This is a graphic of the five logos of the partners who participated in this project. The partner logos are for the RTC on Community Living at the Institute on Community Integration, The National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals, Elsevier, DirectCourse, and The Arc.

Selections from “Invaluable”

John and Hiram (Click to play video) DSP Hiram Williams describes his work with John, an older man he supports in upstate New York.

Job title: Direct Support Professional (Click to play video) Narrated by Tim Shriver, this clip describes the complexity and various roles of direct support professionals beyond physical assistance.

DSPs are on stage (Click to play video) John Raffaele and David Hingsburger describe the work of DSPs in the public realm as ambassadors.

Workforce demand (Click to play video) This clips describes the increasing demand for direct support professionals over the next 10 years and our currently inability to meet it.

We just get scraps (Click to play video) DSP Nikeeta Smith compares the wages of DSPs to scraps, indicating society doesn’t value their work and they people they support.

Expecting more for less (Click to play video) We expect DSPs today to perform as interdisciplinary professionals, yet we pay them 25% less than institutional and nursing home workers and provide little recognition for their work.

Wearing many hats (Click to play video) DSPs articulate many of the vital roles DSPs perform. Nearly 90% of DSPs are women, one-fourth were born outside of the United States, and one out of five lives in poverty.

Dylan and Pat (Click to play video) DSP Dylan Brown describes his work in supporting Pat, a man he has known for over 10 years.

On the backs of workers (Click to play video) Moving from institutional to community-based services was supported in part by suppressing wages for DSPs. Adjusting for inflation, average wages for DSPs are lower today than 10 years ago.

More like teachers and mentors (Click to play video) DSPs are more like teachers and mentors, doing things with the person supported, not necessarily for the person. It’s not just straight caregiving.

I want better pay (Click to play video) DSP Dylan Brown tells us receiving no reward for educating himself to become the best DSP possible.  

David and Tonya (Click to play video) DSP Tony Lenox has supported David in his home for more than three years but struggles to see Direct Support as a career at such low wages.

Technology innovation (Click to play video) Remote support is an alternative to having the constant physical presence of staff in someone’s home.

The most alarming consequences (Click to play video) Abuse and neglect often results from relying on unqualified and poorly trained staff.

Renzo (Click to play video) With the support of DSPs, Renzo Viscardi is able to live on his own, hold down a job, and maintain an active social life.

Acadia Glass (Click to play video) Jessica, a woman with disabilities including blindness, works successfully in a glass factory with the support of a DSP. The employer views the employment of people with disabilities as good for business.

Investing in communities (Click to play video) When DSPs do their jobs well, they not only transform the lives of people with disabilities; they also make a vital contribution to the whole community.