A Tribute: July 15 is National Developmental Disability Professionals Day

July 15, 2020

Carolee Marano

On behalf of Community Access Unlimited

What is a Developmental Disability Professional?

Developmental disability professionals make sure that people have access to the supports and resources they need to live full, self-directed lives. They go by different names based on their specialized areas of service – Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), Support Coordinators, Behaviorists, Nurses, and other Program Support Staff.

Collectively, they provide residential services, create employment opportunities, serve as behavior analysts, coordinate medical and other services, and much more. A DSP may provide supports to a person with a disability at home, work, school, church, and other community places. Developmental disability professionals are advocates for the individuals they serve, communicating their needs, wants and goals. They also encourage attitudes and behaviors that enhance community inclusion.

Developmental Disability Professionals – Truly “Essential” Workers

Here in 2020, developmental disability professionals have stepped up to meet the demanding challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide vital, continuous services. CAU’s professionals are currently serving 350 people with developmental disabilities and youth-at-risk living in 60 quarantined residential programs throughout Union County, NJ, with another 700 individuals and families served in the community. With the help of our developmental disability professionals, CAU is offering our day habilitation, employment and other services on virtual platforms making sure that vital direct services continue despite temporary program shut-downs associated with the pandemic.

The term “essential workers” has taken on a new meaning among those who understand the truly essential work of the many professionals supporting people with developmental disabilities. At CAU, we have witnessed our developmental disability professionals rise to the unprecedented demands of the pandemic. They are wearing masks, using protective equipment and continually sanitizing while also providing comfort, companionship and opportunities to grow. They are tirelessly creating and  implementing new daily activities to keep up the mental and physical well-being of our members living in quarantine whose lives, like most everyone’s, have been so dramatically disrupted.

So today, we at CAU recognize, with deep appreciation,
each one of our hundreds of developmental disability professionals
and the contributions of each and every one of them. 

We appreciate your dedication, skill, adaptability, flexibility and sacrifices!

We thank our CAU developmental disability professionals,
and developmental disability professionals throughout the country,
for your part in advancing the rights of people with developmental disabilities.

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