Community Living Skills and Supports by Dan Hermreck

Doing laundry. Buying groceries. Preparing meals. Washing dishes. Mowing the lawn. There are always many tasks that need to be completed in our personal lives. There are always many chores to do. While we might all appreciate some occasional help with these tasks, we might be less willing to give up control over how they are completed.

I’m not really in the mood to go to the grocery store, but can I trust someone else to buy the correct variety of barbeque sauce from the dozens that are on display? I’d love it if someone unloaded the dishwasher, but less thrilled if the bowls are not in the cabinet I expect them to be in. You did the laundry? Great! But my favorite shirt seems smaller now. Thanks for making the chili tonight, but it came out a little too bland for my tastes.

Direct Support Professionals are routinely called upon to support people in these activities. When time and staffing is limited, it can be tempting to focus on making sure everything gets done in the most efficient way possible.  Doing these tasks for a person will usually take less time that supporting them in these tasks. DSPs are often told that they should involve people in these task to help them to develop skills and gain independence. The skill statements in this competency area make that point as well.  In addition to those motivations, we also want to make sure we are not taking control away from the person we support by taking over these tasks and the many decisions that go into them. How we approach these tasks in someone else’s home is just as important as whether the task is completed.

Of course, community life is not just about completing household chores. DSPs also have a role in supporting people’s involvement in their communities. Friendships, romantic relationships, club memberships, or just being a regular customer at the local coffee shop are all ways that people can connect with others in their communities. DSPs must pursue this work with intention, community living does not just happen by chance. We’ll discuss aspect of support in more detail next month when our topic is the Building and Maintaining Friendships and Relationships competency area. Join the webinar  on Thursday, June 13th by clicking here. 

We’d like to take time to honor our NADSP E-Badge Academy Earner of the Month, Jeff Crawford for being the first Direct Support Professional in the nation to receive his DSP II E-Badge on the NADSP E-Badge Academy. “I think the NADSP E-Badge Academy is a great platform for DSP’s to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in this profession, ” says Jeff  of Horizons Unlimited. We congratulate Jeff on this momentous achievement.