Doctors, nurses, pharmacists — most people are familiar with these health care professionals. But there’s a lesser known, yet essential component of effective behavioral health services. Direct Support Professionals, or DSPs, are the people who spend one-on-one time with clients to help them carve a path toward learning the skills necessary to live as independently as possible. Working closely with people of all ages who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, DSPs empower clients to overcome challenges, helping them become more self-sufficient so that they can live their fullest lives. They are the dedicated, direct-support workforce that is the heart and soul of assistance for people with disabilities. DSPs at Heartfelt Solutions provide the following services:
- Community Living Support – Our DSPs teach a variety of skills related to independent living, social/leisure skills, money management, cooking, and other areas based on an individual’s personal goals and interests.
- Personal Assistance – This service is designed to assist an individual in accomplishing tasks that they would typically complete on their own, if they did not have a barrier challenging their ability to complete those tasks independently.
- Respite Care – With respite care, DSPs allow caregivers to take a break from daily, ongoing care.
- Community Access – DSPs assist people with support, training, and empowerment to participate in meaningful routines or events; hold a membership in a club, group, association, church, business, or organization in the community; and build a natural support system. There is an emphasis on connecting with others, independent functioning, self-advocacy, and personal responsibility.
- Person-Centered Coaching – DSPs provide assistance for individuals in all environments when a barrier challenges further success or independence. The Person-Centered Coach models and teaches person-centered thinking for all members of an individual’s team and works closely with the behavior specialist as it relates to data collection and analysis.
The cornerstone of these services are personalized and innovative approaches, each one carefully crafted to target individual clients’ specific goals. At Heartfelt Solutions, we believe that every client we serve has gifts, talents, and contributions that they can make to their community — and our DSPs help fulfill that vision while teaching crucial lifelong skills. They are more than just staff — they are teachers, mentors, cheerleaders, and advocates for those they serve.
We are grateful for our DSPs every day, and from September 12 to 18, we highlighted the important work of these dedicated professionals for DSP Appreciation Week in the video below. During this annual recognition and celebration of the field of direct support professionals, we post daily inspirational messages and recognize our DSPs on social media. We also arrange for a small gift of appreciation and celebration for our DSP team at the end of the week. It’s a fun and celebratory time, but as any DSP will tell you, the work itself brings them a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
“As a retiree from the business world, I was looking for a way to continue to have purpose and meaning for the rest of my life,” says Heartfelt Solutions DSP Bill Talley. “My daughter was a DSP, and I learned from her how important and satisfying this ‘work’ is. I have found for myself that it is not a job, but a vocation — and my life is richer for it.”
Heartfelt Solutions DSP Chris Mills adds, “Being a DSP has meant the absolute world to me since day one. I’ve been doing it for the past 10 years. It doesn’t mean ‘getting paid to help people’ — it means being a support system to others, being a friend, and being a brother! Being a DSP has affected my life in many ways; being more knowledgeable of different people, being more patient, and knowing someone is always looking up to me, which allows me to stay focused on my own goals at all times!”
Interested in learning more about DSP services at Heartfelt Solutions? Give us a call today at (502) 915-8343 or send us a message online.