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What is the Job Description for a Disability Support Worker?

Disabled persons are just like everyone else. They want the freedom to live in their own homes and to run errands and commute around town as they please. Often when you hear the word disabled you automatically think of someone that is physically disabled. But, a disability can also refer to those individuals with mental disabilities such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. There are also developmental disorders that classify a person as disabled. You need to know more about some of these disabilities before making the decision to become a disability support worker. It takes a special person to aid these individuals in daily activities and you should be applauded for taking this first step.

Disabilities You Will Encounter

A physical disability is any condition that permanently prevents normal body movement and/or control. Some examples of physical disabilities are: visual impairments, hearing impairments, traumatic brain injuries and mobility impairments, which include cerebral palsy, Parkinson's Disease, stoke, muscular dystrophy and paralysis. Chronic illnesses such as cancer, asthma, diabetes, HIV and chronic fatigue syndrome are also considered physical disabilities.

Mental disabilities can be just as debilitating as physical disabilities. Some examples of mental disabilities are: depression, learning disabilities, bipolar disorder, anxiety, Alzheimer's Disease, phobias and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As a disability support worker, you will need to learn more about these disorders and how to deal with the symptoms and manifestations of these disabilities.

Developmental disabilities include, Down's Syndrom, autism, Asperger Syndrome, dyslexia and ADD/ADHD. As with physical and mental disabilities, you will need to make yourself familiar with these disabilities to be an effective disability support worker.

Job Description of a Disability Support Worker

Disability Support Workers (DSW) assist people in their own homes as well as other residential settings. You will help with day to day chores such as, cleaning, laundry and paying bills. DSW's also assist disabled people with recreational outings, educational pursuits and job training, when feasible. A typical day would be to arrive at a person's home, assist them with paying bills, help to prepare lunch, assist with cleaning the dishes, and then grocery shopping. Upon your return, you would help to put groceries away and discuss any problems the consumer may be dealing with.

Of course, your work days will never be the same. People have different needs on any given day. You will need to be flexible and adapt to change easily.

Working Hours

Depending on the type of facility that you choose to work in, your hours will be different. There usually is no set hours that you will be needed to work as every consumer needs different assistance at different times of the day. You may be required to work days, nights, weekends and holidays.


You will need to be a high school graduate to be a disability support worker. On the job training is available once you begin your new career.

Most agencies will also require a child abuse clearance and a background check before hiring you as a disability support worker.

To become a disability support worker, you must believe in equal rights for all human beings. You must embrace diversity and realize that all people can make a contribution to society.


Salary is dependent upon the experience level that you have. If you have been a disability support worker in the past, there is a good chance that you will get paid more than a newcomer to the field.

Most agencies offer a shift differential as well. For example, you will get paid more for working nights and weekends than you would working daytime hours during the week.

Places of Employment for DSW's

Disability support workers can work in a variety of settings. These setting include, but are not limited to, nursing homes, residential homes, personal homes and community centers.

You Can Make a Difference

Disability is a word that can encompass many different types of disorders. You will need to make yourself knowledgeable in all of these areas before you can be effective as a disability support worker. Know what disabilities affect your clients and learn all that you can in order to serve them the best way that you can. It takes a special individual to become a disability support worker.

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