Direct Support Professionals, according to the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals National Skill Standards, must engage in Organizational Participation. This is a competency and skill requirement. Simply put, this means that DSPs have a professional role to be part of a larger world; they must see beyond the shift they are working, the particular setting in which they practice and even beyond the agency or provider for whom they are employed. They need to be members of their employer's various committees and work groups. DSPs should be members of community associations and organizations. And most importantly, Direct Support Professionals need to be a member of THEIR OWN professional organization.....and they have one!!
The relatively few numbers of Direct Support Professionals who are registered members of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals as compared to the estimated millions of people doing Direct Support in the United States is evidence to me that there is a need for spreading the word about professional membership in one's own trade organization.
Now, look, this is not necessarily an advertisement for the NADSP however it is a suggestion to all of you who are reading this to tell your colleagues about the benefits of being part of a "larger voice". If you are not a member yourself, please consider joining. The whole purpose of professional trade organizations is to expand the body of knowledge of the profession, to provide networking possibilities for it's members and to help boost the recognition and importance of the particular craft or profession; and in our case the Direct Support Profession.
Professional Membership Associations provide:
• An opportunity to be part of a larger, state, regional and national movement
• A seat at the table during Policy discussions
• Opportunities to Participate in Training & Networking Activities
• Newsletters, websites, social networking sites and other means of communication to learn about issues that are important to them
A sense of professional empowerment and status...(this information taken from a power point presentation NADSP does around the country promoting the profession)
It so happens that the major organization in the USA that is doing such advocacy and development work on behalf of DSPs is the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals....please see the website NADSP.
Many states have chapters of the NADSP such as, New York State's DSPANYS (Direct Support Professional Alliance of NY State and Ohio which has, OADSP Ohio Alliance for Direct Support Professionals. There are many, many more state chapters which you can check out on the NADSP home page.
The point to today's blog is simple. If you are a Direct Support Professional and want to be a bigger part of a movement to improve your craft and profession, become affiliated with more people who are also looking at the same future and growth as you. If you are not a member of your professional association in November....be a member in December. Details to join NADSP and state affiliates are on the NADSP website. And, if you are a member, recruit others to make our voice and mission louder!
Remember to become a member!!!