Frontline Initiative Employment Supports

NADSP update:
DSPs and employment supports


Lisa Burck, MPA, MEd President, NADSP Board of Directors, Project Director, The Arc of Mississippi.

NADSP is committed to improving opportunities for people who receive supports. Our mission is based in the understanding that people are more likely to succeed in all areas of life, including employment, when they have dedicated, skilled, and knowledgeable direct support professionals (DSPs) at their sides. Employment for people with disabilities is essential, and it will not happen without an educated, professional, and stable direct support workforce. NADSP’s contributions to improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities include our participation in the Alliance for Full Participation and our DSP-Specialist credential in Employment Supports. In each of these areas, we continue to be a strong voice for self-determination and full inclusion for those receiving supports, consistent with the NADSP Code of Ethics. 

Our DSP Credentialing Program has grown from a good idea to an active program with over 800 DSP-R credentialed DSPs, and more and more DSPs choosing to pursue the competency-based DSP-Certified credential. Over 1500 individual members and more than 35 organizations support our work. In Spring 2011, we will hire our first Executive Director to continue to strengthen NADSP in the years ahead. This September, the United States Senate declared the third annual Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. Promising and challenging years lie ahead for DSPs, for those who receive direct supports, and for NADSP. As we collaborate with other leaders through the Alliance for Full Participation, we hope that all NADSP members will hear the charge and take a stand for increasing real employment for people with disabilities.