Strong Bonds Between Clients And Direct Support Professionals
A glimpse in the life of a direct support professional
Author, 1st Choice Family Services
A strong relationship between clients and direct support professionals is the key to good quality support. People felt valued when their support noticed what their capabilities were and found ways to nurture it. Helping them overcome tasks that they wanted to do was also highly valued. They felt cared about when they experienced personal warmth, knew they were listened to, felt their views mattered and experienced mutual trust. Many people with disabilities have limited opportunities to take part in activities where they can meet peers. Without DSPs, people with disabilities may never have the opportunity to explore the world because of restrictions and boundaries.
A direct support professional from 1st Choice Family Services shared his experience about some of his clients that changed his life. Many people may think that being a direct support professional can change the lives of people with disabilities. What they may not know is that their clients can change their lives as well. “Jordan” has been a part of this industry for more than a year. He found out about this job from a friend who was working in the same field. Jordan works from 9 am to 6 pm. He is taking care of four clients in a week, showering them, cooking breakfast for them, assisting them with hygiene, sometimes changing diapers and getting them new clothes. He is also doing some basic household duties like cleaning, or making sure they get their medicine and he makes sure he is there for his clients when they need emotional support.
DSPs are not just employees. They support their clients as friends. Jordan also helps them make financial decisions. He assists clients when walking, sitting down, or assisting them getting in and out of cars. Most of the time he is there to guide them and to be there for them in anything they do, helping them to live life to the fullest, being there when no one else is. During times that clients need love and attention, our direct support professional is there to fill in that gap. That is how our direct support professionals at 1st Choice Family Services set high standards.
Experiencing the best of both worlds from a direct support professional’s perspective
A conversation with Jordan, a valued direct support professional at 1st Choice Family Services.
Question: Can you share any special moments that you have with your clients?
“There are two clients that we are supporting. They are two of the most aggressive clients that we have. They have not been out of the state for too long. One out of these two clients never experienced being out of the state. Well, two of my co-workers wanted to go to Myrtle Beach. Everybody thought that it would be a great idea for our clients too because they never experienced this kind of trip but doubted if it would be successful. Even I had doubts if it would be possible for the two clients to experience a drive of almost 12 hours. But, we made it down there without any problems. One of the clients had never seen Palm trees before, and at that moment he got the chance. It might be a small thing to other people but it meant a lot to this person. They got to experience going to the beach and just enjoy the moment with us. They both had never experienced this before; they were not permitted to do anything over the last five years. Seeing the look on my client’s face when he saw the Palm trees was just heartwarming. They both did not even seem to know that this type of tree existed. They also experienced touching the sand, seeing it for the first time, and then figuring out the different things they saw around them. I think that is the most special moment I experienced so far working as a DSP – knowing that your clients trust you to do new things with them. When they look at you, even though they do not know what will happen next, they keep going because they know that you are there to keep them safe. You’re doing something for them that-many times-even their parents do not do.
One client hasn’t been taken out if the state where he lives for years, and the other client didn’t leave the state until this trip. We had to make sure that the trip was going to be special. I can’t even describe the feeling of achievement that resulted from the trip to Myrtle Beach. It’s hard to put it into words. Watching them looking at the water and just having a great time. We ended up coming home and everybody was happy. They will never forget that. To give our clients something that they will cherish forever, I feel like this is the standard at 1st Choice Family Services. We are willing to go beyond our job to help our clients experience these moments. We are the people who are willing to do that. They will forget about a lot of things. They may forget what their dinner was yesterday but if you tell them about the beach they now know what you are talking about. It will automatically bring smiles on their faces. They were in that car for a long time and they were happy. Before this trip, there is no way anyone believed this was going to be a success. One of the clients has four staff and we knew we were down to two staff during the trip, the other client’s history is destroying things. We were able to get through the trip without seeing that behavior. We made a real difference, we set the standards high and we think everybody should know about it. The long drive to the beach was everything to them. We offer the simple joys of life to our clients to make them feel loved and cherished.
We’ve been like their parents. We see their growth and change and we are proud of them.”
Hearing this experience directly from one of our direct support professionals is uplifting. If you want to make a difference, BE THAT DIFFERENCE.