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Serving the Mental Health Needs of Persons with a Developmental Disability


Serving the Mental Health Needs of Persons with a Developmental Disability

Individuals with a developmental disability are at higher risk of experiencing mental health problems.  Often their mental health problems go undiagnosed because they are attributed solely to their cognitive impairment or considered “behavioural problems”.  It is crucial for caregivers to understand how mental health problems may present in those with a developmental disability along with evidence-based strategies to effectively support and care for those they support.

This 12-hour training will present a trauma-Informed and Bio-Psycho-Social approach to care, exploring the topics of developmental disabilities and mental health with a focus on prevention, assessment, and support.

Applying a Trauma-Informed and Bio-Psycho-Social approach to care, participants will be introduced to the topic of developmental disabilities and mental health with a focus on Prevention, Assessment and Support. Caregivers and supports will gain a deeper understanding of the effects of mental health concerns as well as how to develop resilience and mental wellness. Participants will be introduced to a variety of assessment and screening tools to assist in understanding challenging situations or behaviours.

This training will review a variety of effective and evidence-based strategies that aim to prevent challenging situations through a strengths-based approach. Training participants will be introduced to a variety of techniques and strategies that will assist in supporting individuals through challenging and/or crisis situations.  Understanding the impact of challenging situations for the caregiver, this training will also focus on the importance of self-care to effectively support others through the creation of a self-care tool kit.

Through an interactive approach, participants will work through case studies where they will have an opportunity to apply their learnings.  A variety of resources and tools will be provided to each participant for their future use. Should a participant miss a day of training, a recording will be made available upon request.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe developmental disabilities, mental health problems/disorders, dual diagnosis, and their characteristics.
  2. Examine the Bio-Psycho-Social context and mental health well-being of individuals with a developmental disability.
  3. Outline and implement a Trauma-Informed Care approach.
  4. Apply prevention, assessment, and support strategies in supporting an individual with a developmental disability.
  5. Recognize the importance of self-care for the carer.

Who Should Attend 

This course is recommended for direct support professionals, caregivers, supports and others that work with people with developmental disabilities.

Course Dates & Format

June 25, 26 & July 2, 3, 2024

12:30pm-3:30pm ET

This is a 12-hour training. This course consists of four 3-hour interactive virtual sessions using Zoom.

Instructor:  Leah Jeffery, MSW, RSW

Leah Jeffery is a Registered Social Worker with a degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work.  She has spent the last two decades working in the field of mental health and developmental disabilities.  She currently works as a Clinical Manager within the Developmental Sector supporting a team of diverse clinicians who support adults with intellectual disabilities and is a part time professor at Mohawk College in the Continuing Education department where she teaches within the Human Services programs. She has been teaching Mental Health First Aid and training in Trauma and Developmental Disabilities for over 10 years.  She has worked in Canadian Mental Health Association’s crisis programs including COAST, Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team and their residential crisis bed program.  She is currently a member of the CMHA Niagara’s Board of Directors.   Leah’s passion is to equip and develop capacity in the field of developmental disability and mental health with a foundation of Trauma-Informed Care. 

Training Fee

Member Fee: $275.00 + $35.75 (HST) = $310.75

Non-Member Fee:  $325.00 + $42.25 (HST) = $367.25

Group Registration: Save 20% off individual fees with a group registration of 4 or more participants. Download the group registration form HERE.

Continuing Education Information 

12 CECs with OAMHP

Licensing boards and professional organizations will grant Continuing Education credits for attendance at their discretion when participants submit the course outline and certificate.


This is available as an in-person or virtual in-service training and customized to suit your needs.

To Register

Register for June 18, 19, 25, 26, 2024 here https://www.safeguards-trainin...opmental-disability/

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