Frontline Initiative: DSPs Responding to Crisis

DirectCourse Connect:
Resources about Crisis Prevention and Response

This issue of Frontline Initiative  may have you wondering how to learn more about your work as a direct support professional (DSP). DirectCourse is a series of online training curricula focused on inclusion and community support. You may have access to two of these curricula that are very useful to DSPs and to those who aspire to be frontline supervisors (FLSs) and leaders. These are the College of Direct Support (CDS) and the College of Frontline Supervision, Management, and Leadership (CFSM). This content can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to provide high-quality direct support, develop your skills, and work effectively in your organization or community. CDS and CFSM content is accredited by the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) . This content is built upon the same competencies and code of ethics used by the NADSP. The content can help you learn what you need to create great examples that meet the criteria of the NADSP E-Badge Academy (see more below).

If you don’t already have access to DirectCourse , you can learn more, request a DirectCourse demonstration, or recommend it to your supervisor or training director. Below is a sample of content available that is especially connected to the focus of this issue of Frontline Initiative.

The College of Direct Support

Emergency Preparedness: What is Emergency Preparedness?

DSPs handle many complexities in their role every day. This lesson helps define some ways that DSPs can prepare for and practice skills they might need in emergencies. This content may provide a natural connection to the NADSP E-Badge for Community Safety.

Emergency Preparedness: The Role of the Direct Support Professional in Emergency Preparedness

Making a plan ahead of time will help DSPs and FLSs respond well in an emergency. This lesson outlines the skills and tools needed to manage these situations. This lesson could help learners earn an NADSP E-Badge in Accredited Education.

Emergency Preparedness: Defining Disasters and Emergencies

This lesson describes how to reduce the risk of emergencies. It teaches DSPs how to respond to emergencies they may deal with in their roles. This lesson could help learners achieve an NADSP E-Badge in Accredited Education.

Emergency Preparedness: Pandemics

This lesson explains the precautions needed when faced with a pandemic. It will help DSPs to act in ways that support the health of people supported and take needed precautions. This lesson could help learners achieve an NADSP E-Badge in First Aid.

Introduction to Mental Health and Mental Illnesses: DSP Support Strategies

Many mental health crises can be prevented with high-quality support. This lesson helps DSPs learn about and apply mental health crisis prevention, planning, and action. This lesson could help learners achieve an NADSP E-Badge in Plan Implementation.

Safety: Role of the Direct Support Professional: Accident Prevention, Risk Assessment, and Risk Management

DSPs need the skills to reduce avoidable risks while supporting choice. This lesson helps DSPs learn how to balance assessing risk with supporting choice. This content could help learners achieve an NADSP E-Badge in Assessment Follow-Up.

Safety: Following Accident and Injury Policies and Procedures

Following policies and procedures can help DSPs prevent and manage accidents and incidents. This content will help them learn the best ways to respond when accidents happen. This lesson could help learners achieve an NADSP E-Badge in Crisis Documentation.

Safety: Reporting Incidents and Accidents

Reporting incidents and accidents is part of the DSP role. This lesson teaches DSPs how to do this in an accurate and timely way. This content could help learners achieve an NADSP E-Badge in Crisis Documentation.

Understanding Depression: Suicide Prevention and Response

High suicide rates are part of a national mental health crisis in the United States. This lesson teaches strategies to reduce risk of suicide and describes ways to respond if a person has attempted or completed a suicide. This lesson could help learners achieve an NADSP E-Badge in Crisis Intervention.


The NADSP E-Badge Academy was launched in 2019 as a way for DSPs to earn electronic badges by demonstrating knowledge, skills, and values that are characteristic of high-quality direct support professionals on the job. The E-badge Academy is a way for the direct support workforce to demonstrate an up-to-date and relevant skill set, highlight their professional achievements, and document the value they bring to their employer and the people they support. The DSP badges are aligned directly with the CMS Core Competencies, but also cross-walked with the NADSP Competencies. In 2020, badges and a certification for frontline supervisors (FLSs) of direct support professionals was established. The FLS badges are aligned with the National Frontline Supervisor Competencies. Learners are enrolled in the E-badge Academy by their employers, and they first earn The Code of Ethics Commitment badge as the foundation of their practice. Development of e-badges is ongoing, but those currently available are listed in the E-Badge Academy catalog .  ​​As mentioned above, CDS and CFSM contents provide a clear connection to NADSP E-Badges when there is one.