Direct Support Professionals or more commonly called DSPs provide essential care and services to people with disabilities of all ages.  This includes support related to employment, community engagement, transportation, and daily living.

DSPs may work for an agency or themself as an Independent Provider. 

The Role of a DSP

Historically, DSPs primarily served as caregivers for the people they supported. In the past few decades, however, the needs of those served began to change, and the roles of DSPs began to change as well. Today, the role of a DSP goes beyond caregiving and focuses more broadly on supporting people with disabilities to participate fully in their communities, live in integrated settings and seek competitive integrated employment (CIE). Some of the roles of a DSP include:

  • Supporting engagement with the community by providing:
    • Support in less congregate and more individualized settings
    • Job coaching
    • Employment support
    • Transportation
  • Using creative thinking for accommodations to help people with disabilities be more independent
  • Providing caregiving and support with activities of daily living, including:
    • Medication administration
    • Mobility assistance
    • Wound care
    • Accessing food
  • Working with the people they support to Advocate for rights and services, such as:
    • Accessing resources and opportunities in the community
    • Working with the employer to customize job duties
  • Providing emotional support


What are the benefits to being a Direct Support Professional (DSP)?

  • Forming relationships that hold significance and that matter.
    • Feeling a connection to the individual you support.
    • Knowing that your time is genuinely appreciated.
    • Someone looking forward to the next time they work with you.
    • Having a clearly visible purpose.
  • DSPs have the opportunity to make a very real and positive impact in someone’s life.
    • The range of impact is truly infinite and powerful.
    • Teaching someone a life skill to be more independent.
    • Helping a person build confidence and self-esteem. 
    • Exploring a new hobby or interest.
    • Assisting someone to find a group/club/membership where they belong

Employee Assistance Program

Independent Providers and DSPs working for an agency provider have 24/7 access to an EAP. To register, contact