As a Direct Support Professional (DSP) you are challenged each day to create a new, fun and meaningful learning experience for program participants. Often DSP's overlook their valuable contributions and fail to give themselves credit for the task performed. In order to write a quality DSP Portfolio, you must be able to prove ownership of your contributions to the supports one receives. You must also be able to show that you gained insight and experience as a result of your contributions.

Portfolios are comprised of many different elements that provide you with a chance to shine as a DSP. It is important that you choose the best work samples you can prove your competency in a given area. Choosing the best sample is important, however, the reflective summary you write brings the work into focus and strengthens the statements you are making.

There are a number of different types of samples you could choose. DSP's should have a participant or guardians consent prior to using any sample that contains personal and identifiable information. In the absence of consent, all is not lost. Any information used should have a fictitious name and not include any personally identifiable information like photographs, addresses and the like.

Excellent sources of work samples could include daily support notes, monthly summaries, journals entries, observation reports, problem-solving logs. Photos of the participant performing task or identified goals are also good choices for portfolio samples. These type documents often show your ability to understand and follow a person's plan of care.

As a DSP, you may directly perform a function in the assessment processes. This could include completing data collection for health risk screening, functional analysis, behavior supports. Work samples could include copies of documentation you provided to assist in the assessments. Often, theses assessment leads to a training function. What type of training have you implemented and followed to help the participant to meet a given goal. Consider any computer programs that you have developed or used in the process. Have you created charts, Word documents or PowerPoints? Computer oriented task can serve as an excellent source of samples.

As a DSP, you should consider any awards, certificates or letters of commendation for inclusion as a work sample. Other good choices could include performance reviews and personal development plans from your employer. Have you participated on committees are in work groups to solve particular issues? These too may be good choices of samples.

Dsp's attend many continuing education events. Copies of your sign in sheet with objects can be used as a work sample. Have you self enrolled in online or company based personal development classes, these too could be a good choices. Volunteer experience at work or outside of work may have a connection to the competency in which you are working. Do you have a professional reading list? Books on your list can also be a source of work samples if you can connect the dots and show how you applied the knowledge gained.

As you can see, a work sample can be many different things. It is important to understand that the work sample can not stand on its own. As a DSP, you must apply the work sample to a particular competency area. A work sample could be used to satisfy multiple competencies. The reflective summary is where you must explain the purpose and significance of the sample.

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 developmental Disabilities /developmental Disabilities.
Bobby managed to earn his bachelors degree in social work,as well as his masters of science in health care administration; while boasting a professional curriculum within the health and human services branches dating back to the mid 90s!
On the premises of such an extensive background, Bobby is keen on sharing his wealth of insights, skills, tools, tips and consideration through his inspired and reader-friendly articles appearing in various publication, as well as on his own imprint, “Direct Support Solutions”