While doing the Direct Support Professional (DSP) Credential training, one of my tasks was to write a movie title, real or imagined, reflecting our roles as a Direct Support Professional. I chose the word metamorphosis.
I knew I had started to change my views about work as a Direct Support Professional, but more was still to come.
My simple example of metamorphosis is a caterpillar to a butterfly.
Think of the Direct Support Professional as a caterpillar when first hired. Most have good intentions to help the people we support who have disabilities. Some of us are unsure how to help and are in need of guidance to flourish and develop.
Our intentions are not to parent people we support, but often that’s what we do. Stereotypes and vulnerabilities lead us to believe people with intellectual and developmental disabilities need protection and decisions to be made for them.
Metamorphosis as a Direct Support Professional
The metamorphosis began from the caterpillar to the cocoon when I took the step to begin this credentialing program. I knew my intentions were good but there was room to grow and improve. Through this training I learned what it is to be person centered. It’s about what the person wants, who they are, what they do because of who they are as a person.
The credentialing program elaborated on many topics that initial training did not cover. Being the cocoon means I can absorb all this knowledge that the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) has offered and apply it through my work as a Direct Support Professional. The knowledge helps me grow and flourish as a confident Direct Support Professional and better support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The hope is that our change in thinking and actions will result in the people we support being happier, more confident, informed, and independent.
Completing the credentialing program I will successfully become the butterfly.
As the butterfly, I have transformed into the Direct Suport Professional I hoped to become through this training. I have taken the knowledge and successfully applied it to my everyday work ethic. Just as the caterpillar was proud of its transformation into a beautiful butterfly, I am proud of my metamorphosis. When you invest in who I am as a Direct Support Professional and allow me to evolve into the butterfly, you therefore invest in the people we support. We start doing things that are important TO them, not just important FOR them. They become OF the community, not just IN the community. People we support unfortunately don’t have a large circle of support outside paid staff. Therefore, investing in us can make all the difference in their lives. The hope is that as a result of this credentialing program a trickle effect ensues where coworkers, family members and management change how they interact with people who have disabilites and start their own metamorphosis.
Megan Giovanetti is a Direct Support Professional at The Arc of Monroe’s residence at Norran Drive.