One of ABLE, Inc.'s value statements reads "We believe that by transforming one life, you transform many". I'm proud to say that my life has been transformed in many ways through my work. The experiences that I've gained and knowing the impact that I've made, has been one of the greatest joys in my life. Every time a new employee walks into the door, I yearn for them to experience the same. There is so much to learn at first through training classes, worksite routines, and most importantly, getting to know the people you'll be supporting. Another essential component of training is the Developmental Disability Certification required by the ND Department of Human Services Developmental Disabilities Division.
As a young college student, I was very interested in this as it was one more layer of experience that I could add to my resume. To become DD Certified, employees study materials or attend classes on various topics related to their job such as Medications, Positive Behavior Supports, Working with Families, etc. and then complete a test. Some modules have a practicum to complete by applying knowledge from your worksite. At ABLE, Inc. employees are awarded a salary increase once they have completed all 12 modules required for DD certification.
Kie Lie Mosbrucker, an employee in Hettinger, states "The module curriculum is a benefit to us as employees. Many people want to complete it to get the pay raise, but it's not about that. The modules helped me learn so much about the people I support, the little things that I didn't understand. By studying the Autism module, I knew how to communicate better with someone. It made such a difference."
Kie Lie is now DD certified but continues to take additional module tests to complete an Advanced Certification. She says, "The more that I understand, the more success I have had, and the more I've loved my job and the people I support. It makes me want to keep learning!"
As an agency trainer, I work with employees to complete their modules, offering support and test modifications if needed. Some are nervous about the curriculum as they may have English as a second language, test anxiety, or have been out of school for years. It isn't always easy. I just love being there to assist them through the process, watching as they gain confidence and strengthen their skills along the way to DD certification. As we continue to learn, lives are transforming here at ABLE, Inc. everyday, for the people we support and for our employees.
Minot State University works with the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities to provide career ladder opportunities if employees are interested in furthering their education in the field through this curriculum. ABLE, Inc. has employees who have taken advantage of this and received their Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees in Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. For more information on the Community Staff Training Program, visit www.ndcpd.org/cstp.html