Last week, September 11th to the 17th we celebrated Direct Support Professionals (DSP) Recognition Week, a week dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating all DSPs do to help the community. DSPs are the heart of the OTC as they work directly with people with disabilities of all ages to help them reach their fullest potential. Each DSP is an integral part of the OTC’s Community Access Centers and Residential Services.
Over the past few decades, the function of a DSP has evolved from simply a caregiver to a more complex role that sees them assisting others in integrating into their communities. By creating opportunities and programs that will develop an individual’s unique skills. In addition, DSPs are actively making activities that are engaging and interesting. While a caregiver may perform specific tasks to assist the person they are aiding, a DSP will give an individual the tools or skills needed to allow them to operate independently.
At the OTC, Direct Service Providers often create programs with a specific curriculum to advance the skills of those in attendance. Through interactive activities such as arts and crafts and science projects, participants can hone essential skills such as concentration, fine motor skills, and problem-solving. These skills will significantly assist careers and strengthen the independence of those assisted by a DSP.
DSPs work out of pure passion and love for those that do not often get the opportunity to accomplish the goals that they want to achieve. Some of the most common attributes in DSPs are compassion and the possession of excellent communication skills, which help them create breakthroughs with others. DSPs take pride in their work, building meaningful, lasting relationships with the people they interact with daily.
In honor of DSP Week (September 11- 17), we are celebrating Mount Laurel’s David Weiskopf, who received the title of NJACP Star. For the past year, Dave has worked hard to develop further the degree to which the OTC can aid those with disabilities. The countless emails and phone calls we receive praising Dave’s work shows the pure passion and care Dave has for what he does. A common point brought up by parents and guardians is how much their loved ones are actively engaged and excited to come to his program.
These positive messages are a testament to how well crafted Dave’s program is. Dave’s program aims to develop concentration, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills through art creation. Dave has created a space where those with disabilities can entertainingly advance essential life skills, ensuring that those in his program walk away learning something and enjoying their time doing so. Focuses on personality and individuality through his program, Dave allows participants to showcase their self-expression and confidence which creates work that participants put great care into.
Dave comes in every day in a good mood to help others, whether that be those in his program or his other coworkers at the OTC. This positive attitude helps make everyone’s day better, creating positive lasting memories. Dave is an advocate, sticking up for others and showing compassion. He is a team player who is friends with everyone and ensures that tasks are completed.
A model example of a direct service professional, Dave makes it his goal to bring out the best in everyone by going above and beyond with his fun and innovative programs. Dave’s positive attitude is significantly appreciated by his friends and those served at the OTC.
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