Direct support professionals, or DSPs, ensure people with disabilities have the necessary supports that enable them to live, work and enjoy life as independently as possible in their community. DSPs can work in a number of different settings and often have opportunities to share their own passions and talents with the people they support.
The Direct Support Workforce is made up of over 3.6 million workers in the United States, and the demand for direct support workers is always increasing thanks to advancements that enable people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live longer, more fulfilling lives within their communities.
If you've been looking to make a difference with your work but weren't sure where to start, you've come to the right place! By becoming a part of this growing profession, you have the opportunity not only to make an impact on the lives of the individuals you'll support, but also to show members of your community the magic that's possible when people with disabilities are valued for the richness of the contributions they make to our communities.
Of course, you shouldn't just take our word for it: hear directly from a DSP working in the field! Josh Alford, who received ANCOR's 2016 Direct Support Professional of the Year award, had this to say:
"I can't ever imagine doing anything else now. My job has become way more than a job....I found out pretty quickly that I was naturally good at this. I fell into it. This was never a field I thought about being in. I was going to be a schoolteacher and teach shop. But truthfully, I can't imagine ever doing anything else now."
If you're considering a career as a DSP, this toolkit has been designed for you! Included in it are:
If you have any questions about the resources listed here, please contact ANCOR via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.