  • Rights, Responsibilities, Confidentiality/HIPAA
  • Abuse and Neglect and Incident Reporting (147A/147I)
  • Core Competencies and Personal Outcome Measures (POM) review
  • Staff Advocacy on behalf of people supported
Week 3 Topic: Mid-term Exam
  • Comprehension and subsequent competencies in various subjects specific to the field of Developmental Disabilities
  • The Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) Process and ongoing oversight
  • Teamwork Process and Team Meetings: Quarterly, Annual and Semi-Annual Life Plan
  • Human Rights & Ad Hocs
  • Importance of Data Collection
  • Active Treatment, The Life Plan and Individualized Program Plan (IPP), Person-Centered Planning (PCP), Comprehensive Functional Assessment (CFA)
  • ADL, Goals/Valued outcomes, Prompting and Essentials of Data Collection
Week 4 Topic: General Overview of Developmental Delays/ Disabilities and classifications with a general understanding of the following:
  • Mild; 2. Moderate; 3. Severe; 4. Profound
  • Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome
  • Positive Behavior Approaches, Behavior Interventions, Behavior Observations, Medications
  • Governmental Monitoring and Agency Oversight
  • CAB (Consumer Advisory Board)
  • OPWDD/ DDSO Representatives (NY State Office provides regulatory oversight)
  • Audit process, Yearly Residential Certification and Internal Agency Quality Assurance (QA) Audits
Week 5 Topic: Final Exam and Student Presentations, Other Governmental Agencies Providing Monitoring:
  • Other Governmental Agencies Providing Monitoring:
  • NYS Justice Center
  • Surrogate Decision-making
  • Mental Hygiene Legal Services (MHLS)
  • Residential Fire and Emergency Procedures. Medical Matters, Procedures and Forms.
  • Staffing Topics: mentoring and training at the residence, Benefits, Procedures and Disciplinary Matters. Operating an agency vehicle. Various forms used within the Developmental Disabilities Industry, Consumer Medical Matters and Procedures and Forms. Staff Stress. News articles.