David Ross, Benchmark Vice President, authored these 13 expressed values of a great direct support professional.
A great direct support professional:
- Recognizes that the individuals we serve are people with whom we have more in common than we have differences. People have the fundamental right to choose for themselves, to try new things, and to exercise freedoms.
- Ensures that persons served have good fundamental support and monitoring regarding their health and safety.
- Always treats people with respect. This is measured by words, tone, focus and actions. The expectation is on-going, active, positive engagement.
- Is on-purpose about helping each individual, each day, in becoming a little bit more independent and a little bit more included in his or her self-care, home/family life, and in the community around them.
- Is first a student. He or she realizes that to be most effective, they need to get to know and value the individual, their likes and dislikes, their dreams, the things that motivate them and the things they fear. Only then, can the student become a teacher/facilitator.
- Understands and executes the corporate principle of serving people, “just enough” – not overserving or underserving. Great DSPs serve with independence and inclusion in mind. They are focused on outcomes in a process filled with dignity and respect.
- Sees all behavior as communication, often learned, and therefore is astute about trying to understand what people really want and need and is keen on helping people find the best ways to communicate effectively.
- Creates opportunities for people served to be increasingly in control. Will not engage in unnecessary power struggles.
- Is focused on the person served. A great DSP deliberately removes barriers and disruptions so they can be focused. Practically speaking, this might mean leaving your cell phone in your car or turned off.
- Understands the value of family, and, in so much as an individual served has healthy family dynamics, works to strengthen bonds and increase time spent with loved ones.
- Recognizes the desire of all people to have intimate relationships and realizes this must honor the values and scope of the person being served. As such, a broad definition of intimacy, “into-me-see”, should be applied. So, this is not an appeal to increase opportunities for sexual encounters as much as it is help facilitate deeper, more transparent, closer relationships with loved ones.
- Realizes the dignity found in “work/volunteering/giving back” and so does all he/she can to encourage the individual and the system to coalesce resources and efforts so persons served can do meaningful work.
- Is acutely aware of the fact that information regarding individuals is incredibly personal and private. A great DSP does all he/she can do to guard that trust.