Tags: Vol. 1, Issue 2, December 2020
By Vriti Bajaj
“Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.” - Shannon L. Alder
These words have always resonated with me.
As a proud graduate of the Developmental Service Worker (DSW) program in 2019, I have had many opportunities knocking at my door.
Prior to coming to Humber as an International student, I had completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Madras, in India, and had a plethora of work experience including supporting children with learning disabilities and working on a meta-analysis study in a mental health hospital and research centre. I also did a study abroad exchange in Germany, which enabled me to acquire cultural knowledge.
I moved to Canada to broaden my horizons in education, knowledge-acquisition and to gain the global experience in living in one of the world's most diverse countries. I had completed a course in Autism and Behavioural Sciences from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, gaining hands-on experiences by having placements in schools and community agencies for individuals with developmental disabilities.
I then started at Humber to complete a DSW diploma which gave me insight to advocate for individuals with disabilities within our community. The DSW program ensures students receive the best possible experience in the field, helping to make them job ready. I had the opportunity to intern at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). I have also worked with the Global Autism Project since 2018, in countries like China and the Czech Republic, advocating for the use of sustainable and evidence-based practices for autism services. In 2019, I also had the opportunity to attend World Autism Day hosted by the United Nations. I am currently employed as a DSW at Community Living North Halton in a specialized treatment home for adult males with autism, aiding them in maximizing their quality of life.
The best way to present yourself to prospective employers is by having a well-structured resume, highlighting all of your accomplishments, and remembering the necessary core competencies of our field. Humber’s Student Centre for Success has a plethora of information and helped me to become job-ready and confident through workshops, formatting of documents, and mock interviews. The support I received from the department while travelling abroad to do advocacy work in China, was outstanding. The faculty has really encouraged me to make a difference in the lives of people we support by giving me the necessary appreciation and confidence. They are always there to answer your questions or link you with wonderful community agencies. The teaching, along with group-related assignments, help students to get a taste of real-life situations in the workplace.
My experience in the program was nothing short of wonderful - the faculty, courses and learning are truly life-changing. My message to aspiring DSWs: There is nothing more rewarding than seeing individuals you support daily make strides. As a graduate, employers value the DSW diploma from Humber and are honoured to have us on board.