COVID-19 Toolkit For DSPs

Resources to help DSPs take care of themselves during the crisis
With the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, there is a constant barrage of information being shared. Things are changing almost hourly across the country. The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) is committed to sharing resources for Direct Support Professionals. We understand that given this global crisis, Direct Support Professionals are still working to provide supports. As Direct Support Professionals are on the front lines, we have created this tool kit with self care information and additional resources for individuals. If you have additional resources that would be beneficial for other Direct Support Professionals, please email

Free DSP Webinars

Your Questions and Our Answers About The COVID-19 Vaccine For Direct Support Professionals

NADSP Medical Advisor, Rick Rader, MD and Biochemist, Mark Macbeth, PhD share details about the newly released COVID-19 Vaccines. In this webinar, Dr. Rader and Dr. Macbeth will teach us about several aspects of the vaccines and will answer your questions about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. Our presenters have distinguished expertise in developmental medicine and the study of mRNA technology which is the make-up of the COVID-19 Vaccine. This webinar which is geared toward direct support professionals and management personnel who support people with disabilities.

The Facts About Covid-19 Vaccines for For Direct Support Professionals

Direct support professionals have been on the frontlines of supporting people with disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The COVID-19 vaccines are now here and becoming widely available. As this is good news, we also know there is some confusion and worry among people about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. In this webinar, NADSP in partnership with the American Academy of Developmental Medicine & Dentistry (AADMD) will address vaccine concerns. Please join Rick Rader, MD as he shares up to date and research-based information on the COVID-19 vaccines.

Self Care for Direct Support Professionals in Crisis

The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) has created an important webinar targeted to help direct support professionals understand their value and offer them some practical ideas to use for their own self-care during this crisis. We must recognize the invaluable contributions direct support professionals provide to our society and our obligation is to protect them so they can protect others.

Meditation for DSPs in Times in Stress

Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Director of Educational Services, John Raffaele has created a meditation for DSPs in times of stress. We are here for you during this very difficult time. If you want to connect with John, he can be reached at:

The Role of the DSP and Coronavirus: Part Four

We are grateful for the guidance and recommendations from NADSP Medical Adviser, Dr. Rick Rader in our last few webinars. In this video, Dr. Rader provides a brief update on developments since the previous webinar on April 3rd, 2020 on how Direct Support Professionals can support people with disabilities during this pandemic.

Competency in the Time of the Coronavirus

When the NADSP staff have an opportunity to speak to direct support professionals (DSP) around the country, one of our key messages is that DSPs are highly skilled professionals. The NADSP Competency Areas describe a set of professional skills that DSPs use in their work each and every day. Those same skills will also be needed, although possibly used in new and different ways, during the current COVID-19 pandemic. This webinar is a companion to the blog, “Competency in the Time of Coronavirus,” written by Dan Hermreck, Director of Certification and Accreditation. In this webinar, Dan will highlight how Direct Support Professionals are using the NADSP Competencies.

Practical Applications For Hiring, Engaging and Keeping DSPs During (& AFTER) COVID-19

If there was a silver lining to be found during this COVID-19 pandemic, it would be that people need jobs and we, the human services field, have plenty of them to offer. The trick is, how do we keep the people we hire with us after the pandemic is over? The standards for hiring should never be weighted by the state of the economy or the vacancy rate of an organization, it should be an unwavering standard of quality. During this crisis, we have been given the ugly gift of meeting applicants that we may not have had a chance to meet – those who have little knowledge of the work that direct support professionals do. How do we recruit, hire, and retain a workforce that is coming to us as a last resort? How do we capitalize on that silver lining? Join us for this webinar presentation for practical ideas to engage a new workforce.

Frontline Initiative: Self Care for DSPs

NADSP’s John Raffaele keeps the conversation going with two authors from the latest edition of Frontline Initiative; Self Care for Direct Support Professionals. John will dive deeper into the topics of “compassion fatigue” with Patricia Smith. We will also take some time to speak with Rachel Jacob on something called, “C.A.R.M.A.” (Cultivating Awareness Mindfulness and Agility). We will also take participants on a “tour” of the latest issue of Frontline Initiative.

Grief and Loss for Direct Support Professionals

In this webinar with Dr. Rick Rader, we will discuss the role of the DSP in grieving, growth and systems change. We will explore the following topics: The time to grieve alone, in groups both formally and informally, What is “normal” grieving, disenfranchised grief, atypical grieving,  The pros and cons of “professional distance”, The need for the DSP to be both a grief counselor and a griever – and to know when to wear each hat, The experience of “seeing it to the end” as a modality for both professional and personal growth., Models for remembrance; how grieving provides signals and messages to the survivors,  How “Lessons learned” can be used to change prevailing cultures of the system that might have better supported both the DSPs and the individual.

Let’s Talk with Dave: When Death Happens at Work

The next Let’s Talk with Dave Hingsburger is focused on death. For many, it is a word that strikes fear, anxiety, and sadness. It is a natural process of life; yet it’s complex and often difficult to process when it happens.In this webinar, John Raffaele and Dave aim to speak more candidly about death and the grieving process in this webinar. It is our hope that this webinar can shed some light and offer a few insights and resources to better help you deal with grief and support others in the workplace.

With Special Guests: Amanda Gee and Virginia Jahyu

Free COVID-19 Handouts

NADSP COVID-19 Fact Sheet

DSPs are on the front lines of supporting people with confirmed or possible infection with coronavirus (COVID-19) and therefore have an increased risk of exposure to this virus. DSPs can minimize their risk of exposure when supporting possible COVID-19 patients by following CDC infection prevention and control guidelines.

Green Mountain COVID-19 Plain Language Handout

This plain language handout, produced by Green Mountain Self Advocates, shares information about the coronavirus (COVID-19). It includes a description of the pandemic, various precautions that should be followed, as well as other takeways to help keep people safe and healthy.

The Role of the DSP and the Coronavirus: Part Three Q & A (4/10/20)

Medical Questions

During the NADSP Webinar on April 3rd, dozens of questions were asked by registrants. Due to time restraints, we were unable to answer all questions live. This document contains all of the medical questions answered by the NADSP Medical Advisor, Dr. Rick Rader, MD.

Frontline Initiative: Self-Care for DSPs

To assist the people they support, DSPs must also take care of their own needs, health, and wellness. Incorporating self-care practices into their everyday lives helps DSPs in their work and other life areas. This issue of Frontline Initiative highlights how this helps them continue in the field and improve professionally.

Additional COVID-19 Online Resources

Centers for Disease Control

This article from the Centers for Disease Control shares coping strategies. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.


To help you stay healthy and informed, ANCOR has a resource page that is dedicated to sharing tips and resources, which is updated daily.

The Mighty

Katie Kreitzer, a contributor for The Mighty, authored an article titled ‘Messages for Anyone Struggling Because of the COVID-19 Coverage.’

Talking to People with Intellectual Disabilities about COVID-19

This article discusses how you can support people to understand what is happening and to cope with the sudden changes to their lives. Written by Ben Drew

Share Your Story

Your story matters, now more than ever. We need to support one another and honor the critical work that DSPs are doing during the coronavirus pandemic. Record Your story

Find Your Local Food Bank

The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks secures and distributes 4.3 billion meals each year through food pantries and meal programs throughout the United States and leads the nation to engage in the fight against hunger.