Direct Support Professionals play a vital role in the lives of the individuals with disabilities that we serve. Their title is descriptive in that they are personally providing the support needed to enhance and enrich people’s lives!
However, what that simple title does not describe are the unlimited duties involved in providing that ‘support’. Each person utilizing our services is totally unique – and that means that a direct support professional must be able to adapt their support and interactions to each of those individuals. The sky is the limit as to what those unique supports may be. Anything from assisting with basic daily living needs, teaching skills that foster more independence, supporting someone who is sick or in the hospital, providing advice about dating and other relationships, and/or assisting with integration in the community. The job can be very tough, messy, frustrating, and infinitely rewarding; definitely never boring! Direct support professionals can be compared to a keystone, a foundation, a bridge, and a backbone. Ultimately, I think they should be described as Super Heroes! These individuals have chosen this profession in order to make a significant difference in the lives of people with disabilities, and in turn, are making our community a better place to live!
Direct Support Professional Recognition Week is a national initiative to celebrate these dedicated employees’ contributions to enriching communities across the country. This year, it was September 10 – 16, 2017. I suggest we keep the celebration going. Let’s thank and recognize a direct support professional EVERY week!