The long-term care industry continues to have an increasing focus on providing quality care and support for seniors as well as adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. QIDP certification is an effective way for long-term care professionals to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to serve this population effectively.
What is QIDP certification? Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional (QIDP) Certification is issued by the National Association of Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professionals (NAQ), an organization that has been committed to promoting the highest standards of care since 1996. Its purpose is to ensure that professionals have the necessary skills, knowledge, and competence to provide quality care and support to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Why is QIDP certification so valuable? The benefits of a QIDP certification are the following:
- Learning how to support individuals: A QIDP certification equips long-term care professionals with the necessary skills to support individuals with intellectual disabilities in their communities effectively. Some of the skills they learn include: advocating for resident rights, promoting social inclusion, and fostering community connections.
- Planning person-centered support: With a QIDP certification, healthcare professionals learn to develop, implement, and monitor individualized support plans that focus on the unique needs, strengths, and preferences of each patient. This approach ensures that the provided support is tailored to the individual and promotes a higher quality of life.
- Working with families: Families play a crucial role in supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities. A QIDP certification helps professionals develop strong communication and collaboration skills, enabling them to effectively partner with families to identify and address the needs of their loved ones.
- Record-keeping, behavior intervention, and program development and monitoring: Long-term care professionals need to understand the guidelines and best practices related to record-keeping, behavior intervention, and program development and monitoring. Doing so ensures that services are provided in a manner consistent with regulatory requirements while promoting the well-being of individuals with intellectual disabilities. One should note that an effective EMR system can prove helpful for record keeping.
- Designing and implementing positive behavior support systems: Here, professionals learn how to design and implement positive behavioral support systems that promote skill development, enhance communication, and reduce challenging behaviors, improving the overall well-being of the people they care for.
- Preventing abuse: A QIDP certification emphasizes the importance of protecting the rights and dignity of individuals with intellectual disabilities. As a result, one learns how to recognize, prevent, and address abuse, neglect, and exploitation. This knowledge is critical in creating a safe and supportive environment for individuals with intellectual disabilities, ensuring their well-being, and safeguarding their rights.
By pursuing a QIDP certification, long-term care professionals demonstrate their commitment to providing high-quality, person-centered support that promotes the dignity, rights, and overall well-being of those they serve.
How does one get QIDP certified? The job requirements that follow a QIDP certification can include:
- Experience working directly with people with developmental disabilities: Most jobs will require a QIDP to have at least one year of experience working directly with people with developmental disabilities. This hands-on experience is essential to understanding this population’s unique needs and challenges. It also enables one to develop the empathy, problem-solving, and communication skills needed to provide effective support.
- Meeting the federal educational requirements outlined in 42 CFR 483.430: These requirements ensure that one has a strong foundation in human services or a related field, enabling one to apply evidence-based practices and strategies in their work with individuals with developmental disabilities.
- Direct work experience and its components: This can include various activities, such as case management, involvement with patients/residents in different activities, interactions with residents in implementing individual service plans, and gathering behavior program data.
- Past QIDP experience under direct supervision: Supervised experience can help one develop the practical skills and knowledge necessary to excel in their role as a QIDP. Thus, aspiring QIDPs can gain valuable experience under the direct supervision of a trained QIDP by assisting in data collection, drafting paperwork, and organizing or recording team meetings.
- Completing Checklist A and including necessary documentation: Checklist A must be completed by the QIDP Course Coordinator for each employee performing QIDP duties, and a copy of their resume and degree transcripts must be attached. These documents verify that the person meets the qualifications for the role and ensures that individuals with developmental disabilities receive support from a qualified professional.
- QIDP educational credentials: These can include degrees or certifications in various fields, such as medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology, social work, speech-language pathology, recreation, dietetics, or human services.
As the need for skilled and compassionate QIDPs continues to grow, aspiring QIDPs who meet these criteria can better position themselves to make lasting, positive impacts on the lives of those they serve.
QIDP: Meaning and History
The QIDP meaning articulated above tells you what the letters in the acronym stand for. However, a question remains: why did the term change from QMRP to QIDP?
The term “Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional” (QIDP) replaced the previous term, “Qualified Mental Retardation Professional” (QMRP), because language plays a crucial role in determining how individuals are perceived and treated by others, and over the years, the importance of using respectful and inclusive language has been emphasized.
The turning point came in 2010, when the Department of Education signed into effect Rosa’s Law. Named after Rosa Marcellino—a young girl with Down Syndrome whose family advocated for the use of respectful language in describing her and others like her—Rosa’s Law called for the replacement of the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in federal health, education, and labor policy. This change was aimed at promoting dignity, respect, and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities.
The transition from QMRP to QIDP was more than just a change in terminology; it signified a shift in societal attitudes toward individuals with intellectual disabilities. By using respectful and inclusive language, healthcare professionals can promote a greater understanding and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities and encourage others to see people with intellectual disabilities as unique individuals with their own strengths, challenges, and aspirations.
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How Do I Get QIDP Certified?
Embarking on the journey to becoming QIDP certified requires dedication and commitment, and the journey starts with one simple question, how do I get QIDP certified? In this section, we will share the necessary information about QIDP certification that a long-term care professional will need to know. It should be mentioned that for QIDP certification online, there are great resources that go well beyond the QIDP meaning and QIDP job description.
The steps to get a QIDP certification are as follows:
- Fill out the DDP Certificate Program Application
- Submit a resume, three professional recommendation letters, and a completed background check consent form
- Pay a non-refundable application fee of $150
- Write a one to two-page introductory essay and a 3 to 5-page essay on a chosen topic from the provided options
- Arrange for all college or university transcripts to be sent directly from the academic institutions
- Register for a NAQ membership online
- Upon acceptance into the program, applicants will receive an invoice of $800 via email for the online course fees
QIDP Certification and Building a Successful Career
Obtaining a QIDP certification is only the beginning of your journey toward building a successful and fulfilling career in long-term care. One must also keep in mind the value of networking. Attend conferences, workshops, and webinars in the long-term care space to expand your knowledge and create valuable connections.
In addition, utilize your QIDP certification to create a unique value proposition. Your QIDP certification makes you different from other long-term care professionals. Therefore, use it to your advantage by highlighting your certification on your resume, LinkedIn profile, and during job interviews.
By actively engaging in networking, professional development, and continuous learning, you will be well-equipped to build a successful and rewarding career as a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional, with your QIDP certification as a foundation.
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