This week is Direct Support Professional (DSP) Week and in pausing to honour the important and impactful work of DSPs in our Province, we reflect on their considerable contribution to the quality of life of the people they serve every day.
John F. Kennedy Jr., wrote, “Quality is defined at the point of interaction between the staff member and the individual with a disability.” Indeed, Direct Support Professionals define quality in every personal interaction they have each day. People with developmental disabilities work to fully contribute as valued members of their communities. The availability of qualified, competent, and stable Direct Support Professionals plays an important role in supporting people to accomplish these goals. To be successful, it is critical that DSPs have the competence, confidence, and ethical decision-making skills with the guidance necessary to provide quality support.
In a recent (Feb. 2018) study, Carli Friedman explored the connection between Direct Support Professionals and the Quality of Life of people they serve. In her findings, she wrote: “Our results reinforced previous literature’s findings about the key role DSPs play in the lives of people with IDD. Particularly, those people with IDD who experience DSP change are less likely to successfully achieve quality of life outcomes than people not experiencing DSP change. These impacts are wide-ranging, from safety to choice making opportunities.” To see the full study, go to Direct Support Professionals and Quality of Life of People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Throughout our neighbourhoods and communities, DSPs are building and bridging community with thousands of Manitobans with disabilities. The role is complex and multi-faceted, requiring skill, diplomacy and significant responsibility. DSPs walk with people they serve throughout their lives, ready to support and facilitate extraordinary, ordinary lives of meaning and connection. Every day they impact people in incalculable and often intangible ways as they support people to be at home in their communities as good neighbours and citizens.
This week (and every week), I encourage you to honour these often invisible warriors within our community! You will find them where the rubber hits the road to quality services.