Frontline Initiative Dual Diagnosis

NADSP Update:
Partnerships and professional engagement


Joeseph Macbeth is the Executive Director of NADSP

This edition of Frontline Initiative is particularly important because it gives Direct Support Profes­sionals (DSPs) an idea about the prevalence of dual diagnoses and provides strategies for supporting people who experience devel­opmental disabilities and mental illness. The NADSP is proud of our partnership with NADD; our joint efforts provide DSPs with the necessary knowledge and skills in supporting the complex lives of people experiencing dual diagno­sis. We encourage you to learn more about NADD’s competency-based certificate program for those of you who support people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. We’re also proud NADD has adopted the NADSP Code of Ethics as its values base for practitioners.

Partnerships like NADSP and NADD are critical to the suc­cess of supporting people in our communities. We believe that it is important for DSPs to expand their own professional partner­ships beyond the colleagues with whom they work every day. It’s what professionals do! But the reality is that the work world of DSPs is extremely focused on the individuals we support. It is critical to focus on their immediate needs and interests. Therefore the DSP worldview is often, and necessarily so, framed by what’s going on in the “frontlines.”

It can be hard for DSPs to get a broader, systemic view of issues impacting the profession. But we can challenge ourselves, our colleagues, and the people we support to learn more about the systems. When we explore this bigger picture together, we can understand how services are shift­ing. There are emerging state and federal policies that will reshape service delivery, budgetary issues, and organizational changes at agencies. It is important for us to play a role in impacting positive changes. Taking a broader view can spark and continue move­ments toward more opportuni­ties in our profession and for the people we support. Reading this issue is a great way to start learn­ing about issues that impact our profession. Then take some time to reach out, connect, and share insights about what you learn from your view and from your experiences on the frontline. DSPs are encouraged to use the NADSP as a resource for you to connect with your vast network of col­leagues.

Every summer, the NADSP conducts our annual membership drive. This year we want to en­gage DSPs, agency administrators, people with disabilities and their families about the value of being connected to a professional com­munity. We hope that you’ll help us spread the word. You can join our membership online by going to or filling out the membership form inside this edition of Frontline Initiative and sending it back to us.

Finally, National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week will be September 8th – 14th. Dur­ing September, the NADSP works hard to bring positive attention to our dedicated workforce and we help other organizations to do the same. Look for special an­nouncements on our credentialing opportunities. We will be offering discounts on our first level of certi­fication, DSP-R, which is intended to recognize people who have entered the profession and desire to have careers in the field of community human services. We’ll be sharing a lot more information about these special offers through our eFlash communications and on Facebook.

I hope you’ll consider join­ing our membership. When you do, you will experience what all professionals experience - a rich discussion of the issues at hand and critical information on best practices of the profession.