E-Badge Academy Reviewer of the Month: Janet Wilson

by | Feb 13, 2023 | News

Congratulations to Janet Wilson who has been selected as the February 2023 NADSP E-Badge Academy Reviewer of the Month.

This week we’re celebrating a special milestone – 10,000 E-Badges reviewed by our very own – Janet Wilson! In celebration of this incredible achievement, we asked Janet a few questions in the style of our monthly feature, “E-Badge Earner of the Month.” Janet is incredibly familiar with the intricacies of the E-Badge Academy as she was part of the team that helped to build it. Also, Janet herself is a former direct support professional (DSP) and is credentialed. 

Janet works alongside the E-Badge Academy team to provide training and support to organizations as the Manager of Certification and Accreditation at the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals. She resides in Kentucky.

DSP-I Certification E-Badge Icon

Janet’s Experiences With The NADSP E-Badge Academy

The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) recently asked Janet about her experiences with the NADSP E-Badge Academy.

How did you become a part of the E-Badge Academy before joining the NADSP Staff in 2022?

I served on the NADSP Board for six years, first as a Director-at-Large and then as Secretary.  While on board, I was part of the ETWD (Education, Training, and Workforce Development) committee reviewing the traditional portfolio-based credentialing model.  While in that group, we realized that our portfolio-based model was not reaching as many Direct Support Professionals and Front-Line Supervisors as we had hoped.  On a cold night in Albany in January 2017, a group of us from across the country got together, and the seed of the E-Badge Academy was planted.  Since I wasn’t working at an agency at the time, I was able to help with the development and piloting of the Academy as needed, first as a volunteer and then as an employee.

This is a significant milestone. How do you keep up with all of the reviews?

I’ve been reviewing since the pilot, and so I have a few years on the other reviewers.  I review almost every day, knowing that the users of the E-Badge Academy are waiting for their review.

 What is your favorite badge in the E-Badge Academy?

That is almost as tough as asking a parent who their favorite child is.  My favorite one is the one I am reviewing at the time.  Each tells situations of their work and I feel fortunate that the users share their testimonials with me.

What submission/badge review has made a significant impression on you?

Several submissions have stayed with me, but our last earner of the month submitted a testimonial on Translating Terms that left a strong impression.  His testimonial discussed how translating information honors the right to informed decision-making.

I also enjoy the audio submissions we receive.  Hearing a user’s voice describing work adds to the testimonial.  Audio submissions are an excellent way for people who find talking about their work, as opposed to writing about it, an easy way to submit their testimonials.

Why is competency so important to direct support professionals?

 It’s important to recognize that direct support professionals have a multitude of skills they must rely upon at a moment’s notice. I do not believe any one competency is more important than another, however direct support professionals have a unique set of tools that make them highly competent professionals. 

As a former direct support professional, what would be the first badge you would submit for?

Advocating With.  I think it can be easy to fall into the ideology that we must be the voice of the individuals receiving support. That’s a sweet sentiment, but it is the job of professionals to help those we support to be their own voice.  We can educate and discuss, but the individual we support ultimately chooses the path.

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

My role has shifted from only reviewing badges to one now where I work with local agency administrators helping them to start using the E-Badge Academy, answering their questions as their users start using the system, help to recruit new reviewers, and be there as a resource when our reviewers have questions.

If you could create a badge – what badge would you create?

I would like to see our idea of specialty badges we have been working on start to be included in the Academy. There are so many areas in which DSPs can demonstrate their skills.  There are many great badges currently in development for the future.  That, to me, is an important characteristic of the NADSP E-Badge Academy–we will continue to evolve.

If you could give advice to a newer direct support professional who just joined the NADSP E-Badge Academy, what would you tell them?

I recommend that direct support professionals take their time and reflect on the journey.  Too often, DSPs feel they are just doing their job and that they are “just a DSP.” They do not see themselves as the skilled professionals they are. The NADSP ideological founder, John F. Kennedy Jr, wrote, “Quality is defined at the point of interaction between the staff member and the individual with a disability.”  As DSPs travel upon their certification path, I hope they realize daily that they are demonstrating that quality.

You are now a professional.  Just as doctors are bound by the Hippocratic oath, you are bound by our professional Code of Ethics.

Keep in mind that reviewers and local administrators are there to help you.  Read their feedback carefully, and reflect on how it can improve your submissions and work.

Statement from Director of Certification and Accreditation Dan Hermreck

Janet has been part of the E-Badge Academy from the very beginning, going back to the days when the development team would gather in hotel meeting rooms in whatever midwestern city we could all travel to. During the development process she kept us connected to the realities of support work. Once the E-Badge Academy launched she became one of our most enthusiastic reviewers, always wanting to get DSPs a result as quickly as possible. All of these qualities have carried over once she was able to officially join the NADSP staff. Congratulations on this impressive milestone, Janet!

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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