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Home Campus News Loyalist College DSW Students Support Living Well with Parkinson’s Disease

Loyalist College DSW Students Support Living Well with Parkinson’s Disease

April 15, 2010

Amy Kelly and Karen Holley are second-year students in the Developmental Services Worker (DSW) program at Loyalist College. They were selected by their faculty to organize a one-day conference, Life After Diagnosis — Living Well With Parkinson’s Disease, which was held at the college on April 10th. Their goal was to become more adept at event organization, promotion and volunteer recruitment. These skills were strengthened — and they grew in ways they never anticipated. They discovered the power of teamwork as students from the DSW, Personal Support Worker (PSW) and Nursing programs generously gave of their personal time to work at the event. They realized a sense of accomplishment when almost 200 people attended the conference. They gained an understanding and awareness of Parkinson’s disease and the impact it has on those with Parkinson’s, their caregivers, and their friends and families.   

Karen Holley, DSW student
Karen Holley, DSW student


“The goal of the conference was to heighten the awareness of Parkinson’s disease, not only for those living with this diagnosis, but for health care professionals, students and caregivers, plus provide information about young onset Parkinson’s,” said Karen. “While organizing this event we discovered how little the public knew about the disease.”



Amy Kelly, DSW student
Amy Kelly, DSW student


“The project, like so many others that we have been involved with in the DSW program, has helped me grow on many levels,” Amy added. “This learning has affected not only myself, but my family as well. There have been many evenings when we have talked about the challenges that individuals with physical and learning disabilities face. It’s important for my children to have a deeper understanding and empathy for all people and the different situations they are coping with.”

The DSW program helps students develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes that can empower adults and children with disabilities. They learn to facilitate greater inclusion through supported community living and understand the attitudinal and physical barriers that those with disabilities encounter — and collaborating with them to advocate for change. Over 500 hours of field placement give the students opportunities to assist people with the tasks of daily living. Graduates work as developmental services workers, activity directors, and educational assistants; with seniors; and, in the education, health, employment and recreational fields.

Karen is currently working for Plainfield Community Homes and would eventually like to work as an educational assistant for a school board. “The possibilities are endless when you graduate from this program. The faculty is amazing. They provide a perfect balance — they challenge us, support us and encourage us to succeed.”

For more information about the DSW program click here.