Message from ODP Deputy Secretary Kristin Ahrens:
It is a great source of pride for me that my career in this field began with work as a direct support professional (DSP). More than 30 years ago I was a DSP, first in a private family home and then in residential programs. I know firsthand how difficult the work can be, how exhausting it can be when pulled in to work extra shifts because of staffing shortages. I also know how rewarding it can be when you support someone to live life the way they want or help them achieve something they have worked for, no matter how big or small that achievement is.
The work of DSPs is challenging work. Here in the commonwealth, with our commitment to the vision of Everyday Lives for people with disabilities, we ask a great deal of our DSPs. We ask DSPs to support people with their often complicated medical and behavioral needs and with their physical, social and emotional needs. We ask DSPs to assist people to develop and maintain meaningful relationships with others in the community. We ask DSPs to support people, regardless of how high their support needs are, to live Everyday Lives like any other Pennsylvanian.
With this background, I am pleased to share with you Governor Shapiro’s proclamation that September 10-16 is Direct Support Professional Week honoring the profession and DSPs throughout the commonwealth.