Direct Support Professional Onboarding
Leads to certification
Direct Support Professional Training

Direct Support Professional Onboarding

The Direct Support Professional Onboarding (DSPO) program provides basic information Direct Support Professionals need before working in the field. Courses are comprised of lessons or content areas. 

Curriculum content

  • Empowerment CH 1 Disability Etiquette
    This course provides information on Person-First Language and teaches staff how to respectfully interact with people with disabilities. The course includes 2 lessons: Disability Etiquette and Respectful Language.  
    • DSPO Empowerment C101
  • Empowerment CH 2 Respectful Language
  • Facilitating Communication CH 1 Barriers
    This course provides information on how to improve communication by understanding barriers and various styles of communication. The course includes 2 lessons: Communication Barriers and Communication Styles.  
  • Facilitating Communication CH. 2 Communication Styles
  • Behavior Support. CH 1 Behavior as Communication
    This course provides information on how a person with a disability communicates, behavior and communication, how to document behavior using the ABC Model, how to positively support behavior, and the use of restrictions. The course includes 4 lessons: Behavior as Communication, Analyzing Behavior, Positive Behavioral Support, and Restrictions .  
  • Behavior Support CH 2 Analyzing Behavior
    This course provides information on how a person with a disability communicates, behavior and communication, how to document behavior using the ABC Model, how to positively support behavior, and the use of restrictions. The course includes 4 lessons: Behavior as Communication, Analyzing Behavior, Positive Behavioral Support, and Restrictions .  
  • Behavior Support CH 3 Positive Behavior Support
    This course provides information on how a person with a disability communicates, behavior and communication, how to document behavior using the ABC Model, how to positively support behavior, and the use of restrictions. The course includes 4 lessons: Behavior as Communication, Analyzing Behavior, Positive Behavioral Support, and Restrictions .
  • Behavior Support. CH 4 Restrictions
  • DSP Introduction CH 1 Disability Support Services
    This 4-chapter course will cover the role of the Direct Support Professional (DSP), disability services terminology, disability support services and the principles of success.
  • DSP Introduction CH 2 Disability Service Terminology
    This 4-chapter course will cover the role of the Direct Support Professional (DSP), disability services terminology, disability support services and the principles of success.
  • DSP Introduction. CH 3 Role of the DSP
    This 4-chapter course will cover the role of the Direct Support Professional (DSP), disability services terminology, disability support services and the principles of success.
  • DSP Introduction CH 4 Principles of Success
    This 4-chapter course will cover the role of the Direct Support Professional (DSP), disability services terminology, disability support services and the principles of success.
  • Community Inclusion - CH 1 Community Supports
    This course provides information on how people with disabilities receive support through their communities; the negative impact of stereotyping; the advantages of a diverse workforce; and legal protections available for discrimination. The course includes 4 lessons: Community Supports, Disabling Stereotypes, Workplace Diversity, and Legal Protection.  
  • Community Inclusion CH 2 Disabling Stereotypes
    This course provides information on how people with disabilities receive support through their communities; the negative impact of stereotyping; the advantages of a diverse workforce; and legal protections available for discrimination. The course includes 4 lessons: Community Supports, Disabling Stereotypes, Workplace Diversity, and Legal Protection.
  • Community Inclusion: CH 3 Workplace Diversity
    This course provides information on how people with disabilities receive support through their communities; the negative impact of stereotyping; the advantages of a diverse workforce; and legal protections available for discrimination. The course includes 4 lessons: Community Supports, Disabling Stereotypes, Workplace Diversity, and Legal Protection
  • Community Inclusion CH 4 Legal Protection
    This course provides information on how people with disabilities receive support through their communities; the negative impact of stereotyping; the advantages of a diverse workforce; and legal protections available for discrimination. The course includes 4 lessons: Community Supports, Disabling Stereotypes, Workplace Diversity, and Legal Protection.  
  • Documentation CH 1 Objective Narrative Documentation
    This course provides information on documentation, reporting, and tracking. The course includes 3 lessons: Objective Narrative Documentation, Incident Reporting, and Data Tracking.  
  • Documentation CH 2 Incident Reporting
    This course provides information on documentation, reporting, and tracking. The course includes 3 lessons: Objective Narrative Documentation, Incident Reporting, and Data Tracking.  
  • Documentation CH 3 Data Tracking
    This course provides information on documentation, reporting, and tracking. The course includes 3 lessons: Objective Narrative Documentation, Incident Reporting, and Data Tracking.  
  • Teaching Skills CH 1 Teaching Strategies
    T his course provides information on teaching strategies including how to increase person-served independence using fading. The course includes 2 lessons: Teaching Strategies and Fading.  
  • Teaching Skills CH 2 Fading
    T his course provides information on teaching strategies including how to increase person-served independence using fading. The course includes 2 lessons: Teaching Strategies and Fading.  
  • Assistive Supports CH 1 Direct Assistance
    This course provides information on Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)and Assistive Technology. The course includes 2 lessons: Direct Assistance and Assistive Technology  
  • Assistive Supports CH 2 Assistive Technology
    This course provides information on Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)and Assistive Technology. The course includes 2 lessons: Direct Assistance and Assistive Technology  
  • Building Relationships CH 1 Making Connections
    This course shares how DSP’s can help people-served build connections, promote interdependence, and support dating & romantic relationships. The course includes 3 lessons: Making Connections, Community Interdependence, and Dating & Romantic Relationships.  
  • Building Relationships CH 2 Community Interdependence
    This course shares how DSP’s can help people-served build connections, promote interdependence, and support dating & romantic relationships. The course includes 3 lessons: Making Connections, Community Interdependence, and Dating & Romantic Relationships.  
  • Building Relationships CH 3 Dating and Romantic Relationships
    This course shares how DSP’s can help people-served build connections, promote interdependence, and support dating & romantic relationships. The course includes 3 lessons: Making Connections, Community Interdependence, and Dating & Romantic Relationships.  
  • Collaboration CH 1 Teamwork
    This course explains the person-served team and standards for confidentiality including the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) & Protected Information (PI). The course is comprised of 2 lessons: Teamwork and Confidentiality.  
  • Collaboration CH 2 Confidentiality
    This course explains the person-served team and standards for confidentiality including the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) & Protected Information (PI). The course is comprised of 2 lessons: Teamwork and Confidentiality.  
  • Human Rights CH 1 Rights of People Served
    This course provides information on person-served rights and explains Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation, & Mistreatment (ANEM). The course includes 3 lessons: Rights of People-Served, Defining ANEM, and Reporting ANEM.  
  • Human Rights CH. 2 Defining Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation, & Mistreatment
    This course provides information on person-served rights and explains Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation, & Mistreatment (ANEM). The course includes 3 lessons: Rights of People-Served, Defining ANEM, and Reporting ANEM.  
  • Human Rights CH 3 Reporting Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation and Mistreatment
    This course provides information on person-served rights and explains Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation, & Mistreatment (ANEM). The course includes 3 lessons: Rights of People-Served, Defining ANEM, and Reporting ANEM.  DSP
  • Person Centered Supports CH 1 Person Centered Approach
    This course explains the difference between a Person-Centered and a System-Centered approach to support. The course also explains how to develop and implement an Individualized Support Plan (PCISP) including using the LifeCourse framework & tools. The course includes 3 lessons: Person-Centered Approach, Developing a Person-Centered Individualized Support Plan and Implementing a Person-Centered Individualized Support Plan.  
  • Person Centered Supports CH 2 Developing a Person Centered Individualized Support Plan (PCISP)
    This course explains the difference between a Person-Centered and a System-Centered approach to support. The course also explains how to develop and implement an Individualized Support Plan (PCISP) including using the LifeCourse framework & tools. The course includes 3 lessons: Person-Centered Approach, Developing a Person-Centered Individualized Support Plan and Implementing a Person-Centered Individualized Support Plan.  
  • Person Centered Supports CH 3 Implementing a Person Centered Individualized Support Plan (PCISP)
    This course explains the difference between a Person-Centered and a System-Centered approach to support. The course also explains how to develop and implement an Individualized Support Plan (PCISP) including using the LifeCourse framework & tools. The course includes 3 lessons: Person-Centered Approach, Developing a Person-Centered Individualized Support Plan and Implementing a Person-Centered Individualized Support Plan.  
  • Nutrition and Fitness CH 1 Food Safety
    This course explains safe food handling and how to develop strategies for encouraging healthy eating habits; how to modify a diet to meet the health requirements for a person-served; and encourages a healthy lifestyle incorporating exercise, sleep, and mental health. The course includes 4 lessons: Food Safety, General Nutritional Guidelines, Specialized Diets, and Exercise & Healthy Living.  
  • Nutrition and Fitness CH 2 General Nutritional Guidelines
    This course explains safe food handling and how to develop strategies for encouraging healthy eating habits; how to modify a diet to meet the health requirements for a person-served; and encourages a healthy lifestyle incorporating exercise, sleep, and mental health. The course includes 4 lessons: Food Safety, General Nutritional Guidelines, Specialized Diets, and Exercise & Healthy Living.  
  • Nutrition and Fitness CH 3 Specialized Diets
    This course explains safe food handling and how to develop strategies for encouraging healthy eating habits; how to modify a diet to meet the health requirements for a person-served; and encourages a healthy lifestyle incorporating exercise, sleep, and mental health. The course includes 4 lessons: Food Safety, General Nutritional Guidelines, Specialized Diets, and Exercise & Healthy Living.  
  • Nutrition and Fitness CH 4 Exercise and Healthy Living
    This course explains safe food handling and how to develop strategies for encouraging healthy eating habits; how to modify a diet to meet the health requirements for a person-served; and encourages a healthy lifestyle incorporating exercise, sleep, and mental health. The course includes 4 lessons: Food Safety, General Nutritional Guidelines, Specialized Diets, and Exercise & Healthy Living.  
  • Physical Wellness CH 1 High-Risk Plan
    This course explains High-Risk Plans and the DSP’s role; signs and symptoms of illness with person-served; the Fatal Five; and the logistics involved with medical appointments. The course includes 4 lessons: High-Risk Plans, Monitoring Signs & Symptoms, The Fatal Five, and Medical Appointments.  
  • Physical Wellness CH 2 Monitoring Signs and Symptoms
    This course explains High-Risk Plans and the DSP’s role; signs and symptoms of illness with person-served; the Fatal Five; and the logistics involved with medical appointments. The course includes 4 lessons: High-Risk Plans, Monitoring Signs & Symptoms, The Fatal Five, and Medical Appointments.  
  • Physical Wellness CH 3 The Fatal Five
    This course explains High-Risk Plans and the DSP’s role; signs and symptoms of illness with person-served; the Fatal Five; and the logistics involved with medical appointments. The course includes 4 lessons: High-Risk Plans, Monitoring Signs & Symptoms, The Fatal Five, and Medical Appointments.  
  • Physical Wellness CH 4 Medical Appointments
    This course explains High-Risk Plans and the DSP’s role; signs and symptoms of illness with person-served; the Fatal Five; and the logistics involved with medical appointments. The course includes 4 lessons: High-Risk Plans, Monitoring Signs & Symptoms, The Fatal Five, and Medical Appointments.  
  • Personal Care CH 1 Hygiene
    This course explains how to assist people-served with hygiene and grooming tasks; how to support people-served with toileting and incontinence care; and how to encourage and assist people-served with household management tasks. This course consists of 4 lessons: Hygiene, Grooming, Toileting & Incontinence, and Household Management.  
  • Personal Care CH 2 Grooming
    This course explains how to assist people-served with hygiene and grooming tasks; how to support people-served with toileting and incontinence care; and how to encourage and assist people-served with household management tasks. This course consists of 4 lessons: Hygiene, Grooming, Toileting & Incontinence, and Household Management.  
  • Personal Care CH 3 Toileting and Incontinence
    This course explains how to assist people-served with hygiene and grooming tasks; how to support people-served with toileting and incontinence care; and how to encourage and assist people-served with household management tasks. This course consists of 4 lessons: Hygiene, Grooming, Toileting & Incontinence, and Household Management.  
  • Personal Care CH 4 Household Management
    This course explains how to assist people-served with hygiene and grooming tasks; how to support people-served with toileting and incontinence care; and how to encourage and assist people-served with household management tasks. This course consists of 4 lessons: Hygiene, Grooming, Toileting & Incontinence, and Household Management.  
  • Medication Administration CH 1 Fundamentals of Medication Administration
    T his course provides information on the ‘6 Rights’ of medication administration and consists of 2 lessons: Fundamentals of Medication Administration and Medication Administration Procedur es  
  • Medication Administration CH 2 Medication Administration Procedures
    T his course provides information on the ‘6 Rights’ of medication administration and consists of 2 lessons: Fundamentals of Medication Administration and Medication Administration Procedur es  
  • Safety Procedures CH 1 Disaster Preparedness
    This course shares disaster prep tips, information on Bloodborne Pathogens, Universal Precautions, and strategies for lifting and fall protection. The course consists of 3 Lessons: Disaster Preparedness; Bloodborne Pathogens and Universal Precautions; and Lifting, Transferring, Positioning, & Fall Pr otection.
  • Safety Procedures CH 2 Bloodborne Pathogens and Universal Precautions
    This course shares disaster prep tips, information on Bloodborne Pathogens, Universal Precautions, & strategies for lifting and fall protection. The course consists of 3 Lessons: Disaster Preparedness; Bloodborne Pathogens & Universal Precautions; and Lifting, Transferring, Positioning, & Fall Pr otection.
  • Safety Procedures CH 3 Lifting, Transferring, Positioning, & Fall Protection
    This course shares disaster prep tips, information on Bloodborne Pathogens, Universal Precautions, & strategies for lifting and fall protection. The course consists of 3 Lessons: Disaster Preparedness; Bloodborne Pathogens & Universal Precautions; and Lifting, Transferring, Positioning, & Fall Pr otection.
  • Advocacy CH 1 Self-Determination
    This course provides essential information on the key elements of advocacy. The course includes 3 lessons: Self Determination, Self Advocacy, and Role of an Ally.  
  • Behavior Support Strategies CH 1 Motivational Interviewing
    T his course explains the strategies staff can implement to provide behavioral support for persons served. The course includes 3 lessons: Motivational Interviewing, Reinforcing Replacement Behavior and Avoiding Compassion Fatigue.  
  • Alternative Communication Strategies CH 1 Functional Sign Language
    This course explains the strategies for alternative communication from sign language to picture communication and using various electronic communication devices. The course is comprised of 3 lessons: Functional Sign Language, Picture Communication Systems, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems.  
  • Beginning a New Job
    This course provides information on beginning a new job, including  e valuating techniques to create the best possible first impression at work and  identifying strategies for the first day on a new job.  
  • Personalizing Employment
    This course provides information on personalizing employment, including ensure best possible job placement for the person you serve, conducting a job analysis, and designing effective customized employment proposals  
  • Employment Services Introduction
    This course provides information on employment services, including justifying benefits of employment for people with disabilities, describing the vocational rehabilitation employment services model, and defining supported employment .  
  • Discovery
    This course provides information on discovery, including describing how PC planning supports a job-seeker and how to identify strategies for facilitating discovery activities  
  • Empowerment
    This course provides information on empowerment, including describing how to interact with people who have disabilities  an  using person-first language to empower people served.
  • Facilitating Communication
    This course provides information on communication, including identifying barriers and strategies to improve communication and recognizing communication styles, including nonverbal strategies  
  • Behavior Support
    This course provides information on behavioral support, including recognizing what a person-served is communicating through their behavior and identifying ABC’s of the targeted behavior.  
  • Job Coaching
    This course provides information on job coaching, including designing strategies to help people-served to develop and improve skills and how to fade supports over time to increase independence.  
  • Accommodations
    This course provides information on accommodations, including designing strategies to request accommodations from employers in addition to selecting assistive technology to help with independence.  
  • Building Relationships
     This course provides information on building relationships, including strategies that assist people-served build connections  
  • Collaboration
    This course provides information on collaboration, including developing strategies that can improve teamwork.  
  • Development
    This course provides information on development, including partnering with employers and job-seekers and using strategies to network with and educate potential employers.  
  • Promoting Access
    This course provides information on promoting access, including identifying barriers to accessibility by people with disabilities by using  of principles of Universal Design to find ways to improve accessibility for everyone  
  • Cultural Impact
    This course provides information on cultural impact, including recognize the impact of the history of disability on modern support strategies; apply the principles of Normalization to supporting people with disabilities; apply the principles of the Social Model of Disability to supporting people with disabilities; and recognize how a person's identities and characteristics can intersect to affect their lives.  
  • Dealing with Workplace Expectations
    This course provides information on workplace expectations, including how to identify strategies for building confidence and positive attitude in people-served; how to choose appropriate work clothing that matches employee dress codes and job function; how to evaluate work strategies to identify important aspects of workplace culture; how to detect unwritten rules and expectations by observing workplaces.  
  • Job Seeking Skills
    This course provides information on job-seeking skills, including present a job seeker's accomplishments in the best possible light in a written resume and practice preparing a job-seeker for common interview scenarios  
  • Holistic Services (ESE C306)
    This course provides information on holistic services, including describe the role of families in employment supports; identify effective ways to collaborate with other professionals; find community resources that can improve the chances of a successful employment outcome; and evaluate transportation options available to people with disabilities.  
  • Advocacy (ESE C307)
    This course provides information on empowerment, including identifying effective strategies to support self-determination for people-served; evaluate techniques for teaching and supporting self-advocacy for people-served; describe how political policies and a DSP’s own actions impact the independence of people-served.  
  • Negotiation (ESE C305)
    This course provides information on negotiations, including analyze labor trends; formulate ways to sell employment services to potential employers; and respond to employer concerns about hiring people you serve.  
  • Alternative Communication Strategies (ESE C308)
    This course provides information on communication, including comparing the use of functional sign language; describe picture communication systems and compare Communication devices and systems for use with people-served.  
  • Behavior Support Strategies (ESE C309)
    This course provides information on behavioral support, including identifying ways to help people resolve insecurities and ambivalent feelings, and to help them find the internal motivation to change their behavior; distinguish between effective and ineffective strategies to reinforce replacement behaviors.  
  • Reporting Incidents & Accidents (ESE C310)
    This course provides information on documentation, including identify incident types that need to be reported, and the procedures for reporting them.  
  • Barriers to Socializing (ESE C311)
    This course provides information on socializing, including identifying ways to help people-served to develop the social and interpersonal skills they need for their job; and identify ways to help people-served overcome social anxiety.  
  • Other Employment Services (ESE C312)
    This course provides information on other employment services, including investigating how a person’s benefits may be impacted by earned income and identify ways that “job readiness” is assessed and supported  
  • Entrepreneurship (ESE C313)
    This course provides information on entrepreneurship, including compare self-employment with traditional competitive employment and identifies important factors in evaluating a business idea and developing a business plan.  
  • Professional Development (ESE C314)
    This course provides information on professional development, including CESP certified through APSE.  
  • Safe Lifting
  • Prevention of Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation and Mistreatment
  • Cultural Competence and Diversity
  • Safe Environments Renewal
  • DSP Incident Reporting
  • Workplace Inclusion 
    This course provides information on workplace inclusion, including   distinguishing between institutional & community-based supported employment;  identify interactions and environments that can disable and individual, and d escribe how diversity impacts teams  
  • Advocacy CH 2 Self-Advocacy
    This course provides essential information on the key elements of advocacy. The course includes 3 lessons: Self Determination, Self Advocacy, and Role of an Ally.  
  • Advocacy CH 3  Role of an Ally
    This course provides essential information on the key elements of advocacy. The course includes 3 lessons: Self Determination, Self Advocacy, and Role of an Ally.  
  • Behavior Support Strategies CH 2 Reinforcement Replacement Behaviors
    T his course explains the strategies staff can implement to provide behavioral support for persons served. The course includes 3 lessons: Motivational Interviewing, Reinforcing Replacement Behavior, and Avoiding Compassion Fatigue.  
  • Behavior Support Strategies CH 3 Avoiding Compassion Fatigue
    T his course explains the strategies staff can implement to provide behavioral support for persons served. The course includes 3 lessons: Motivational Interviewing, Reinforcing Replacement Behavior, and Avoiding Compassion Fatigue.  
  • Alternative Communication CH 1 Functional Sign Language
    This course explains the strategies for alternative communication from sign language to picture communication and using various electronic communication devices. The course is comprised of 3 lessons: Functional Sign Language, Picture Communication Systems, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems.  
  • Alternative Communication CH 2 Picture Communication Systems
    This course explains the strategies for alternative communication from sign language to picture communication and using various electronic communication devices. The course is comprised of 3 lessons: Functional Sign Language, Picture Communication Systems, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems.