Direct Support Worker

A direct support worker is a professional who supports a person with a disability to lead the life they want, helping facilitate realization of the person’s full rights and responsibilities and promoting opportunities to exercise those rights and responsibilities.

Direct support workers may help plan and tailor support. The service provided by a direct support worker is expected to be meaningful and desired, person-centered and ethical. Support may be peripheral or in-depth depending on need, and may include activities a typical citizen engages in that require understanding, collaboration, cooperation, neighbors, co-workers, peers, family and friends to enjoy to the fullest.  (Some examples are: employment, career development, recreation, transportation, supports in a person’s home, support with health and wellness, emotional support and counseling, coordination of benefits, planning for the future, communication, help with friendships, assistive technology, parenting, romance, volunteering, political advocacy, and education.)

Resources:

Shared Living in Vermont: Individualized Home Supports for People with Developmental Disabilities - This document provides general information about what shared living for people with developmental disabilities looks like in Vermont. It is meant to give families, providers, advocates, and policy makers a broad-brush description of this model of support.

National Association of Direct Support Professionals - For additional information about Direct Support Professionals.

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