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What is a DSP?

What is a DSP?

DSP meaning: stands for Direct Support Professional. But what is a DSP and what do DSPs do? A DSP is a person who works and spends time with people who need some extra help to function effectively in the community. Individuals who need DSPs are empowered through their support to assist them in living their very best life. The rewards of being a DSP includes your own personal and professional growth, giving back to the community, creating life-long and meaningful relationships and memories that are unique to this position. Some of the areas that DSPs provide real assistance are:


Almost every moment in a DSP’s workday is a teaching opportunity. From housekeeping activities to loading a dishwasher or balancing a checkbook, a DSP can potentially improve a person’s life skills to a profound degree. With some members, this may call for more repetition and patience than the average person would need before the lesson is learned, but the results are well worth the time and effort.


All individuals involved in providing direct care receive training in things like first aid, CPR, de-escalating tense situations (especially with children and adolescents), medication administration, and fire safety. Having safety-trained folks present at all times can help to reduce anxiety and stress and contributes greatly to a calm atmosphere.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

A few common activities that DSPs help complete on a day-to-day basis can involve bathing, brushing teeth, fixing up hair, and getting dressed. The level of assistance needed from a DSP for these common, daily activities can range depending on the person and their needs. Sometimes all it takes is a little help to get the job done.


The vast majority of individuals who need DSPs have medications to keep track of. DSPs receive training to help with dosages, frequencies, refills, and storage of meds for the people they work with.  


While many individuals are perfectly capable of keeping their living areas neat and clean, they may need someone to provide some guidance and help with kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor chores. For example, a DSP may have the opportunity in some placements to try their skills at being a chef for the individuals they work with.


Most organizations have financial pros who handle rent/mortgage, utilities, food, meds, and so on. Personal finances, though, are something a DSP can help with. Teaching members to keep track of their spending money is a great way to start to build basic financial awareness.

Errands and Outings

Another common aspect of being a DSP involves running errands and outings. DSPs are responsible for driving their members to the grocery store, a shopping mall, or to a park or museum just to name a few. And, within these errands and outings, if public transportation is available in the location in question, a DSP can teach and assist members navigating the bus, subway, or train system. These errands and outings are just another way that a DSP can help enrich and grow their members’ lives and personal development. They’re able to be presented with new challenges and decisions that aren’t always possible to encounter within their home while still maintaining a safe and comfortable environment. Helping our members to live in the community, enhancing independence, teaching life skills, and ensuring client safety are just some of the ways DSPs can impact lives. If you have ever even toyed with the idea of becoming a DSP, or know of someone who has expressed interest in either becoming or engaging the services of a DSP, don’t wait. Reach out today to find out more!