I’m a direct support professional because I have compassion. I know that I’m imperfect and I look at others and I used to ask myself “if it were me? If I were in that situation? What would others do for me?” so I try to do what I would like to do for me. I try to do for others because you never know what tomorrow would be. Before becoming a DSP I worked in a hospital setting and I helped a lot of people who are not well. And for 9 years as a teacher for secondary and high schools, I still felt that I was not doing enough empathetic work which I am passionate about. There was something lacking and so I began searching for a place where I could use my passion to assist other people.
I get delight and satisfaction working with people - that’s my passion. I started in the social care field in the UK in 2004 and I don’t think there’s any section that I haven’t worked. It is my passion and so when I came to the United States CSS was a good opportunity to work near my house. The one thing that people need to know about the individuals that we support, I don’t see them as disabled, they’re simply limited in what they can do but there is a lot that they can do. They have their own skills and potential and don’t deserve the label that some people will give them.
I’m a Direct Support Professional because I love what I do. I’m the kind of person who believes that you give what you get. A DSP should always be a person who puts themselves in another person’s shoes. Especially as a mother I always said to myself I don’t know what God is going to bless me with and working with people where you don’t know what is going to happen you have to put a smile on your face and you have to put in 100% every day
“The reason why I do the job is because otherwise individuals with disabilities wouldn’t have anyone to work with them. So we have to devote our time to give them good health. Also, I like the job. Even though it’s a challenging job I like to see them in very good health. There are a lot of challenges but if you want to help someone you have to exercise patience and know their behavior plan in order to help them. I would tell anyone who wants to be a DSP that the first priority is to be patient with any person that you are working with because if you are not patient you will never be able to work with the individual and you won’t be prepared for their behavior or other action that they will do.”
“When the individual I support contracted COVID, I couldn’t say I wouldn’t work with him, that wouldn’t make any sense, to do so would mean that you don’t like your job, and I like my job so there was no need for me to leave him. I had to work for better or for worse. I’m a humanitarian and this is a humanitarian job and I do it wholeheartedly. Being a DSP, doing this work, you get to be human.”
Before coming to CSS I worked in a nursing home and I was looking for a change, while still staying in health care. I wanted to work with younger people so that I could make an impact in their lives. I feel like I’m doing that as a direct support professional. When I go home at the end of the day I know that I’ve helped someone. My mother died at a very very young age and so when I see someone who cannot help themselves or who cannot make their own judgement and I can be there and say this is good or this is not good. At the end of the day I can say at least I was able to help someone else get through the day.
Covid makes it all harder because we can’t do what we normally would do. But somebody has to keep working. The people that we support, they’re like our families too. If we don't do it, who’s going to do it? They need support and care and their needs don’t stop because of COVID. I love everyone that I’ve worked with and even when I’m not at work I feel as if I should be, and that I could be doing more and that feeling keeps me going. The connection I have with them, the connection they have with me, it’s priceless. I love them, I love what I do, I love the difference I make in their lives. And I love the difference they make in my life too
Since I was a kid back home in Africa I loved to support people. I have compassion to help people either with disabilities or in the hospital. I have ambition to become a nurse or a doctor one day. It’s my nature. I didn’t know jobs like this existed before I came here. But once I did I thought I need to do it. The house I work in did have a situation with COVID, two of the other staff got it and we were all in quarantine. And I kept working through it all. My own belief is that if the need arises, you’re saving lives. It’s all part of saving lives and we all need to do that.
I enjoy my job. I like coming to work and seeing Kayleigh and Emily and everyone else. If I hadn’t of kept working when COVID started, I would have been sitting around and it would be very depressing. But in the beginning it was hard. I was very emotional and I had to stop watching the news because it was scary. And I have family at home so it was a challenge for me.
“We have to help the individuals we support, if we don’t, who will help them? They need us and we have to make ourselves available. It was scary my first time when I had to take Ryan to the hospital. And as he stayed sick, and then a week went by and I became brave. When someone is sick they need my attention and so I have to help.”
I like to help people. Back home I used to take care of my godmother. I had to take her to doctor’s appointments and help feed her. I have a compassion for human beings. When I came to the US I was excited to apply for this kind of work. My goal is to help people with disabilities be more included in the community. This is my contribution to them. I continue to work during the pandemic because it would be unfair to not do the job. Just because there is a pandemic does not mean they don’t need our support. Even though we are in a pandemic we have to continue to do our best. We have to go the extra mile to help them.
I have five kids. When you work with an individual that is autistic you see similarities. So the love you have for your kids you have to use that same kind of approach to assist them. You have to realize that they sometimes think in the same ways. The person I support needs that same kind of love and support. When I go on vacation, I have to call and check in on him. I can’t abandon him just because there is a pandemic. It would be like abandoning one of my kids.
For them, (COVID) is something they don't understand. You have to tell them to keep their distance, to train on the mask. They're getting there but it's been really hard for them. One thing though, walking is part of the routine. And even when he couldn't go on a home visit, one of the activities he would do with his mother is go on walks and so we replaced that in our community.
I was home when the pandemic started. I was asked if I was willing to work and I said “no”. I thought it would be two weeks. My heart was heavy when I was off. I was always thinking of the people I support. I decided to come back, and the individuals I support did not recognize me with my mask on. It broke my heart. I saw the individuals I support on Zoom and I saw that they had grown. It made me come back to work. I can’t wait for this pandemic to be over so we can do all the activities that we used to do.
I love taking care of people. Back home, I used to work in an agency where I used to take care of people - it was always my hobby. I love it and I love to help people. I love to support people so they can become independent. My sister helped me to find my job - it was one semester. I was taking care of an old lady, giving her a bath, cooking for her, and from that experience I knew that I can take care of special people.
I like to help people. One of my family members was sick and they needed somebody who would just give them help. And I always have the heart to help people. When I got this job, I didn’t really know what would happen but I wanted to help and do more. It's in my personality to be helpful.
I have the compassion to help people, especially the less privileged and people in need. The passion I have has guided me to do this work. I like to be treated well with respect, which is why I see God in every human. Like the saying, "treat others the way you ought to be treated.”
To make a difference, I have to contribute to the change. I feel blessed doing this job because there is an inner satisfaction and happiness I get when I am able to make a positive impact in someone's life.
I started working in this field because I have a brother that is autistic. I used to take care of him back in Cameroon. I know this job takes commitment and compassion. When I came to the US I did not know that this kind of work existed. Back home everyone had to take care of their own family members if they needed care. When I discovered this kind of work existed I was eager to do it.
When I got (to the United States,) I worked with young kids long term. I had a friend that was working at CSS and they introduced me to the kind of work that we do. When (CSS) called me to come into work they wanted me to start the next day. I had to get a friend to help me get to (the house.) I started working that Sunday from 10 to 3. After I was done, I was called and asked how did it go, I said fine, so I was then was asked if I could start on Wednesday.
I started working in this field because back home I was a social worker. Helping other people with a different background helps us grow. We learn from the people we support. We learn about how we can adapt to other people's behavior and how we can support others. Everyday I come to work it is a learning experience.
Working through this pandemic has been scary at times. When it started I was pregnant and I felt was putting my life at risk. Then the house I was working in was shut down and I stayed home until after giving birth. While I was out, then the house had COVID positive cases and it was time for me to come back.
I like helping people in general. Nursing has been my career choice and is what I studied in high school and in college. My younger brother is autistic and I used to take care of him. This job really gave me an opportunity to use the knowledge and skill from my background. If I can help my brother, I know I can help other people too. Since working at CSS, I have improved my skills a lot. What I have learned has helped me to be able to take care of the individuals I support and it has helped me to also take better care of my brother.
I didn’t have a job and I did not know what I was getting involved with. A friend of mine told me about CSS, and I remembered a kid I knew who had autism back in France. I saw the growth the kid experienced from someone who was very patient with him. I saw it as a challenge and wanted to help. You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. It was a big challenge for me at the beginning, it really taught me how to be patient. I really did not know how strong the lady was back in France that was working with the kid who was autistic. I found a whole new level of respect for her!
It’s been a journey since this thing started. I thank CSS for this opportunity that lets me express my empathy toward all CSS staff and individuals that we serve everyday. The skills are used in various domains specifically behavioral management , social interactions and many more have help me promote better living to the individuals we support within the CSS community. I have been so delighted to be part of the CSS team that shifts the way people think about the special needs population.
I also thank CSS for all the training that we have gained so far to protect ourselves and our individuals. Let us continue applying all procedures to be on the safe side for ourselves, individuals, family and community.
My mom introduced me into this field. She use to work with children with autism. It is because of her I fell in love doing this kind of work. I keep coming to work everyday, even during the pandemic, because of the relationships I have built here, and the passion I have for this work.
First I like the job, and I have been working with the individual I support for a long time. Everyday she asks me, are you coming tomorrow. I could not think of not working with her, especially during the pandemic. She does not see her parents, it is hard for her.
I think it’s important to assist people as a DSP because it’s helping myself. The people we support are great people; they just need someone by their side to adjust and do the things in the community that they enjoy.
I have been in this field for 11 years before starting working with CSS. I have a son who is autistic, CSS was a perfect way for me to find out more about Autism. CSS has educated me a lot on how I can help him. This is why I go the extra mile to help the individuals that CSS supports.
First of all, I would like to thank God for giving me the ability to help. When I was growing up back home, there were people that were autistic and we did not know how to help them. When I came to the country I saw individuals that are autistic in the malls and all around. My father helped teach me that it would be good to work with them. Coming here, and doing this work has made me a better person.
In the beginning it was extremely challenging for the people I support. The pandemic has changed our job in so many ways - our life is not how it used to be in the past six months and things have changed tragically, our social interactions have been stopped and the old schedules are gone completely.
<On why the role of a DSP is important> It’s very important because you learn too. You learn how to be patient, you learn how to prevent some behavior and you learn how to know what people in that type of situation will behave. The people we support have to be in the community with everybody with the rest of people because they are human and they have rights too.