01.04.15 - Disabilities Services Worker (DSW) Job Description

Disabilities Services Worker (DSW) Job Description Policy Number and Last Update (01.04.15/01-2019)

Title: Disabilities Services Worker

Reports to: Delegate Director



General Summary

The Disabilities Services Worker (DSW) is responsible for identifying children who may have a disability, assuring appropriate intervention and services, and for managing, implementing and evaluating comprehensive programs for children with disabilities and their families enrolled in Illinois Migrant Seasonal Head Start Project. This position involves interpretation of complex laws and regulations, as well as involvement with other organizations that provide services to children with disabilities.

Essential Functions:

  1. Ensures that all developmental screenings are completed within 4 weeks of child's entry.
  2. Plans and delivers, or secures, individualized and/or group training for staff and parents, during Parent Fair, Pre-Service week, Parent Committee meetings, etc.
  3. In close communication with the Director, negotiates and secures Interagency Agreements with all local education agencies (LEA) and Child and Family Connections (CFC) in counties where children live.
  4. Assures the referral of children to the LEA and CFC when the need arises.
  5. If the child meets the state criteria, participates in the LEA/CFC's writing of the IEP/IFSP.
  6. If child does not meet the state criteria but does meet Head Start's criteria, ensures parents' consent and permission forms are signed, coordinates the diagnostic process to be completed by a multidisciplinary team, develops the IEP/IFSP following the IMSHSP timelines, and implements the plan, delivering quality services.
  7. Assures that all necessary accommodations and adaptations are made, including but not limited to transportation, translation and facility's remodeling.
  8. Ensures the maintenance of required program records and follows the IMSHSP Record Keeping Procedure.
  9. Submits required program reports (to include monthly reports to the Policy or Parent Committees and Board of Directors) in an accurate and timely fashion and participates in all case management meetings.
  10. Assists in setting, clarifying and communicating disabilities services standards and laws to staff and parents, when required or requested.
  11. Works closely with the rest of the delegate's staff to plan integrated services for all children: plans awareness activities for children with Education Coordinator; coordinates with Family Services Coordinator the recruitment of children with disabilities; participates, with Health Services Coordinator, in the development of special environmental and safety procedures; and ensures the participation of disabilities service providers in the HSAC.
  12. Analyzes data and reports (sometimes using abstract reasoning).
  13. Reads and reviews legislation and other resources to keep abreast of current issues and trends related to the responsibilities of the job.
  14. Secures appropriate resources for staff, parents and children to include supplies, equipment, and training materials.
  15. Follows and implements IMSHSP policies, procedures and systems, ensuring compliance with Head Start Performance Standards and federal and state laws.
  16. Ensures strict child and family confidentiality, following the IMSHSP Confidentiality Procedure.
  17. Contributes to the development of program proposals and Community Assessment, as requested.
  18. Participates in local associations and groups, like LIC, DSCC, StarNet, CCR&R, LAN, etc., serving community children (with and without disabilities) and their families representing the delegate and its migrant children and families (at least 25% of monthly schedule.)
  19. Participates in the annual program self-assessment and Grantee monitoring visits.
  20. Ensures all disabilities resources are updated and included in the Resource Directory.
  21. Transitions children with disabilities and those in the diagnostic process to their next destination, ensuring a smooth and efficient process, with full parental participation.
  22. Assists Director to ensure agency's compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  23. Performs other duties, as requested.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by a person in this position. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all duties that may be performed in such a position.

Recommended Employment Qualifications


Bachelor's or Associate's Degree in Early Childhood or Child Development with at least two courses in Special Education and the inclusion of children with disabilities, and two courses in case management or human services field, or a Bachelor's Degree in Special Education. Preferred bilingual, with oral and written skills in Spanish and English.


Demonstrated understanding of Head Start philosophy and the current principles of inclusion, natural environments and services to children with disabilities and their families. A minimum of one year experience working with infants, toddlers, or preschoolers with disabilities and their families. Knowledge of the challenges and strengths of low-income and migrant families. Ability to work with a minimum of supervision and as an effective member of a team. Knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices, diagnostic tests screening tools and assessments, and laws protecting individuals with disabilities.

Additional Requirements:

Regular access to a reliable vehicle, vehicle insurance and a valid Illinois driver's license. Ability to pass a physical exam every two years and a TB test yearly. Ability to present a positive image of the organization to members of the community. Must have effective communication skills, both oral and written, and strong organizational, problem solving and time management skills. Must be able to travel extensively. Must be able to comply with a background check as required by the Agency and/or the Illinois Licensing Agency (DCFS). Ability to observe and record information including non-verbal information. Must be able to physically move through migrant camps, classrooms and playgrounds. Ability to learn information from Procedures Manual.

Working Conditions:

Tasks that involve infrequent exposure to blood, bodily fluids or tissues (category I). Risk involved with travel. Tasks that involve handling implements or utensils, use of public or shared bathrooms or telephones and personal contacts (Category III). Possible exposure to communicable diseases. This job involves sitting and standing for long periods of time as well as stooping, squatting and running. Must be able to lift 55 pounds. Must be able to travel, enter and exit a vehicle without assistance and withstand exposure to adverse weather conditions. Able to work a flexible schedule that may involve some evenings, weekends and some overnight travel to attend training sessions. Expected to obtain within two months of hiring a CPR and First Aid Certification.

The qualifications listed above are guidelines for selection purposes; alternative qualifications may be substituted if sufficient to perform the duties.