Frontline Initiative State Chapter Development

NADSP update

I am excited to have seen NADSP grow over the years and can see it holds a bright future. We should all be proud of where we have come in the 12 years of our existence. Policymakers used to view direct support work as a secondary job market, but thanks to NADSP and its many allies, legislators now recognize direct support as a profession. We have developed products that are used regularly by DSPs, agencies, and governmental units to define and guide the growth of the profession.

When I attend industry events, I now hear the term DSP as the primary phrase for those providing direct support. Twelve years ago, a group of DSPs and allies from across the nation sat in a conference room at the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and decided that “DSP” was the only term that truly defined who we are. In order to make this happen, we had to show the world that, as highly-skilled DSPs, the work we do proves what our title says we are: professionals. So when I hear the term Direct Support Professional used as the primary name for what we do, I have to smile. 

I also often hear ethics in direct support being discussed and our NADSP code of ethics being cited in casual conversation. NADSP’s work to develop and validate our code of ethics was a labor of love. So yet again, when I hear of ethical practice — the key to our profession — being discussed in casual conversation, I smile.

And when I see DSPs and organizations, from mom-and-pop shops to entire states, embracing our credential as a way to develop the DSP workforce, I smile one more time.

It has been an honor to serve as a board member of NADSP and to have been president for the past few years. I have officially tendered my resignation and am pleased to pass the baton to Lisa Burck from Mississippi. I also welcome new directors-at-large, James Meadows (Texas), NADSP update Joseph Macbeth (New York), and Stephanie Marsh (Missouri). 

There is still much to do to bring the profession to its rightful standing in society and NADSP members must be the primary voices in making that happen. As I step down, I challenge the organization’s leadership to accelerate growth. It is time for NADSP and its recently incorporated foundation to raise money to develop and support local chapters, strengthen current alliances, and reach out to form new relationships. 

Again, it has been a pleasure to serve NADSP and it will be a pleasure to see it thrive for years to come. I expect to smile often!