College of Direct Support

Online Training for Direct Support Professionals

Working with Iowa’s Department of Human Services, the Center for Disabilities and Development served as administrator for pilot testing the use of the College of Direct Support (CDS), a web-based curriculum and learning management system, designed to train direct support professionals (DSPs) who work with individuals who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Iowa Association of Community Providers now offers administrative assistance to providers statewide working with individuals with intellectual disabilities.

During the planning for Iowa’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) program, stakeholders identified the need to improve the training of DSPs to provide home and community-based services throughout the state. In particular, they cited the need for behavior supports training and for online access to training.

To meet these needs, the State secured access to the CDS curriculum and learning management system to increase provider capacity through a better-trained workforce, and promote the success of MFP. The CDS curriculum includes general courses for those who provide direct supports and services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and courses that are designed for those with supervisory and management responsibilities. The curriculum features a 7-lesson course on behavior supports training, and a series of disability-intensive courses on topics, such as autism, cerebral palsy, depression and brain injury.

If you are interested in learning more about the College of Direct Support or gaining access to the CDS curriculum and learning management system, please contact Brita Nelson at or (563) 380-0151.

Visit the College of Direct Support for additional information.