National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, September 11th – 17th, 2016. You’re probably wondering who that person is, as it is not a commonly heard job description. However, the persons in this role make a critical difference in the lives of children and adults with disabilities.
20 years ago, a person might have been called “Aide” or “Paraprofessional.” Today, they are most commonly referred to as “Direct Support Professional.” Regardless of their title, the job description is typically the same:
A direct support professional is a person who assists an individual with a disability to lead a self-directed life and contribute to the community, assists with activities of daily living if needed, and encourages attitudes and behaviors that enhance community inclusion. (Source) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_support_professional
Direct Support Professional Recognition Week is part of the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) National Advocacy Campaign, whose mission is to enhance the lives of all people with disabilities who rely on long-term supports and services by obtaining the resources to recruit, train and retain a highly qualified and sustainable workforce.
Individuals in this position may have a high school degree or beyond, but what makes them unique is their commitment to assist and support persons with disabilities, which is not always an easy job. Many of our individuals require a direct support professional to be with them 24/7, including holidays. A DSP receives intensive training during orientation and learn about the individual(s) he or she will be working with (likes, dislikes, strengths, challenges).
At the Barber National Institute, Direct Support Professionals are an integral part of our team. They support our fundamental belief that learning is a lifelong process, and that all individuals should be provided the opportunity to reach their greatest potential.
People who need support are more likely to fulfill their life dreams if they have well-trained, experienced, and motivated people at their side in long-term, stable, compatible support relationships. These are the people who we hire as Direct Support Professionals. DSP Recognition Week is just one of the many ways we try to say “thank you” to the people who provide opportunities for people with disabilities – They are truly “Making Dreams Come True!”