Frontline Initiative Person-Centered Practices

NADSP update


Joseph M. Macbeth NADSP Executive Director

It’s been quite a while since our last Frontline Initiative and much has been happening at NADSP. In December, we formally welcomed our long-time colleague, John Raffaele, as our full time Director of Educational Services. John has been working with us since 2011. Now he is responsible for developing our NADSP faculty, and sharing these incredible people and training resources across the country. Our goal is to help build a “culture of direct support competence.”

In June, we held our second annual meeting and conference in Atlanta. We hosted nearly 200 Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and others who care about the profession. It was an amazing celebration with learning with speakers from across the United States and Canada. During the conference, we wished farewell to three committed board members: David Liscomb, Jerri McCandless and Carol Britton Laws. Each contributed so much to the growth and success of NADSP over the years. We are very thankful to each of them.

We also welcomed five new members to our board: Jeanne Farr, Becky Watson, Gabrielle Sedor, Cheryl Dougan and Drew Smith. These new members bring many different perspectives and areas of expertise to our mission. I’m also pleased to welcome Chris Burnett, from Oregon, who was voted as our board president. This board, led by Chris, has guided the NADSP through a strategic plan process this past fall. This will take the organization to great heights. Committed volunteers like our board members help advance the direct support profession. They help ensure quality support for people with disabilities by helping DSPs gain recognition, advanced skills, and commensurate wages.

September brings National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. We look forward to partnering with ANCOR to support creative ways to recognize DSPs and show how valued they are. We are always amazed at the creativity and sincerity in how DSPs are appreciated. We enjoy their opportunities to tell stories of success in supporting people with disabilities to achieve meaningful lives.

NADSP works hard to provide both our individual and organizational members a variety of benefits that improve knowledge, skills and values for DSPs. Our new NADSP website will have a members-only section. There you’ll find resources only available to members. This includes archived recordings of our monthly “Learning Annex” webinars. It also includes our monthly series with Dave Hingsburger and his Canadian colleagues titled, “Let’s Talk” which uses a conversational method in a webinar format. These are designed to start discussions based on the current issue of the International Journal for Direct Support Professionals. This journal is managed and edited by Vita Community Living Services and Hands the Family Help Network in Ontario, Canada. You’ll find a schedule of these webinars on the new website. They’re FREE for NADSP members. Please also watch for an upcoming Webinar led by John Raffaele on Person-Centered Practices, to further conversation about this issue of Frontline Initiative.

Lastly, it is our obligation to help DSPs understand changes happening in our field. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service Home and Community Based Settings Rule includes a new vision for supporting people with disabilities. It includes creating meaningful inclusion into the broader community, building relationships with peers without disabilities, helping people get jobs in the community, honoring choice and self-determination, and individualizing services based on people’s interests and needs. We know that DSPs will be a large part of making this new vision real. For this reason, we developed a new train-the-trainer curriculum. The goal of the training is to prepare provide organization trainers to teach DSPs how to support people to make their own “informed” decisions, to demonstrate awareness of how their attitudes and values toward choice can heighten or stamp out the decision making capacity of those they serve, and to build skills needed to support decision making that balances choice and risk. Contact us for more information about using this curriculum.

Please keep in touch. We value your partnership. We appreciate all the work you do to help make community living happen for people with disabilities.