Frontline Initiative Healthcare

NADSP update:
The difference between helping someone have a good day or a great life


Joseph Macbeth is the Executive Director of NADSP

 So much has been happening with the NADSP over the past three months, it’s hard to find a place to begin this article. It seems that when you’re busy, things that you worked on just last week seem to fade away as you move on to your next project. So it’s good to pause and reflect on our accomplishments, challenges and new directions for the coming year.

By now, most of you know that September includes “Direct Support Professional Recognition Week”. As in previous years, we thank our members and partners who worked closely with state governors and legislators to introduce and pass a proclamation that makes it official in your state. September also marks the beginning of our new membership year. This means that throughout the summer, and ending in September, we’ve been trying to meet our ambitious membership goal of 2,500 individual and 150 organization memberships. I hope that we can count on you to spread this important message because our membership is what keeps us moving forward. You are why the NADSP exists.

 In early June, our board of directors met for a day of strategic discussion and planning in Washington, DC with Max Chmura, President of S2S Enterprises. With Max’s help, we confirmed a previous conclusion that the ultimate goal of NADSP is to improve the quality of life for people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) by creating the most qualified and caring workforce possible. The board also concluded that quality in human service settings was defined, in many ways, at the moment of interaction between the person with disabilities and his or her DSP. This simple point will now become part of our everyday conversations — its simplicity speaks volumes.

Subsequent to our meeting in the nation’s capitol, a few of us met in New York to create a framework for technical assistance seminars that will assist organizations in creating a culture of competence for their direct support workforce that focuses on building quality at that point of interaction. Along with this new NADSP technical assistance service, I am very happy to announce that our national certification in direct support practice will be streamlined and made much more accessible for busy DSPs. Currently, the second level of our competency-based certification will take someone 18-24 months to achieve the full DSP-C credential. Our new process will create an initial certification (DSP- C: Level -I) that can be achieved in only six months, by removing the requirement from eight work samples in a portfolio to four work samples. For those dedicated in making direct support as a longterm career, our new advanced certification (DSP-C: Level -II) will include the next four samples. We believe that having easy access to a national credential that uses nationally-validated skill standards is one of the first steps in defining us as a true profession.

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be sharing more information about our technical assistance activities, changes in our direct support certification processes and other strategic initiatives. In the meantime, remember, quality is being measured every time that you report to work and begin to interact with the people who you support. I like to describe it this way; the difference between helping someone have a good day, and helping someone have a great life is in your hands. It’s that simple. It’s that important.