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NADSP


It’s official! The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals’ Annual Conference is back in person in 2023. For the first time since 2019, NADSP will host a two-day in-person conference with keynotes, breakout sessions, and opportunities to celebrate, connect, and learn the leading developments in the workforce.

On September 8, 2023, the Sixth Annual NADSP Conference will commence at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square. Additional details, including a request for session proposals, hotel booking information, and sponsorship opportunities, will be shared in the next few weeks.

Through a partnership of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration, and the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), the Moving Mountains Award recognizes organizations using leading practices in direct support workforce development that result in improved outcomes for people with disabilities. Organizations applying for the award are required to demonstrate how their workforce practices and philosophy align with the key principles of NADSP. These principles are:

  • All direct support professionals benefit from access to well-constructed educational experiences (e.g., competency-based trainings, continuing and higher education) and lifelong learning.
  • Certifying highly-qualified workers incentivizes continuing education, increased compensation, and access to career pathways for direct support professionals, thereby improving retention.
  • Values-based and ethical decision making can be learned and infused into daily practice.
  • Strengthening relationships and partnerships between direct support professionals, self-advocates, and other advocacy groups and families improves the quality of support.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2023 Moving Mountains Award. The winning organization(s) will be honored and will share their initiatives during the ANCOR Annual Conference on April 24–26, 2023, in Chicago. Winners will be notified in advance. Applications are due on Friday, December 2, 2022, by 11:59 pm CST via electronic submission. 

If you have questions regarding the completion of the application, please email the Moving Mountains Coordinators. To learn more about the awards, visit here. For information on previous award winners, visit the Moving Mountains Award Past Winners page.

The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) shared this report:

Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19 National Report: 12-Month Follow-up

READ REPORT

While vaccination rates have improved among professionals supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, their mental and physical health have declined, a new survey shows.

The Institute on Community Integration, in partnership with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), surveyed 2,657 DSPs and frontline supervisors about their experiences supporting people with IDD during the pandemic. The newly released survey report is a 24-month follow-up to an initial report issued in April 2020. Additional surveys were conducted six and twelve months after the initial report. The survey series represents the largest-ever national study of the DSP workforce.

According to the report, 52% percent of DSPs reported being diagnosed with COVID-19, and 6% were not diagnosed but suspected they had it. Among employers, 65% did not require DSPs to be vaccinated.

Sixteen percent of DSPs remain unvaccinated. Of the 84% who are vaccinated, 67% reported having at least one booster shot.

While vaccination rates have improved from the 12-month survey in 2021 (from 72% to 86%), the mental wellbeing of DSPs has declined. Forty percent of DSPs reported experiencing depression, compared with 36% one year ago; 43% had difficulty sleeping, a 13% increase; and 56% reported increased anxiety, a 14% increase. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they felt pressure to work extra hours.

“Direct support professionals and frontline supervisors have worked as hard as they can,” said Amy Hewitt, ICI director and lead investigator of the study. “This survey shows that their mental health is worsening, and we don’t have the resources to address it. Working this much overtime is not sustainable.”

A national plan to increase the size of the direct support workforce would help to alleviate multiple troubling issues, Hewitt said.

“This workforce has been overlooked and in crisis for years, with high turnover and vacancy rates, low wages, and lack of access to affordable benefits,” she said.

More than half of DSPs receive government-funded assistance, such as housing, energy, food, and healthcare. The pandemic made staffing even more difficult, increasing stress, expectations, and risk on those who remain in their positions.

The 24-month follow-up survey also looked at changes in technology use during the pandemic. Fifty-nine percent of DSPs reported using technology more or a lot more than before the pandemic. Thirty-six percent of the respondents said the use of technology had a somewhat positive impact on their work, and 14% reported it had a very positive impact. Seventeen percent reported a somewhat negative impact and 3% a very negative impact.

Read the full report, a short version, and select state-specific versions here.

Please contact Jerry Smith with questions.

Message from RCPA Member Foothold Technology:

It’s DSP Recognition Week! — Check Out Our Kudoboard Thanking DSPs Around the Country & Join Us for a Webinar We Are Sponsoring With NADSP!

It’s DSP Recognition Week! We’re thrilled to celebrate amazing DSPs making a difference in their communities. Each nominee received a special message of gratitude from Foothold along with a Starbucks gift card. Check out our Kudoboard highlighting the stories and nominations we’ve received over the past several weeks. Maybe you’ll recognize someone you know!

Webinar: Recognition, Retention, and Returns: How One Organization Empowers Direct Support Professionals — September 28 at 2:00 pm ET

In this sponsored webinar from Foothold Technology and NADSP, three direct support professionals from The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region and CEO Shawn Kros share the impact of NADSP materials on their organization. This panel discussion will focus on how Arc NCR infused NADSP materials and technology into their daily operations. Shawn Kros will share data on the impact as well as the benefits of doing so in their workforce. The direct support professionals will share how they have been influenced by this cultural shift at the organization and how recognition affects their role. Don’t miss out on this amazing session. Visit here to register!

Image by photosforyou from Pixabay

Let’s Talk: Supporting People Through the Grieving Process
Thursday, June 23, 2022 • 2:00 pm — 3:00 pm ET
Register Now

People with intellectual disabilities have been left out of the grief conversation too many times and for far too long. Grief is hard, and supporting people through grief can be challenging, but when it comes down to it, just being there, really being there and actively listening, are the best things you can do to help someone through it. Direct support professionals wear many hats and grief supporter will be one of them at some point. On this month’s “Let Talk,” Amanda Gee shares how direct support professionals can support those who are grieving. This webinar is a companion to this month’s International Journal for Direct Support article, “Good Grief: Supporting People Through the Grieving Process.

When It’s Time to Fade: Supporting People with High Risk Behaviors
Wednesday, June 29, 2022 • 12:00pm — 3:00pm ET
Visit here for more information, including details on registration.