Direct Support Professional Series

Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are one of the most critical aspects of Long-Term Services & Supports for more than 160,000 Iowans. Investing in these essential employees is more important now than ever.

New in 2021, the IACP Education & Training Committee developed the DSP Series. With six different webinar sessions featuring noteworthy presenters, organizations can purchase the entire series for one low price for all of the DSPs within their workplace. Yes, you read that right! For just $725, your entire organization will have access to every webinar and recording.

Added perk: Members who have Relias subscriptions through IACP have full access to all DSP Series recordings all year long when they register for this series! This immeasurable benefit is an incredible way to invest in your workforce. Click here to learn more about IACP x Relias or contact Brita at IACP!

If you have already registered for the DSP Series and want to view the recordings page, click here.



Click here to register!


  • Live webinar registration + recording access: $725
  • Live webinar registration: $600

Recordings will be delivered to the organization's registrant via e-mail and will be available for two weeks following the live session.


Click on the titles below to read the descriptions! Click here to download a printable schedule!

 Click here to register your organization.


Compassion, Fatigue & Self Care

  • Presented by: Susan Martin, MSW, LISW, Chief Operating Officer, Optimae Services
  • Date and Time: Monday, February 8, 2021, 9:30 am - 10:30 am
  • Description: 
Our world is spinning at a faster and faster rate every day. We are all bombarded with often unattainable expectations and constant negative messages. People in our organizations are exhausted, overwhelmed and hopeless. In the midst of this ever-changing healthcare system we are still expected to continue to care for the individuals that come to our organizations for assistance and support. But how do we do it all???
In this presentation Susan Martin teaches us how to overcome the external pressures and reconnect with hope and positivity. Through her energetic storytelling and science-based facts she leads us through a new way to approach our lives and how we can all make a difference in our world and workspaces!
  • About the Presenter: 

Susan Martin, LISW is an energetic and engaging presenter who draws on her 28 years of experience as a Mental Health Therapist and Administrator to educate and inspire change. Ms. Martin went to Indianola High School, graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BSW and the University of Iowa with a MSW. She has served her community in multiple settings including the Veterans Administration, Hospitals, Home Health organizations and Outpatient Mental Health Clinics. Ms. Martin has worked for Optimae LifeServices for 22 years and currently is the Chief Operating Officer for Optimae Services. She has traveled the Midwest and nationally to educate and inspire others with warmth, good humor and positive examples through seminars and a variety of speaking engagements.

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Working with Challenging Behaviors

  • Presented by: Jim Aberg, MAE, former service provider, private consultant
  • Date and Time: Monday, March 8, 2021, 9:30 am - 10:30 am
  • Description: 

Albert Einstein says that in order to solve a problem, you need to understand the problem. Teams and direct support professionals need fully understand the reasons and motivation for the problem behavior(s) a client displays. This understanding helps to develop an effective behavior intervention plan to support an individual.

The presenter, using the approach of understanding a problem to develop more effective solutions will present information on utilizing the bio/psycho/social model as a tool to better understand problem behaviors. Case examples utilizing the bio/psycho/social model will be shared to help the attendees better understand and apply the model in their own organizations.

  • About the Presenter: 

Jim Aberg, MAE, has over 43 years of experience working with adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities with dual diagnoses who may experience problem behaviors. Jim has worked for IDD providers for 40 years and County Social Services (CSS) as the I-START Program Director for 2.5 years. Jim retired in January 2019 from CSS. Jim has developed a consulting business and is presently doing expert testimony in civil lawsuits in defense of IDD providers, consulting with an out of state provider starting services in Iowa, providing training for a IDD providers, and consulting with CSS.

Cultural Competence for DSPs

  • Presented by: Motier F. Haskins, MSW, Instructional Track Lecturer, University of Iowa School of Social Work
  • Date and Time: Monday, May 10, 2021, 9:30 am - 10:30 am
  • Description: 

Cultural Competence-the ability to work effectively in cross-cultural situations- is a key part of establishing trust and respect between direct support professionals and the people they support. Direct support professionals who are exposed to culturally competent approaches are better able to deliver person-centered services to individuals from different cultural backgrounds, including different races or ethnicities, sexual orientations or genders. This presentation will focus on the development of cultural competence and the elements most important to providing supports and services to diverse populations. Learners will start on their own individualized journey to cultural competence.

  • About the Presenter: 
    • Motier Haskins is currently a faculty member in the School of Social Work at the University of Iowa. He has 28 years of experience in team-building and diversity programs with various groups including high schools, community colleges, universities, corporations and human service organizations. He is a sought-after speaker at conferences both nationally and internationally on topics related to cultural competency/humility, anti-racism, white supremacy, micro-aggressions, implicit bias, privilege, and personal growth and relationships. Previously he has served as a faculty member at the State University of NY at Albany, Stony Brook University, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, Barry University. Motier holds a Master’s in Social Work Degree with a special focus on clinical and community practice from Syracuse University. His academic and research interests include Cultural Competency/humility in Social Work Education, Anti-Racism, Social Work practice with Muslims, and Domestic Violence in Muslim American Communities.

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Person-Centered Thinking

  • Presented by: Claire Benway, Education Specialist, University of Minnesota, Research and Training Center on Community Living
  • Date and Time: Monday, July 12, 2021, 9:30 am - 10:30 am
  • Description: Join Claire Benway from the University of Minnesota as she shares with you an introduction to Person Centered Practices. In this session, you will understand the importance of supporting people in a person-centered way rather than a systems-centered approach. This will include exposure to universal person-centered strategies, methods to encourage self-expression, tools to increase self-determination and decision making helping to enhance meaningful participation in the community.
  • About the Presenter: 

Claire Benway provides technical assistance, training and development support within the direct support profession. She works on state and federal projects focusing on improving community services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her current projects involve training, technical assistance and state policy development in person-centered thinking/planning, direct support workforce development and community living. She authors content and provides quality assurance for on-line curricula in DirectCourse. Claire is a certified Person-Centered Thinking 2 Day Mentor Trainer and holds a Masters in Theatre Education from Emerson College in Boston Massachusetts.

Avoiding Burnout

  • Presented by: Dr. Celina Peerman, President, The Peerman Group
  • Date and Time: Monday, September 13, 2021, 9:30 am - 10:30 am
  • Description: 

Workload isn't decreasing, stressors increasing and our need to thrive even in uncertain times is critical.  With an energetic, interactive approach, this session will review recent findings from the research and apply key actions that help us all succeed as helping professionals. Participants will go through a range of exercises to build skills and strengthen resiliency to bounce back under the pressures and weight of our responsibilities. Come renew your energy and passion for your work in an uplifting session to go back out and keep doing the great work you strive to do.

  • About the Presenter

Dr. Celina Peerman currently serves as an organizational psychologist with over 27 years of experience from front line to senior level positions, in a wide range of industries and organizations. She is passionate about engaging our human resources in new ways to achieve even better organizational results. Celina is a strategist with a sense of humor and a love for building capacity in organizations. She has presented at numerous conferences for local, state, and national audiences. Her work in Southeast Asia, Canada and Central America give additional operations experience, further developing her strong international interests with the ability to walk into every type of company daily to learn firsthand the challenges and opportunities to build better performance. 

Celina holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, a master’s degree in business, with undergraduate degrees in psychology and international studies. She sees over 250 groups a year: including over 6000 people in 2019, large groups, small groups, and even one-on-one learning about the opportunities and challenges we face every day with leadership, strategy, and workplace behavior.  She started her a DSP.

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Motivational Interviewing for DSPs

  • Presented by: Tony Raymer, LISW, RPT-S, Director of Clinical and Community Services, Candeo
  • Date and Time: Monday, November 8, 2021, 9:30 am - 10:30 am
  • Description: 

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is the powerful evidence-based method for engaging and motivating person served. MI is proven to be a method that helps people resolve ambivalence toward change through discovery of intrapersonal motivation by placing complete responsibility for change on the individual. Motivational Interviewing has applications in various settings giving staff skills to help their clients succeed through appropriate evidence-based practices. This presentation will offer participants tools and skills that can be used in their everyday interactions.

  • About the Presenter

Tony Raymer is an LISW and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor who has worked in the field of mental health and disability supports in Polk County since 2007. A graduate of Wartburg College and the University of Iowa with his Master’s in Social Work, Tony has supported children and families, as well as adults with disabilities in not only the therapy office individually, but in the community and through group therapy with the goal of maximum independence in mind. He currently is the Director of Brain Health at Easterseals Iowa.  He also teaches as an Adjuncts instructor at DMACC in the Human Services Dept. and serves as the Chair of the Iowa board of Social Work and the President-Elect of NASW-Iowa.

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Click here to register your organization.