By: Barb Griffith, President and CEO
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 there, face-to-face, directly providing the supports needed to enhance and enrich people’s lives! However, what the simple title does not describe are the unlimited duties involved in providing those ‘supports.’ Each person utilizing our services is totally unique – and that means each Direct Support Professional must be able to adapt their supports and interactions to each of those individuals. The sky’s 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, but infinitely rewarding and definitely never boring!
Direct Support Professionals can be compared to a keystone, a foundation, a bridge, a touchpoint, a backbone…I think they should be described as Super Heroes. These individuals who have chosen this profession are making a significant positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities, and thereby making a significant positive difference in in the world!
Missouri’s Governor has chosen to set aside a week every September to recognize these super heroes. I suggest we keep the celebration going. Let’s thank and recognize a Direct Support Professional EVERY week!