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Direct Support Professionals

Direct Support Professionals (DSP) are caregivers certified to administer medications, provide maintenance exercises, and assist with client advocacy for persons with intellectual and physical disabilities.

The main role of a DSP is to assist individuals to live a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. They provide services to children, young adults, adults or seniors with intellectual and physical disabilities.

DSP’s help individuals meet personal goals and overcome barriers. They accomplish this by:

  • Behavioral development: acting as a role model, demonstrating appropriate behaviors, using specialized techniques to address behavior issues
  • Health: administering medication, providing physical therapy
  • Personal: eating, bathing, grooming, toileting
  • Daily living skills: cooking , shopping, laundry, budgeting, social skills, vocational/job skills
  • Record keeping: helping determine client needs, logging and documenting client health status and/or progress

You can often find DSP’s working in supported livings arrangements, such as the homes of their clients. They may also work in educational or employment settings.

A DSP must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Complete a background screening
  • Complete training and pass tests

A Day on the Job