Over the past few months, we have shared ‘Words of Encouragement’ from some of our colleagues from across North America. It has been a pleasure to learn how folks are coping with our new way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it has been a source of joy and comfort to know how many people are engaged in supporting and encouraging direct support professionals.

These videos – sometimes emotional, sometimes provocative, sometimes funny, always sincere – were created to show direct support professionals that their commitment to people with disabilities during the pandemic was being recognized and offered encouragement to maintain excellence.

Next week we will conclude the Words of Encouragement series with a live keynote during our week-long From Praise to Promise” virtual event co-hosted by the Research and Training Center on Community Living from the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. To learn more about the session, click here.

In this week’s final blog installment of Words of Encouragement, we are joined by Chet Tschetter and Julie Kramme of the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. Julie and Chet are the co-editors of Frontline Initiative. Frontline Initiative is a publication for and about DSPs.  It is produced through the partnership between NADSP and the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration / Research and Training Center on Community Living.

Julie and Chet’s video shares how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted them. In the video, they reflect on how they are gratitude for DSPs and offer a few suggestions for coping. Chet shares how going outside and gardening has helped her cope. Julie gives a special shout out to parents who are working in direct support while also trying to care for their families during this time. Additionally, they share information on what to expect in the next issue of Frontline Initiative.

Lear more about Chet Tschetter and Julie Kramme:

Chet Tschetter is an Education Specialist at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration Research and Training Center (ICI RTC). At ICI she is Co-editor for Frontline Initiatives (a publication for and about Direct Support Professionals),a contributing author for the College of Direct Support trainer and contributors to system change to Person Centered Practices and Workforce issues for community services. Chet is a seasoned DSP.  She was a Camp Professional directing resident and day camps, respite programs, a work-leisure program, and travel program for individuals receiving services for 20 years. Chet has supported individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in securing employment and/or navigating university.  She  worked for the Autism Society of Minnesota where she provided training in the community, while providing classes and events for children and adults with ASD.  Chet is the author of 101 Tips for Supporting Campers with Autism, 2013, Healthy Learning, Monterey, CA. Chet has a BA in Elementary Education from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Chet and her partner live in Minneapolis with their furry family.

Julie Kramme, M.A., is a researcher at the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota and co-editor of Frontline Initiative, a co-publication of ICI and the NADSP a publication intended to increase the knowledge and professionalism of direct support professionals. Julie has expertise in the direct support workforce, systems improvement in human service organizations, assessment and intervention, data-based decision-making and community initiatives to increase social inclusion. She has coordinated multiple statewide and local projects intended to increase the stability and quality of the direct support workforce, and the quality of life of people with disabilities. Her peer-reviewed work has been published in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the Journal of Intellectual and Disability Research, and Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities. Julie is trained as a school psychologist, and worked for over a decade in direct support, as a middle and high school teacher, and as an undergraduate and graduate instructor. She holds masters of arts degrees in educational psychology (school psychology) and philosophical theology, and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. Julie is currently working to finish her PhD in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota.


Julie Kramme

Julie Kramme

Chet Tschetter

Chet Tschetter

Words of Encouragement from the Chet Tschetter & Julie Kramme

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If you have additional resources to share, please connect with us at ndama@nadsp.org.

NADSP recognizes the invaluable work that Direct Support Professionals all over the world are doing during this unprecedented time. We appreciate you. We hope you remain safe and well.

Thank you,

The NADSP Team