The Importance Of Support Groups For People With Developmental Disabilities


From the day we are born, most people have a family as the main support system, from childhood to adulthood. We have acquired values and behaviors from them. They are our role models. Our family usually makes the greatest impact on our lives. They can be one of the reasons why we didn’t feel alone when we were children.


We cannot survive in this world alone. We need others to help us get through our lives. It is the reason why as a human being, we crave connection. The moment we opened our eyes and saw the beauty of the world as an infant, we also needed our mother’s physical and emotional presence. The family’s presence helps protect individuals from stress and emotional regulation, both of which are important to healthy brain development and future well-being.


We need a father figure to reinforce good behaviors. Children with more involved fathers tend to have fewer behavioral problems, longer attention spans and a higher level of sociability. A male teaches a child how to be tough. The people that surround us play an important role in our growth. They help us feel connected in our society.



Connecting with the right people




Being able to connect is essential for people with disabilities. Studies show that people with a disability are at higher risk for depression. It is important to make them feel that they are not alone when they feel down and lonely. It is one of the many roles of our direct support professionals, to make clients feel safe every time they are having an emotional breakdown. Sometimes, they are just there to listen.


“This world is full of people who have given up on them. The people you’re taking care of, people give up on them all the time, and you don’t want to be that person who gives up on them just because things get hard.”  This was said by a direct support professional from 1st Choice Family Services and he added, “You should never give up on the people you love, the people who depend on you because at the end of the day, you will realize that you are the only one that they’ve got.”


Being in a group means connecting. You are interacting with people with developmental disabilities and need to maintain a connection. The connection provides an opportunity to be with people who are likely to have a common purpose and likely to understand one another. Participating in a support group can result in a lot of benefits. The benefits may include feeling less lonely and isolated. Groups can also reduce distress, depression, anxiety or fatigue.


Support groups involve having a network of family and friends that you can turn to in times of need. It is social support that builds people up during times of stress and often provides the strength to carry on and even thrive. People with disabilities should have something to look forward to daily. They should be surrounded by people who understand what it feels like to be in their shoes. Direct support professionals can arrange support groups for their clients and ultimately create another opportunity for improvement in socialization.


Building and maintaining a strong support system for people with disabilities can provide encouragement and help them stay involved in meaningful activities. A support group can help them build friendships and improve their emotional well-being. Our direct support professional aims to help clients live life to the fullest. They always set standards for taking care of people with a disability. Sometimes they do things that even the family of their client did not do. And that’s what makes their job so significant and special.




The thinking that people with disabilities should be locked down in their house for their safety is absurd. Our direct support professionals break this stigma. They are human beings and they shouldn’t feel trapped in their own home just because of their disability. They are entitled to enjoy the world. That may mean a stroll in the park on a summer day with ice cream in hand, or lying in the grass watching children running joyfully in the park or maybe just experiencing a simple car ride with some favorite music playing. Simple things will bring extra joy and direct support professionals can make this happen.


Support groups are focused primarily on providing a safe, confidential environment for people to form connections. People with disabilities tend to isolate themselves and think that they are the only ones feeling as they do. A support group can be a good place to address both of these barriers and can help improve their lives. Some support groups are led or facilitated by a professional such as a social worker or counselor. In some cases, it can be led by a direct support professional. DSPs can organize these groups for their clients so they can be with other people they can relate to.


Direct support professionals are the “backbone” of long term services and supports. They provide a wide and complex range of services, including aiding people with activities of daily living and promoting physical and emotional well-being. Support groups led by direct support professionals will create a life without limits for people with disabilities. It is the heart of everything they do. We found direct support professional continuity is central to the quality of life, including human security, community, relationships, choices and goals.


Support groups for people with disabilities can give them a sense of belonging. It is one way to make them feel heard, loved and valued. It won’t make them feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, because through the help of support groups and by connecting with others with similar experiences they can learn that they are not alone. They will fit in with the right people, alongside their direct support professional who will always put their needs first.