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South Dakota Council on Developmental Disabilities


Internet-Based Learning for Direct Support Professionals, People with Disabilities, Families & others in South Dakota

What is the College of Direct Support (CDS)?

CDS is a high quality, comprehensive, cost-effective, engaging and on-demand training curriculum for people who support individuals with disabilities. The training is delivered in a web-based format and is available anytime, anywhere.

CDS offers carefully designed training in content areas that have been identified as critical for success at assisting people to live self-directed lives in communities of their choice. The curriculum is authored by staff at the University of Minnesota. Each course is reviewed by a group of four to six content and training experts from the National Board of Editors who serve as editors and advisors to all course development.

CDS was introduced in December 2003 and is a collaborative effort between the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center on Community Living and MC Strategies/Elsevier, the world’s largest publishing company.

CDS also includes the College of Frontline Supervision and Management,” a set of 5 Courses designed to train supervisors and those aspiring to move into supervisory positions.

For up-to-date news articles, course lists, eNewsletters and other information, visit their website:

CDS Core Values . . .

The College of Direct Support strives to reflect a core set of values in the training programs it provides.

  • Inclusion and community membership.
  • Full citizenship and honored rights.
  • Independent and productive living.
  • Safe and healthy lives.
  • Choice and self-determined lives.
  • Sustained valued relationships.
  • Competent and effective direct support.
  • Stable and dependable Support
  • Ethical value-based treatment
  • Leadership development

What is the South Dakota College of Direct Support?
Our Purpose/Goal: Build the capacity of the system in order to expand choices people with developmental disabilities have in their lives through integration of the College of Direct Support (CDS) and the College of Frontline Supervision (CFSM) into the on-going training activities in nineteen community agencies, the SD Developmental Center, and the Division of Developmental Disabilities Family Support 360 program

SD CDS has been a collaborative effort, begun May 1, 2004, of the South Dakota Association of Community Based Services (SDACBS), the South Dakota Council on Developmental Disabilities, the South Dakota Developmental Center, and the Center for Disabilities with past financial support from the Department of Human Services/Division of Developmental Disabilities.

SD CDS is being utilized in exciting and creative ways to improve training opportunities for over 4000 support staff and frontline supervisors and 180+ people with disabilities and their families in all 19 community-based agencies, the South Dakota Developmental Center and for people choosing to self-direct their services through participation in Family Support 360. We believe the CDS is a vital tool in our ongoing quest to provide direct support staff with the training, the professional involvement and the recognition they deserve.

The SD CDS Project Workgroup is comprised of each agency’s CDS Learning Administrator, the Executive Director of SDACBS, a representative from the Division of Developmental Disabilities and a representative of Family Support 360. It is facilitated by the part-time Manager, SD College of Direct Support located at the Center for Disabilities. The workgroup meets 3 to 4 times each year to share ideas, discuss implementation progress and challenges and to plan for the future.

What South Dakota CDS Learners are Saying . . .

“I found as I progressed through each lesson that everything we do and say to people we support . . .  has a certain effect on each person . . .  Every lesson contained . . .  something that I could use being a DSP.” DSP, Northern Hills Training Center

“I hope that other people, especially people with disabilities and their families, try the CDS. It is a good way for people to improve their lives and gain independence.” Andrea Terrell, Consumer, ECCO, Inc.

“CDS is a comprehensive, up-to-date MENU of courses that “come to you” vs. having to take time to research a topic, i.e. Diabetes; to schedule the training; and to pay someone to provide it”.-Dan Cross, CDS Learning Administrator, Northern Hills Training Center

“Each lesson that I have completed either validates or refreshes the understanding that I have obtained over the 25+ years that I have worked in this field. I applaud CDS for providing the tools that help to ensure that a high ‘standard of service provision’ can be expected by any consumer and/or their advocates no matter from whom they receive services or supports.”                                                                               Karla Kessler, Service Coordinator, ECCO, Inc.

“I have been using many of the lessons in the CDS as a teaching tool with the young adults in my classroom.  I work with approximately 10 Special Education students and 10 adults with traumatic brain injuries. Many of the individuals have commented on how much they like the classes and the format used in the lessons. We have many discussions concerning the issues presented.  We do the pre-tests and then continue through the lessons. We do the post-tests as a class to measure comprehension. The CDS has been a very good teaching tool and a great resource to the young adults I teach”.
Patrick McDonald, Special Education Director, Ability Building Services

 “Primarily as a result of our success in implementation of the CDS in South Dakota, I see potential for this training becoming a greater resource to consumers, families, special education programs, higher education/technical institutes, and a host of other entities that will, in the future, greatly have a positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities.” Tom Scheinost, former Executive Director, SDACBS.

To learn more about the
South Dakota College of Direct Support
and how you might become involved, contact:
Eileen Van Soest
Manager, SD College of Direct Support
Center for Disabilities
Sanford School of Medicine
The University of South Dakota
1400 W. 22nd St.
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
605 357-1476
A University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service