Domination in the Fields of Social Work, Human Psychology and Self-Determination

Direct Support Providers:

Domination in the Fields of Social Work, Human Psychology

and Self-Determination

Author, 1st Choice Family Services



Many people would say that there is no easy job. While that may be true, not all careers are equally rewarding. Most people are looking for a career that would satisfy both their passion and their financial needs. But why settle with only two conditions if you can do something that will allow you to dominate social fieldwork, human psychology, and self-determination? And, you get to do this while being paid. The chances of landing a job like this are not impossible at all, you just need to do some searching.


A Whole New Level of Personalized Care


Not many people know about direct support professionals (DSPs). Often, they are mistaken as caregivers. They may have similarities, but DSPs have a wide variety of tasks to help individuals with intellectual development disorders or behavioral and mental issues. DSPs take on supportive roles to help these individuals achieve milestones in their daily lives. Most times, DSPs stay behind the scenes helping individuals do things on their own until they eventually start to become more independent. Some examples are bathing, dressing, bathroom habits, eating, housework, medication management, shopping, managing money, and communicating with others.

These may seem like easy tasks, but they really aren’t. Actually, DSPs also have strict policies and procedures to follow to remain compliant with state standards and to ensure the best quality of support is provided to their clients. With that being said, DSPs have a much bigger responsibility than just helping their clients go through their daily routines.

Documentation. This part of the job is essential to monitor the behaviors of the clients. Therefore, DSPs need to track specific behaviors and incident reports, capture daily activities, and report community outings. With these things in place, DSPs would know if their clients are improving.

Also important are the reports submitted to the state and their clients’ psychiatrists.

Health Care Course. DSPs also have the responsibility to communicate with doctors and medical staff, relay medical history, report behaviors, and take care of follow up schedules.

Providing Safety. DSPs are trained to do first aid and CPR. They also undergo different essential pieces of training in case of medical emergencies.




DSP, Mastery of Human Psychology


Besides helping with the daily activities of the clients, satisfying the emotional need of a person is, at times, strenuous. That is why DSPs must master the art of human interaction on several levels. DSPs need to be sensitive to the messages that their clients are trying to relay. Often, the clients will communicate using non-verbal gestures. That is not an easy task. DSPs must not only be aware of their clients’ emotions but their actions as well.

A vital part of a DSP is responding to behaviors. Behaviors that come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes, individuals with intellectual development disorder can perform actions to gain attention, and other times they can become fearful because of the physical and verbal aggression.

There is a need to understand the reasons why they manifest such behaviors. Although it sounds like a tough thing to do, DSPs need to go through that level of evaluation to help these individuals build a better quality of life.

Most people do not know that the behaviors of these individuals are caused by several reasons. Sometimes, behaviors are health-related. Because they can’t verbalize the messages they want no transmit, they have no other way of expressing them other than through their behaviors. Most of the time, their attempts to communicate are mistaken as behaviors. Ultimately, the person providing the care is missing the signal. Hence, the community misunderstands these individuals’ conditions. That is why DSPs need to master human psychology to satisfy the emotional needs of their clients and to have an awareness of what their clients are trying to convey.



DSP, Bridging People in the Community


Part of a DSP’s task is to ensure improvement not only with cleints’ day-to-day activities but also with how they interact with others. Individuals with intellectual development disorder also need to feel that they are part of a community. Knowing that they belong improves their confidence to face the world bravely despite the challenges. Both the DSP and the client can go somewhere to get some fresh air, spend some quality time together, and who knows? Maybe, even meet new people.

But in order for things to go well, DSPs need to plan things out. You may want to consider these things:

Prepare for the unexpected. As you already know, clients might have limited communication. DSPs might not always catch the signal right away that they need to use the restroom, or maybe they poured a drink on their clothing. It is better to bring an extra change of clothes or two when away from home.



Stand up for them. Many people still do not understand individuals with developmental disorders. Although most of them are warm and accommodating, the fact remains that there are still those who may say demeaning things. So, the goal of making them feel that they belong can be challenging.  DSPs must let unlikely comments roll off their shoulders, and refocus on the goal of giving their clients fun strolls and good memories.

Being a DSP teaches you a lot about the world. Taking on this job will make you realize that life is tough, and is even tougher for people with intellectual development disorders. Having known the difficulties and the joy of being with them, you start viewing the world through their point of view.  It is only then you realize how rewarding and fulfilling it is to be a part of their lives. They start as clients, but eventually, they become your family.

On the whole, DSP work can sometimes be emotionally and spiritually overwhelming, but this job will teach you many invaluable skills that you could use in your personal life.

“This job is just more like a lifestyle. I don’t even call it a job, really. I sometimes forget that it’s a job, because these people become your family. Thinking about them 24/7, it’s just like you become less selfish. You have to be selfless, and that what makes you a better person,” Khari Golden, DSP at 1st Choice Family Services.