Frontline Initiative DSPs and Technology

Frontline Notes

Welcome to our Frontline Initiative on technology and direct support. We hope you will use this issue to start thinking about how technology can help us as DSPs do our jobs better. When we do our jobs well, the people we support have better lives. This means people have more options and gain more skills. People have the tools they need to communicate, to learn and work, and to participate actively in their communities. 

Technology can promote connection and inclusion. In this issue, Katie McDermott talks with us about her work with a sel-fadvocacy Computer Club. People are learning new skills together to speak up and connect. Jolene Hyppa-Martin, a speech and language pathologist, talks about the role direct support professionals (DSPs) can play in helping people to use communication devices.

Some organizations are using technology to allow DSPs to provide in-home supports from a distance. DSP Denise Cady and Dustin Wright describe how “telecare” (or remote support) works. They suggest that it can offer DSPs new and satisfying jobs. With current DSP shortages, these authors say that tele-care can help people get the support they need. Abby Anderson gives her perspective on remote supports based on her recent practical experiences. This new technology is still controversial. We hope these articles will get you thinking about it. 

Nowadays, being an effective professional requires learning about technology. In an overview of technology in direct support, Rachael Sarto discusses how technology relates to becoming a more competent DSP. She explores the connection between technology and the NADSP competencies and Code of Ethics. Susan O’Nell gives some tips on personal technology etiquette, from Tweets to texts to blogs.

This issue of Frontline Initiative has a long Frontline Resources section. The organizations and tools listed here are just a beginning. We are not endorsing any one technology or company, but rather are introducing the many resources available. We hope you will enjoy this issue as you learn more about technology in direct support. 

To quote NADSP President Lisa Burck, “Technology will help us get the job done. Technology is cool. Bring it on!”