Addictions, Concurrent Disorders and Motivational Interviewing in Developmental Services

Developed in partnership with Participation House Durham.

Who is this for?

Clinicians working with people who have developmental service needs. Includes but is not limited to: Registered Nurses, Allied Health workers, Psychotherapists


This course has been carefully designed to empower caregivers working with individuals who have developmental disabilities, enabling them to collaboratively support their wards on the journey through substance use. Throughout the course, participants will acquire a comprehensive understanding of historical perspectives on addictions within the caregiving community, vulnerabilities specific to those with intellectual disabilities, and effective strategies for facilitating recovery. The emphasis is on empowering the clients under their care to take control of their recovery journey. This is achieved through the application of strength-based skill building, motivational interviewing, and a person-centered approach.

In this course you will learn how to:

  1. Understand the various types of addictions and the relationship between MI and stigma in developmental services.
  2. Identify which stage of change a person with an addiction/concurrent disorder is in.
  3. Identify presentations of substance use and signs of withdrawal and overdose.
  4. Integrate emotional validation, non-judgmental inquiry, compassion, respect of autonomy when conversing with a person with an addiction/concurrent disorder and developmental disability.
  5. Implement OARS (open-ended questions, affirmations, reflections, and summary) during the motivational interview with a person with a developmental disability.


By the end of this course you will be able to collaboratively support a person with a developmental disability through their journey of substance use by empowering them to take control of the steps they take towards recovery. This includes identifying the presence of substance use, current stage of change, applying strength-based skill building and motivational interviewing.

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