One does not become a seasoned Direct Support Professional (DSP) overnight. The financial rewards of a DSP are slim but can be enhanced with a credible portfolio, and state or national credential. Individuals or community-based agencies can employ DSP’s. Organizations often look forward to employing DSP’s with a credible portfolio which can ensure a level of quality. The ability to follow best practices and quality requirements are a must as a DSP. Yes, most DSP’s are in the profession, not for the monetary benefits but for the love of it and to actually to make a difference in the lives of others.
Understanding the world of DSP’s
Direct support professionals are people who provide care and support for the disabled in exchange for a wage. DSP’s help participants to lead a better quality life, including helping them be more accepted in the community. DSP’s offer their services in different places, from residential homes, personal participant homes, Day programs and even employment locations. While a DSP plays a crucial role in the lives of others, they are not a boss. Everyday decisions are usually left to the participant, but some decisions may be left with a parent or appointed guardian of the participant.
DSP bear a lot of responsibility in helping a person become self-sufficient and lead an independent lifestyle. The role and responsibilities of a DSP briefly include as follows.
- Maintain any required level of supervision
- Ensure development and training of the participant on the assigned activities which may include health maintenance, self-sufficiency, daily living activities, vocational skills and community integration
- See that the participants have access to medical care and treatment along with preparing for a doctor’s visit looking after the medical insurance and also getting emergency help if needed.
- Administer or assist with prescribed medications.
- See that the participants below 22 years of age are not denied their right to education.
- Support the participants in living an independent and productive life.
- Encourage the participants to choose where to live, go to school, work, participation in community activities and also building their relationships.
- Monitor the safety and cleanliness of the participant.
- Maintain reports on the services provided to the participants.
- Attend Plan of Care (POC) meetings to develop the participant plan of care.
- Preparing records on the development goals of the participants.
As a DSP, one should remember that they should not encroach into the privacy of the participant and should give them space and respect their individuality in all aspects. Personal information of the participant You shouldn’t be discussed with others without participant or guardian consent. In fact, as a DSP, you need to maintain a balance between being a support system yet encouraging self-sufficiency and self-advocacy.