When you’re trying to advocate for change – for a person you love, for a community you care about – you can find yourself talking only about what isn’t working. So I want to take a moment, with Thanksgiving upon us, to make a special point of thanking the Direct Support Professionals who work with my son, and those others throughout the city making it their business to keep those we love safe, happy and making progress in their lives.
As I write this I’m thinking of one individual who has been a part of my son’s life since he first came back home to D.C. last year. In fact she’s the only person besides us who was in the room for his first ISP meeting during that first crazy week when he was starting to receive services. His daytime community navigator has also been a rock, even when the role has been thankless. There are many others, though. Even when things haven’t been going smoothly at the management level, I’ve been impressed by the integrity, kindness and patience of almost every DSP who’s come through our son’s life. They don’t have an easy job, and they often face the same headaches we do, along with quite a few more of their own. One standard I’ve always tried to stick to is not to add to their headaches, but to treat the DSPs with respect and show my appreciation, since I know they’re on the front lines.
It may be even tougher for some of them to feel thankful this year, since a new formula D.C.’s been required to institute is going to mean lower rates of pay for some of the people providing support under the I/DD waiver. I’m not an expert on all the job categories so I’m not sure who is directly affected, but it reminds me to be even more appreciative.
So this Thanksgiving, have a wonderful holiday with your family – and thank a DSP!