developmental disabilities1 Essay

Imagine seeing the world through the eyes of a person with a

disability. For an individual employed with the Bay St. George

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Community Employment Corporation, this is a major aspect of

his/her job as a human service worker.

Located in Stephenville, “The Bay St. George Community

Employment Corporation is an innovative organization which is

responsible for developing training and employment for people

with developmental disabilities and supporting them”(The Bay St.

George Community Employment Corporation,1999,p.3). The purpose

of the organization is to help individuals find suitable work in

the form of a regular paying job, or by owning their own

business. One on one support, or a co-worker is provided to help

the individual make a successful transformation into the

workforce. According to The Bay St. George Community Employment

Corporation(1999), the agency typically serves clients from

Stephenville and the surrounding areas, who have received

referrals from other human services organizations such as Human

Resources & Employment and Community Health & Employment. The

agency operates on a weekly basis, Monday to Friday, from eight-

The typical job description of a co-worker consists of

supporting an individual with a developmental disability in

his/her day to day activities. More specifically, the job of a

co-worker involves walking the individual through the specific

job or task through modelling or demonstration to ensure that the

individual successfully completes the assigned task. For

example, the co-worker may have to guide the individual through

the process of using a tool such as a shovel or rake. As well as

work related tasks, co-workers are also responsible for ensuring

that the individual has access to others without disabilities and

is frequently given the opportunity to socialize. To allow for

regular interaction with other individuals, the individual and

the co-worker will often go out to eat at a restaurant of the

individual’s or his choice. Likewise, the role of the co-worker

involves being aware of the individual’s basic needs and allowing

these needs to be met. For example, the co-worker must provide

transportation to and from the individual’s workplace. They must

also arrange for the individual to return home if he/she becomes

The job of co-worker, includes many exciting opportunities

and benefits. The co-worker is given the chance to attend team

meetings and to possibly become an advocate for the person they

are supporting. The salary of a co-worker ranges from

approximately $8.87 to $10.18 per hour and the individual is

entitled to certain benefits. For example, each co-worker is

presented with a group plan which they can pay into in order to

receive dental and medical insurance. Co-workers are also

granted an annual leave(fourteen to thirty days) and a family

leave(five days), depending on the level of seniority of the co-

To become a co-worker, one must demonstrate particular

skills, personal qualities, training and an educational

background. For example, when supporting someone with a

disability, one must show the skill of patience in order deal

with certain behaviors that may arise, or to repeat tasks until

the individual with a disability can successfully master them.

One must also acquire certain personal qualities. For example,

when dealing with a person with a disability, one must be

sensitive, taking into consideration the tone of voice and rate

of speech used when speaking to a person with a disability.

Also, one must have trained in the areas of crisis intervention

and first aid, to allow workers to deal with both crisis and

Furthermore, To be a successful as a co-worker, one must

have an educational background in the field of disabilities. A

college diploma or university degree is attainable through a

Community Studies program at the College of the North Atlantic,

or the University College of Cape Breton. Additionally, the

corporation offers much opportunity for advancement. The agency

can grant a leave of absence to individuals wishing to undergo

educational pursuits. Those who have furthered their education,

may in future, wish to branch into other related disabilities

areas. These areas may include placement officer(finding

employment for individuals with disabilities), director for

residential support(finding suitable living arrangements for

persons with disabilities) and behavior management

specialist(helping to manage or control unacceptable behaviors

sometimes displayed by individuals with disabilities).

In Conclusion, the role of co-worker is most suitable for

one who possesses the skills, training and educational background

mentioned above. As well, someone who enjoys interacting with

and desires to make a change in the life of a person with a


Bay St. George Community Employment Corporation (1999). Draft

Stephenville, NF: Bay St. George Community Employment

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