Direct Support Professionals

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Every day Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) by providing support and care that allows individuals to live in their local communities.

What are DSPs?
A workforce that partners with, supports and empowers people with disabilities to lead a life of their choosing. The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) is committed to supporting DSPs in the work they do. To view the DSP code of ethics, click HERE. To learn more about NDDSP, visit their website HERE.

If you are interested in becoming a DSP, see the TN Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities DSP page HERE.

Nationally and locally, the IDD field is experiencing a DSP crisis. DSPs rarely make a living wage (average pay is less than $10 an our) yet they are responsible for the overall support of our state's most vulnerable people. For providers, this means a high turnover, lots of overtime costs and an impact on the quality of service delivery.

Advocacy is needed for:

  • Increasing public awareness of the DSP role for people with IDD
  • Creating certification/raising the bar for education
  • Increasing in reimbursement rates

To read DSP Current News in Tennessee, click HERE.

The DSP Recognition Award is a program of The Arc Tennessee. This annual $500 award recognizes a DSP who has “gone the extra mile” in supporting people with IDD in their community, with special emphasis on the values in the Code of Ethics for Direct Support Professionals.   The deadline for nominations is April 1st of each year and the winner is notified by May 1. The winner will be honored at The Arc TN's award banquet held the evening preceeding the Tennessee Disability MegaConference.

If you know someone who provides direct support to people with IDD, who demonstrates the values of the DSP Code of Ethics, nominate him or her to win $500 and a trophy.

Before nominating, read the DSP Code of Ethics by clicking HERE.

To nominate, complete the Word form found HERE.