FULL-TIME | WINNIPEG LOCATIONS DISAF-DP Disability and Community Support

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  • Two-year diploma 
  • Course-based registration (students can take this program on a full-time or part-time basis)
  • August entry date
  • Program Application Deadline: August 1st
  • Notre Dame Campus, Winnipeg
  • Workplace model 
  • Practicum, four placements (Residential, Employment/Day, Education, Final)
  • Joint degree option with University of Winnipeg 
  • Credit transfer opportunities with Universities
  • Optional one-year certificate exit
  • RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning)
  • If you have a criminal record you may not be able to complete this program. If you are listed on a Child Abuse Registry or Adult Abuse Registry you will not be able to complete this program. See Program Progression Requirements for more info. 
  • International applicants please visit Academic Program, Dates and Fees for a listing of programs for international students, current availability and online application instructions

In this diploma program, students will develop the knowledge, skills, and values required to support and enhance the lives of people with disabilities. Students will develop their ability to partner with community to support an inclusive society. They will gain skills and experience to support people with disabilities in their relationships and pursuits in a variety of settings, such as homes, schools, workplaces, community, and alternative day services. Students will experience a variety of Direct Support Professional roles through their practicum or fieldwork. On practicum and in class, students new to community living support will learn alongside experienced Direct Support Professionals.  

Admission Requirements

Your Academic History
If your academic history includes any of the following, please visit My Education for important information: post-secondary studies at an institution other than Red River College Polytechnic; Modified (M), English as an Additional Language (E), or GED high school courses; or home schooling; international secondary (high school) studies.
The college requires transcripts verifying your complete academic history including any public or private high school, college, university, or technical institute you have attended.


Upload Through Your Future Student Account

  • Scan your document(s) and save the file. Ensure you keep your original documents as the College may request to see them at any time.
  • Go to apply.rrc.ca and log in.
  • Click on your application, then Supplemental Items & Documents.

If you do not have a Future Student Account or require assistance, please contact our Student Service Centre at 204-632-2327.

Internationally Educated Applicants - visit www.rrc.ca/credentials for credential assessment information.

Submission of required documentation indicating proof of completion of admission requirements is due within 15 days of applying unless otherwise noted in the program's admission requirements.

However, if you apply within 6 weeks of the program start date, admission requirements are due within 5 days of applying.

This program requires completion of an assessment.  We strongly advise you complete the assessment before applying to ensure you meet this program's required levels. If you choose to complete the assessment after applying and do not achieve the required levels, your application will be cancelled without refund. See Regular Admission Requirement 2 for more information.

Volunteer or employment experience in the disability and community support sector is not an admission requirement but may be helpful preparation for this program.

Regular Admission Requirements

  1. Grade 12
    • Submit proof of graduation from or enrolment in Grade 12, including one credit of:
      • Grade 12 English
    • If you provide proof of enrolment at time of application, your official final grades indicating successful completion must be submitted by July 15 for fall enrolment or by the deadline specified in your admission letter
    • If you are required to complete an English language assessment, do not submit your transcripts until requested to do so.  See Regular Admission Requirement 2 for more information.
  2. English Language Assessment or Academic Communication Assessment
    • ALL applicants must complete either an English Language Assessment or the Academic Communication Assessment
    • We strongly advise you complete the assessment before submitting your application to ensure you meet required levels
    • Assessment results must be dated no more than two years prior to your application date
    • Before applying, determine which assessment is appropriate for your situation by answering this question: 
      Have I successfully completed three years of full-time high school (secondary) education in Canada, the United States, or an English language requirement (ELR) exempt country where English was the language of instruction?
      • If YES:
      • If NO:
        • Before applying, successfully complete one of this program's approved English language assessments (ELA) at the required levels
        • After applying, submit your ELA results. Once we confirm you meet this program's English language requirements, we will request submission of your transcripts* for review.
      • If you completed all of your education in Canada, the United States, or an ELR exempt country in English but you did not graduate high school:
    • * If your transcripts are from the USA or an ELR exempt country, we will assess an International Credentials Assessment Fee to be paid before your transcripts will be reviewed.
  3. Applicant Declaration for Check Documents Form

Mature Student Admission Requirements
If you are 19 years of age or older and have been out of high school for a minimum of one year at time of application, and you do not meet the regular admission requirements, you may apply under the Mature Student admission requirements.

  1. Academic Requirement
    • High school graduation is not required, but you must have successfully completed or be enrolled in:
      • One credit of Grade 12 English
    • If you provide proof of enrolment at time of application, your official final grades indicating successful completion must be submitted by July 15 for fall enrolment or by the deadline specified in your admission letter
    • If you are required to complete an English language assessment, do not submit your transcripts until requested to do so.  See Regular Admission Requirement 2 for more information.
  2. Meet Regular Admission Requirements 2 and 3

Program Progression Requirements
Program progression requirements are not due within 15 days of applying and should be submitted after you start classes.

  • Criminal Record and Adult and Child Abuse Checks
    • This program requires students to submit current original/official versions of one or more of the following checks:
      • Criminal Record Check (CRC)
      • Provincial Child Abuse Registry Check (CAR)
      • Adult Abuse Registry Check (AAR)
    • If you have a criminal record you may not be able to complete the program
    • If you are listed on an Abuse Registry you will not be able to complete the program
    • For details on this program's requirements, when to obtain and submit the documents, review the Applicant Declaration for Check Documents Form
    • These documents have expiration dates and should not be obtained prior to timeline indicated on the Applicant Declaration for Check Documents form
    • For general information on why RRC requires these checks and for links to check providers such as the Winnipeg Police, visit our Criminal Record Checks webpage
    • Submit your check documents to the RRC program contact listed on the Contact Information section of your program

English Language Assessments

English Language AssessmentMinimum Required Levels
L - Listening, S - Speaking, R - Reading, W - WritingLSRW
AEPUCE (Academic English Program of University and College Entrance )
Requirement: Submission of a parchment (certificate) indicating successful completion of the AEPUCE program, including language levels achieved if available.
CAEL and CAEL Online (Canadian Academic English Language)
CLB (LINC) (Canadian Language Benchmark - Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada)
Canadian Citizens: LINC programs are not available.
Duolingo (Duolingo English Test)


There are no minimum required levels for L,S,R,W.

Only Duolingo English Test scores that have been verified through the Duolingo English Test Portal will be accepted.

IELTS - Academic (International English Language Testing System)
Please Note: 3 year expiry date for Nursing Program Applicants
LSI (Language Studies International)
PTE - Academic Online Assessment (Pearson Test of English)
Password Skills (An in person English Language Assessment hosted by RRC Polytech)
This in-person, computer-based test is composed of four test modules: reading, writing, listening and speaking. The test takes 3 hours and 5 minutes to complete and is conducted in two parts. The first part assesses reading, listening, and writing, and the second part assesses speaking in a separate room. Password Skills costs $139 to take through RRC Polytech. Password Skills is hosted by the RRC Polytech Testing and Assessment Centre: E440, Manitou a bi Bii Daziigae building, on the fourth floor. If you wish to do Password Skills remotely (not in-person), Password Skills Plus can be taken online. RRC Polytech does not offer Password Skills Plus, but we do accept the results for entry into program.
Password Skills Plus (Password Skills Plus is an online assessment that can be taken instead of Password Skills. )
TOEFL-iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet Based Test)
To meet the needs of students who are unable to take the TOEFL iBT® test at a test center due to public health concerns, ETS is temporarily offering the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test in selected areas.

Who Should Enrol?

You should be a caring person, possess good communication skills, and have the desire and ability to work well with others. A high level of motivation and self-discipline, and good reading, study, and organizational skills are required. Flexible schedules are an asset as evening and weekend work may be required.

If you are an individual with two or more years of experience, currently working for agencies funded by the Department of Families, Community Living disAbility Services, and you wish to strengthen your knowledge and commitment to supporting persons with disabilities, you may apply as a workplace student. There may be tuition supports available through Family Services for workplace students. 

Locations, Dates and Fees

Next Estimated Term 1 Start Date (subject to change)

Location Start Date Apply Link
Notre Dame Campus Aug 26, 2024 Apply Now

Costs (estimates only; subject to change)

Program/Student Fees
Year 1
Year 2
Books and Supplies
Year 1
Year 2
Program/Student Fees (International)
Year 1
Year 2

Students may apply for financial assistance through the Manitoba Student Aid program. For general information on applying please call 204-945-6321 or 1-800-204-1685, or visit their website at www.manitobastudentaid.ca, which also includes an online application. For detailed information, please visit one of the RRC Polytech Student Service Centres or call 204-632-2327. Applicants requiring financial assistance should complete their student loan applications well in advance of the class start date.

Red River College Polytechnic is a participating institution in the HigherEdPoints program. Through this program, students are able to convert Aeroplan® Miles and TD Points into funds to help cover their tuition. Family members and friends can also contribute to a student’s education by converting their loyalty points - anyone can donate their points to an individual student.

Visit the HigherEdPoints website for more information about the program and/or to set up an account to convert your points.

Program Outline

Disability & Community Support Diploma – 74 credits

Term 1 (Fall)
  • COMM-1173 Communication Strategies
  • COMM-1174 Academic Writing
  • DCSP-1020 Employment & Disability
  • DCSP-1021 Values & Issues in Disability Studies
  • DCSP-1022 Supported Community Living
  • Practicum 1*
Term 2 (Winter)
  • COMM-2017 Essential Communication in Human Services
  • DCSP-2027 Exploring Disabilities
  • DCSP-2028 Understanding Complex Behavior
  • DCSP-2029 Applied Teaching & Learning
  • HUMA-1004 A Context for Practice with Indigenous Peoples
  • Practicum 2*
Term 3 (Fall)
  • DCSP-2030 Augmentative & Alternative Communication
  • DCSP-2031 Disability & Mental Health
  • DCSP-2032 Inclusive Education
  • DCSP-3002 Conceptual Frameworks in Disability Services
  • DCSP-3003 Applied Literacy
  • Practicum Education*
Term 4 (Winter)
  • DCSP-2033 Person Centred Planning
  • DCSP-2034 Leadership & Teamwork in Human Service Settings
  • DCSP-3004 Sexuality & Relationships
  • DCSP-3005 Advocacy & Disability
  • DCSP-4002 Community Membership
  • Practicum Final*
*Please note that students may choose to arrange a paid practicum in the role of a Direct Support Professional in the field of disability supports. To earn practicum credit, this placement must be pre-approved by the program, meeting the requirements of the program and the Learning Outcomes of the practicum course. For students not pursuing a paid practicum, the program will arrange an unpaid practicum placement.

*Please also note that Workplace students sponsored by the Department of Families should explore Recognition of Prior Learning Process (RPL) instead of registering for practicum. Information about RPL can be viewed here: https://www.rrc.ca/advising/rpl/ To contact RPL email: AQ-RPL@rrc.ca.

Courses and Descriptions

(Click the course name to view the description of the course)
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
In addition to Transfer of Credit from a recognized post secondary institution, other RPL processes are available for RPL courses. Click here for more information. For courses with no RPL, please check www.rrc.ca/rpl for additional contact information.
COMM-1173Communication StrategiesRPL
More Information

Everyone communicates, but are they doing it well? Communicative competence takes practice and self-awareness. By developing their communication skills, the student will improve their interpersonal ability, intercultural competence, and digital fluency to prepare the student for success in the workplace. In Communication Strategies, the student will learn through discovery and project-based activities to practice approaching situations critically and collaboratively. The strategies the student will gain in this course will be useful throughout their program and in their chosen industry.

COMM-1174Academic WritingRPL
More Information

This course explores reading for comprehension, written and presentation communication skills. Students practice academic and objective writing. Students examine the research process for academic and practical purposes, proper referencing methods, and literature review techniques. 

COMM-2017Essential Communication in Human Service
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Students will continue to develop essential communication skills necessary in the field of human services in order to better understand how and why we communicate with each other. Students will work to improve their skills to support others using effective communication. Students will be introduced to the helping relationship using key aspects of psychology and to an in-depth exploration of communication styles, within various forms of relationships. Interpersonal communication with respect to cross-cultural, Indigenous and diverse perspectives is examined.

DCSP-1020Employment and Disability
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Students will explore the role of work as well as the range of vocational options currently available to people with disabilities. Supported Employment, will be a major focus, with the student learning about the process, strategies, values, key concepts, marketing approaches and trends related to the supported employment model.

DCSP-1021Values and Issues in Disability
More Information

Students will be introduced to the role that values and attitudes play in the development of services and support for people with disabilities. The history of North American disability services and support (1800s – present) is presented, including the implications of institutionalization, eugenics. In addition, students will explore current topics that potentially have a heightened effect on individuals who have a disability.

DCSP-1022Supported Community Living
More Information

This course provides students with an opportunity to explore the range of residential options currently available in the community through Community Living disAbility Services (CLdS). They will identify the skills necessary to assist people with disabilities to develop their own sense of home. Students will describe the key features of self-managed care, aging in place, residential licensing procedures, and the role of the Direct Support Professional (DSP). Students will become familiar with home management, financial management, nutrition and menu planning. They will also learn to provide health-related care to people with disabilities while attending to factors such as advocacy, privacy, safe practice, and individual preference when administering medications and providing personal care. The theme of home as a basic human need is related to each topic. 

DCSP-2027Exploring Disabilities
More Information

This course provides students with an introduction to various disabilities and the implications for supporting people in their daily lives. Students will explore the etiology, diagnoses and characteristics associated with a variety of disabilities as well as current support strategies. By the end of this course, students will have increased awareness of local supports and services available.

DCSP-2028Understanding Complex Behaviour
More Information

In this course students will explore the context of behavioural difficulties and articulate the underlying conflicts that may lead persons with disabilities to demonstrate complex behaviour.  Students will practice a variety of approaches when supporting a person. Students will also focus on self-care for the Direct Support Professional (DSP) and develop individualized wellness strategies.

DCSP-2029Applied Teaching and Learning
More Information

In this course students will learn various strategies for supporting people with disabilities in learning new tasks, pursuing their goals, and increasing independence in employment, residential, and community settings. Students will review current approaches to planning for learners and will put into practice the concepts, considerations, approaches and methods of effective individualized teaching.

DCSP-2030Augmentative and Alternative Communication
More Information

Students will be introduced to a range of Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems (AAC). Students will explore essential concepts, information, resources, and practices necessary to support the right of all individuals to communicate.

DCSP-2031Disability and Mental Health
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This course provides students with an introduction to various mental health conditions and the implications for supporting people in their daily lives. Students will learn about how persons with intellectual disabilities are affected by mental health conditions (dual diagnosis) and explore possible treatment/prevention and current support strategies. By the end of this course, students will have increased awareness of strategies for promoting positive mental health as well as knowledge of local supports and services. 

DCSP-2032Inclusive Education
More Information

This course will acquaint students with the Manitoba education system and will provide strategies for supporting children and youth in an inclusive education environment. The evolution of special education services, the range of existing educational opportunities and the role of an educational assistant will be explored. This learning will be reinforced by completing the education-based practicum as part of the Disability and Community Support Program.

DCSP-2033Person Centered Planning
More Information

Students will explore and apply the values, principles, and practices of person-centered planning using tools such as PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) and MAP (Making Action Plans). Students will describe how these tools increase the possibility of community inclusion, personal empowerment, and individual development for persons with disabilities. Students will also review current planning practices in Manitoba and the requirement to do planning as outlined in the Vulnerable Person’s Act. 

DCSP-2034Leadership and Teamwork in Human Services Settings
More Information

This course prepares students for meaningful work, by providing them with information and techniques to engage effectively in collaborative and dynamic human service settings. Students will develop skills aimed at increasing their confidence and ability to contribute to a team environment. The concept of ‘leadership at all levels’ is woven through the topics, with emphasis on self-awareness, constructive communication and team building. 

DCSP-3002Conceptual Frameworks in Disability Services
More Information

This course introduces students to the design and delivery of human services in the field of community living support. Students will become familiar with conceptual frameworks used to develop and evaluate the quality and effectiveness of a community living service. Students will practice informal evaluation for the purpose of service enhancement, using frameworks such as Social Role Valorization and Person Centred Approach, including Empowerment, Self-Determination, and Personal Outcome Measures. 

DCSP-3003Applied Literacy
More Information

Students will practice a variety of strategies that will assist people with disabilities to incorporate literacy into their everyday life experiences. Students will prepare and deliver individualized literacy plans through tutoring an adult learner with a disability in the areas of reading, writing, and numeracy. By the end of this course, students will better understand the impact of low literacy as well as the characteristics of effective tutor/learner relationships.

DCSP-3004Sexuality and Relationships
More Information

Students will identify and implement teaching strategies to encourage healthy attitudes towards sexuality and relationships for and with people who have disabilities. Areas of specific focus include sexual diversity, self-esteem, self-care, choice-making in intimate relationships, as well as the prevention of sexual abuse and sexually transmitted diseases.

DCSP-3005Advocacy and Disability
More Information

Students will be introduced to the concept of advocacy and various forms of advocacy. Students will examine the concept of rights and protections for people with disabilities. This course develops awareness needed to respond to, support and practice advocacy related to issues impacting people with disabilities.

DCSP-4002Community Membership
More Information

Students will identify the competencies required to facilitate and support the meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities into the community. They will examine the concepts of integration and community, as well as learn a variety of strategies to facilitate successful community membership.

HUMA-1004A Context for Practice With Indigenous Peoples
More Information

This course is intended to familiarize students with some of the current issues facing Indigenous children, youth and families in Manitoba. The themes of historical context and cultural humility in helping skills are the foundational theories. We will work toward embracing an Indigenous worldview in our practice and develop culturally respectful anti-oppressive child and youth care practice. Topics in the course include the impact of colonization and residential schools, the child welfare system, past and present, racism and prejudice and individual practitioner self-awareness.

PRAC-1090Practicum 1RPL
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Practicum 1 provides students with an opportunity to gain field experience in a Residential or Employment/Day Service setting. This practical experience is supported by coursework where students will debrief about practicum experiences in relation to desired outcomes for persons with disabilities. Students will focus on the principles of The Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability Act (VPA), as outlined by the Province of Manitoba. 

Over the course of the Disability and Community Support Program, students will complete practicum experience in two types of settings. In these settings, students will be introduced to and observe and practice skills required for these Direct Support Professional roles. Practicum-Residential involves working primarily evening hours and at least one weekend. Practicum Employment/Day involves working daytime hours.   

PRAC-2090Practicum 2RPL
More Information

Practicum 2 provides students with an opportunity to gain field experience in a Residential or Employment/Day Service setting. This practical experience is supported by coursework where students will debrief about practicum experiences in relation to desired outcomes for persons with disabilities. Students will focus on the principles of group dynamics, teamwork, and planning for personal and professional growth in order to make a valuable contribution to their practicum/workplace setting.

Over the course of the Disability and Community Support Program, students will complete practicum experience in two types of settings. In these settings, students will be introduced to and observe and practice skills required for these Direct Support Professional roles. Practicum-Residential involves working primarily evening hours and at least one weekend. Practicum Employment/Day involves working daytime hours.

PRAC-3090Practicum 3RPL
More Information

Practicum-Education provides students with an opportunity to gain experience supporting children/youth in an educational setting. This practicum enables students to observe and practice the skills needed to work as an Educational Assistant in a school setting.

PRAC-4090Practicum FinalRPL
More Information

(No description available at this time)


CO-OP/Practicum Information

Practicum/Paid Practicum: Work integrated learning is an important part of the program. During these periods, for unpaid practica you will be placed in service agencies where you will work with individuals with disabilities. For paid practicum students will secure their own placements. The program must approve these placements and will provide guidance and support. The remainder of the program focuses on classroom course work. The courses and practica will provide you with skills to enable you to support individuals with disabilities.

Workplace students, that is, students with two or more years of full-time experience working for services funded by Family Services, will be eligible to complete a Practica Challenge.

Computer/Laptop Requirements

Online learning is a critical component of course delivery in all Red River College Polytechnic programs. To ensure each student has the tools they need to achieve their academic goals, all Red River College Polytechnic students require, at minimum:

1.  Off-campus access to a current computer with a webcam

2.  A high speed internet connection

• Recommended minimum speed: 10 mbps for download, 3 mbps for upload
• Slower internet connection speeds may result in audio and video issues. Please keep in mind that if others in your home are using the same internet connection at the same time as you are, you may also experience audio and video issues.
• Please refer to https://www.rrc.ca/future-students/computer-requirements/ for further information on Computer Requirements for Students.

Please note that any anticipated costs are not included in Books and Supplies estimates.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process which documents and compares an individual's prior learning gained from prior education, work and life experiences and personal study to the learning outcomes in College courses/programs. For more information, please visit www.rrc.ca/rpl.

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the Disability & Community Support Program with a diploma, all students must satisfactorily complete all 20 courses in the program (total 60 credit hours) plus the 4 practicum courses (14 credit hours). Students must also have achieved a cumulative program GPA of 2.0 to graduate.

Employment Potential

Follow up research consistently shows that close to 100% of graduates find employment in the field or proceed to further education. Community options for people with disabilities have created a need for qualified personnel to work in a variety of settings including educational, residential, developmental, and employment or vocational services. Graduates are respected professionals who enjoy a very high employment rate. Previous graduates have found employment in community and government services in the following roles:

  • Direct support professionals
  • Residential support workers
  • Educational assistants in schools
  • Supported employment personnel
  • Vocational support workers
  • Individual support personnel
  • Respite workers
  • Rehabilitation workers
  • Family support workers
  • Program support and development personnel
  • Advocacy personnel

Our most recent statistics show that an average salary of $38,220 six months after graduation with a DCS Diploma. Prospects for advancement exist in related coordinator, supervisory, and management positions.

Academic Advising Service
Our academic advising service can provide information about our full-time programs, explain program admission requirements, and help you select the right program to meet your career and academic goals. We can also connect you with helpful people, resources, and supports.
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Red River College Polytechnic endeavours to provide the most current version of all program and course information on this website. Please be advised that classes may be scheduled between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. The College reserves the right to modify or cancel any course, program, process, or procedure without notice or prejudice. Fees may change without notice.