This year, Direct Support Professional Recognition Week of 2021 is September 12th-18th. DSPs are an integral part of the lives of people in the community who have Intellectual Disabilities. This week gives us the opportunity to acknowledge and highlight the direct support workforce that is crucial for individuals with disabilities to live their lives.
This is a great time to bring more visibility to the important work of direct support staff not only nationwide, but on a local basis. Especially the ones who work for your agencies and may support a loved one. The past year and a half have been such a trying time and has put a massive strain on the direct support staff population. These front-line workers have put their health on the line daily in order to help serve individuals and that work should not go unnoticed by any of us. Here at PCHC we wanted to highlight a personal DSP story for this recognition week.
In April 2021,we were able to celebrate two adolescent siblings move from a pediatric nursing facility back into the community with Shared Support South. Shared Support South collaborated with the Family Facilitator, who works with children with medical complexities, and created a two-person CLA for the siblings which made it possible for them to keep their small family intact.
The staff supporting the two siblings are dedicated, patient and creative. In a very short time, the staff learned about the siblings likes and dislikes, when they feel well and when they don’t, even though they don’t communicate verbally. During the first two weeks, the staff were able to quickly recognize that the sister was unwell. They got her to the doctor who was able to prescribe medication for a UTI, saving her from more discomfort and an infection that can lead to more issues.
Both siblings are surprising the staff with abilities that were previously unknown. For example, the brother who was thought to prefer to be in his wheelchair, is standing for increasing periods of time. He can hold his own cup and drink independently! The sister loves to walk with staff and prefers to be up and about. She often takes walks in the park near her home! The staff continue to provide opportunities for the siblings to show them what they can do. The staff really encourage their independence and individuality! Through the dedication and consistency of the DPSs, both siblings are really living a good life-an Every Day life!
Thank you, direct support professionals, for all your hard work and dedication to making the lives of individuals more fulfilled.