Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Direct Support Professionals Week September

The Unsung Heroes: Celebrating Direct Support Professionals (DSPs)

This week, we are celebrating Direct Support Professionals Week, a time to honor our DSPs for the work they do to help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live fulfilled lives. The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc. (FDDC) is concerned about the shortage of DSPs and is supporting a research project to identify solutions to that problem. We are interested in how individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their family members are recruiting and retaining DSPs.  Identifying creative ways to address this problem is a primary objective of the FDDC.

Direct Support Professionals play a crucial role in the quality of life and success of individuals with I/DD to live as independently as possible.  They assist in daily living skills for those with motor impairments and significant cognitive impairments.  They ensure that those with I/DD can engage with the community, whether at a volunteer or job site, or access leisure, religious, and medical services.  They also ensure that those with I/DD can do things like plan their menus, grocery shop, and prepare meals.

A DSP is more than a job title. It requires patience, empathy, and a deep commitment to improving the lives of others.  They must receive specialized training to support individuals with disabilities. Some DSPs are supporting individuals with significant behavior challenges that require following an individual behavior plan and taking data on targeted behaviors. Others assist those with significant motor needs that are physically demanding. Still others provide support to those with complex medical needs.

The job, DSP, is not recognized as an official standard occupational classification through the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.  It is crucial that this occurs so that the significance of the work they do is recognized.  This would open the door to better training, fair wages, and improved career ladders.  Advocating for this change would result in the improved lives of countless individuals with I/DD and their families.

Let’s commit to bettering the lives of individuals with I/DD and their families by working towards this change while celebrating those who are performing this valuable work—not just during Direct Support Professional Week, but always.

Valerie Breen, Executive Director, FDDC

Translate »
Scroll to Top