NADSP E-Badge Earner of the Month: Kathy Axline, DSP-III

by | Sep 28, 2021 | News

Congratulations to Kathy Axline who has been selected as the NADSP E-Badge Academy Earner of the Month for October of 2021. Kathy is being recognized for her excellent ‘Household Management’ E-Badge submission. This badge represents a Direct Support Professionals’ work in helping to teach and assist individuals with household tasks such as laundry and cleaning. This badge is part of the Community Living Skills and Supports Core Competency. It also aligns with the NADSP Competency Area of Community Living Skills and Supports.

Kathy works for Community Living, Inc. in Frederick, Maryland. Through its mission, Community Living, Inc. “provides supports and services to empower adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live their lives to the fullest.”

Kathy’s Experiences With The NADSP E-Badge Academy

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

Describe the story you shared in carrying out that competency:

I work with Alfred (name changed to protect the privacy of the person I support). He tends to be an over cleaner – he uses too much cleaning product and cleans to an extreme. I work with Alfred, getting his groceries. We started to get more diluted cleaning products, ones with less strength. We also worked on a scheduled of how many times he would clean something a day or week. Alfred has slowly improved his OCD behavior, and now the paint stands a chance on his walls and bannisters. He is using less products and we are using more natural products to not strip the paint off the walls while he cleans.

Why is this competency so important to DSPs?

Learning how to help the people we support to be able to handle their cleaning behaviors, and to keep it safe without harmful fumes and such make them more able to try and control their want to clean over and over again.

How have you used this competency in your work?

I have used the information I have learned from the different scenarios many times with the different people I support. Everyone has a different way of approaching a task. Learning ways to help them make their chores easier and safer is important to all of us.

How can other DSPs replicate your practices?

Learn more about the person you are supporting – you don’t have to change their behavior – help them learn ways to cope and keep them safe and happy at the same time.

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

I have learned a lot about some of the disabilities people have – and have been able to learn more effective ways to deal with their behaviors and the way they process daily activities.

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

I feel I have learned to be a little more patient and to learn to listen to their wants and needs. I have learned that the way they say something may not be the way they really want me to hear it. Listening and learning to process their thoughts have taught me to keep an open mind and heart.

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

I look forward to learning what training and steps there are above the Direct Support Professional-III Certification. I recently earned that level.

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

I feel it has given me a stronger basis to be able to assist people with a support that is more appropriate for their needs and wants. I think the chance to learn more has opened up my thoughts on some of the behaviors and ways the people I support process their thoughts and needs.

How has NADSP E-Badge Academy affected your skills?

I definitely feel more skilled. I feel more confident in being able to help the people I support, and being able to wait and listen. Learning to not inflict my thoughts and ideas – waiting to hear theirs was an eye-opening experience.

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

I have earned my certification up through the Direct Support Professional-III. I feel the sense of accomplishment is important to me – I feel more educated and more prepared for some of the experiences I have in my position of support.

Words of Support from Community Living, Inc.

“I am happy that Community Living is able to provide the opportunity for Kathy and other DSPs to participate in professional development. Direct Support Professionals are the backbone of our organization, and the E-Badge Academy, coupled with the accredited education programs, provide moments for support professionals to reflect on and improve the support they provide.”

Matt Cora, Administrator


“Kathy has always been an outstanding DSP. She can work in any setting and is always willing to help people participate in activities that are important to them from sporting events to vacations to just hanging out with friends. Her participation in the NADSP E-Badge Academy is surely going to enhance her skills in this area. It was a pleasure talking with her when she told me that despite her years of experience in the field, she learned a lot from her training and one particular training gave her brand new insights into a situation that had often frustrated her in the past. Although we have had a number of DSPs participate in the program, I’m hoping Kathy’s experience will inspire more to take advantage of this outstanding opportunity that is available to them.”

Michael Planz, Leadership

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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The vision of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) is a world with a highly qualified and professional direct support workforce that partners with, supports, and empowers people with disabilities to lead a life of their choosing. NADSP works to elevate the status of direct support professionals by improving practice standards, promoting system reform, and advancing their knowledge, skills and values, through certification, credentialing, training, professional development, and accreditation services.