Direct Support Professionals (DSP's) are people who work with and for people with intellectual disabilities or physical disabilities. The motive of DSP's is to help the program participants to increase independence and integrate into the community with minimal restrictions. DSP's often enter the field of adult human services with a prejudice that the relationship with people having intellectual disabilities is automatic. In reality, that isn't the fact. There are some concepts that are very essential for the DSP to understand to better their chance of success.

1. You are a service provider

As a Direct Support Professional, you need to know that you are a service provider, and the participant is essentially your customer. You aren't in a higher hierarchy than the participant and need to treat with dignity and respect. The DSP has to understand that he is getting paid for services, and the participant is entitled to the highest level of quality.

2. Understand your role and responsibilities

The job is not like babysitting. Program participants are adults with intellectual and or developmental disabilities. It is hence important for the DSP to understand that these adults have the same feeling like any other adult. The only difference would be that the participant may not have the required opportunities that as the average person. A simple YouTube search for Realistic DSP Job Preview will yield several excellent sources of information.

3. Earn respect and trust; it is not automatic

Respect is not a guaranteed entitlement for the services a DSP offers. Participants often have traumatic histories. Past experiences impact a person's ability to trust and form new relationships. Respect is gained with a consistent quality service and a consistent positive attitude.

4. Maintaining a positive attitude

The DSP should maintain a highly positive attitude. Attitude is a key factor that contributes to the success of a DSP. It is important to understand the power of first impressions. First impressions can be formed in as little as three seconds. Positive attitude is crucial in setting a good first impression. In turn, a positive, caring attitude spreads positive energy, and this is mutually beneficial to the participant as well as the DSP.

5. Give space

It's true that you need to provide support as a Direct Support Professional. However, you also need to note that one of the keys to success is to help the participant be a self-advocate. The patient should be given space and privacy as required in their plan of care. Participants should be given the freedom to comprehend things by himself and do as much as he can for himself. It is important to educate the participant in rights and responsibilities with as much detail require.

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are more like than different from the average person. At the core, we are all human and have similar needs and desires. It is important that the DSP understand and respect their position as a source of support. Understanding the five keys outlined, will aid in starting your career off on the right foot.

Author's Bio: 

Bobby Harris is a driven, experienced and knowledgeable professional within areas such as healthcare, childhood education, abuse intervention and crisis prevention; organizational leadership and intellectual / developmental Disabilities.