Frontline Initiative Working with Families
This past September, NADSP achieved an important milestone when we completed our transition from the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC) at the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota. On behalf of NADSP we want to thank RTC for their vision, commitment, leadership, and ongoing support that helped make this organization a reality.
As most of you know, National DSP Recognition Week was September 11–17. On September 15th, I had the pleasure of attending an event in Columbus, Ohio that was organized by our Ohio Chapter – OADSP. The room was filled with nearly 400 DSPs from across the state who came together for some learning, laughter and celebration. As we greeted attendees, I was so pleased to see the genuine gratitude and appreciation from these dedicated professionals. To say that this day was inspiring would be an understatement. I left Columbus thinking, “if we could duplicate this event in every state, then THAT would be a DSP Recognition Week”.
According to the American Network of Community Options & Resources (ANCOR), the organization that has taken the lead on pulling Recognition Week together, twenty-nine state Governors had also proclaimed September 11–17 DSP Recognition Week. We hope that this trend continues and we improve on these numbers for next year. I believe that all DSPs should be recognized for their vital contributions to the lives of people with disabilities — not for one week, but every day of the year. Enhancing the status and recognition for DSPs remains one of the most important parts of our work at NADSP.
On another important note, NADSP is one of fifteen founding organizations of the Alliance for Full Participation (AFP) and we played an important role in the “Summit 2.0: Real Jobs — It’s Everyone’s Business“ that was held in Washington D.C. in midNovember. The Summit brought together a true cross section of all those of us who believe in the importance of integrated employment for people with disabilities. The goal of AFP is to double integrated employment by the year 2015 and this will not be possible without the efforts of strong and competent DSPs who often assist people in finding and keeping jobs.
Our work is challenging. We need to continue to build partnerships with self-advocates, their families and service provider organizations. We also need to expand credentialing and career ladder opportunities for those of you who are committed to making direct support a career and not just a job. And lastly, we need you to help us spread the word about NADSP and our important contributions to the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities services. After all, where is quality measured, if not our interactions with those we support?