NADSP E-Badge Earner of the Month: Aaron Van Beest

by | Jan 18, 2023 | News

Congratulations to Aaron Van Beest who has been selected as the January 2023 NADSP E-Badge Academy Earner of the Month.We are recognizing Aaron for his excellent ‘Translating Terms’ E-Badge submission. This badge represents a direct support professionals’ work in explaining services and service terms to the individual being supported and their family members. This badge is part of the Communication CMS Core Competency. It also aligns with the NADSP Competency Area of Communication.

Aaron works as a CSW/DSP III for Chilliwack Society for Community Living (CSCL) in British Columbia, Canada.CSCL, in partnership with community, builds capacity for the inclusion and belonging of people with varying abilities.  They promote diversity and provide innovative, individualized services that enhance quality of life. To learn more about CSCL, click here.

Aaron’s Experiences With The NADSP E-Badge Academy

The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) recently asked Aaron about his experiences with the NADSP E-Badge Academy. The questions covered how he carries out his work as a direct support professional, the skillsets he demonstrates on a daily basis, the impact that the E-Badge Academy has had on his professional recognition, and how he gets credit for competency.

A Note from Aaron:

I would like to acknowledge and thank the Chilliwack Society for Community Living for providing me with the opportunity to enroll in the NADSP E-Badge Academy. I feel it has added value and competency to my support work and I am grateful for the encouragement I have received. The NADSP E-Badge Academy has been of great value to me. It is a supportive, effective educational tool that helped me to refine the work I love doing.

Describe the story you shared in carrying out that competency:

As part of my yearly duties, I am asked to present a video on Rights, Abuse and Neglect with the residents of the Staff Supported Home I work at. The intention is to educate/inform them of their rights within the community and within the staff supported home. We had watched the video together as a group and one person being supported was moderately involved in watching it. I could tell that they were not fully understanding some of the ideas and jargon being used. After the video had ended, I sat with them and began by asking them if they understood the video and if they had any questions. What followed was a natural conversation about the different ways abuse and neglect could occur, what their rights were, what consent was, what voting was all about and Freedom of Speech.  Using very simple wording and examples, I was able to convey important ideas that a presentation was not able to capture for them. They were very interested in consent and asking for permission and we had a great talk about how to apply that to our daily lives. To this day I see a significant increase in this person asking for consent before giving someone a hug or touch and they seem to feel comfortable telling others to ask them first too.

Why is this competency so important to DSPs?

Translating terms in a manner that is easier to understand and in a respectful way about the services and supports we provide is an important part of a DSPs job. Providing and translating information honors a persons’ right for informed decision making. When a person has more knowledge about our roles and their rights and we do not hide behind terminology there is an increase in safety and accountability for all.

How have you used this competency in your work?

I use this competency daily. I believe translating terms is a communication skill and looking for ways to rephrase and clarify ideas can go a long way in the quality of support we can provide.

How can other DSPs replicate your practices?

Other DSPs can practice this skill be being aware of how information is being received by a person in support and acknowledging the different ways in which people process information. Then providing the information again in a format that is easier to understand.

How does the NADSP E-Badge Academy benefit your agency?

In my opinion the NADSP E-badge academy benefits our agency by providing new and long term staff with learning and practicing current best practices, skills and philosophies in an ever growing field. When we know better, we do better.

How does NADSP E-Badge Academy benefit the people you support?

When we provide quality supports with current skills or philosophies gained through the NADSP E-Badge Academy, we can enrich the lives of others. With quality DSP work and knowledge, the people we support can benefit with an increase to their quality of life, community presence and self-advocacy.

What does the future hold for your involvement in the NADSP E-Badge Academy?

I have proudly achieved DSP III and that completes my current enrollment with the E-Badge academy. However; I have become aware of the importance of continuing education and continuing growth within the field. I plan to use the learning skills and structure that the NADSP has taught me in our agencies learning portals to continue to be up to date and relevant in our field.

How has NADSP E-Badge Academy affected your professional image?

The NADSP E-badge Academy has affected my professional image by validating the knowledge and practices I bring to my work. I feel I have a stronger professional identity and that the support I provide has a positive impact in others’ lives.

Through continued learning in the E-badge Academy I feel more skilled and I have more tools in the DPSs toolbox to draw on in planning, crisis management, daily support, and advocacy. I feel more confident in the support I provide.

How does NADSP E-Badge Academy give you credit for competency?

The NADSP E-Badge Academy provided credit for competency with earned badges for written knowledge submissions and accumulated hours of online learning. There are also hour credits given for attending lectures and presentations offered through NADSP. One can achieve certificates for DSP I, II or III and I found the format of the online academy easy to use.

Statement from CSCL Director of Human Resources/Labour Relations, Natalie Karam

CSCL employees have been asking for more professional development and education opportunities for years; and it has been challenging to find training that can benefit every employee that is 100% relevant and specific to our field.  Since the NADSP E-Badge Academy was presented to CSCL – we have never looked back.  This was an opportunity to provide employees an opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge – which is what they’ve been asking for.  We have been offering the E-Badge Academy to employees since July 2021 and we are thrilled that the seats are filled by employees and that they are benefiting from this opportunity (this validates and confirms that employees truly are seeking professional development & education opportunities). 

In addition, an employee having the ability to reflect on the NADSP competencies and code of ethics and apply it to their everyday work is amazing.  CSCL has embedded the NADSP’s competencies and code of ethics into our policies and procedures (employees are familiar with the NADSP).  Now, being able to offer our employees the opportunity to obtain credentials for their work through the NADSP (via the E-Badge Academy) – is invaluable.  The end result is employee satisfaction, employee confidence & competence development, consumer satisfaction and it has formed part of CSCL’s recruitment and retention strategy. 

We are extremely proud of Aaron for obtaining his DSP-III credential and his commitment to his ongoing development.  Aaron is a long-term employee of CSCL and is a positive mentor for his co-workers (demonstrating that learning is lifelong).  He continues to demonstrate that he is a dedicated and passionate DSP who absolutely loves the work that he is doing.  Congrats Aaron on being one of first Canadians to obtain their DSP-III credential and for being recognized as an E-Badge Earner of the month.  Amazing work!!! 

The NADSP E-Badge Academy

The NADSP E-Badge Academy offers Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and Frontline Supervisors (FLSs)  the ability to earn national certification through stackable electronic badges. These badges demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and values that these professionals utilize every day, recognizing the professional development that might otherwise go unacknowledged.  Through the NADSP E-Badge Academy, DSPs and FLSs are acknowledged for the experience and education that they bring to the human services field.

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