People living with disabilities can face a variety of barriers to participating in the social and community activities they enjoy. Being able to take part in these activities is important not only because everyone deserves the right to a little enjoyment now and then, but being out and active can be an important part of staying mentally and physically healthy.
This is why Alex is so important. Alex is an Assistant Program Manager and Direct Support Professional (DSP) who works with four people in a group home that live with physical disabilities.
Finding creative solutions
It’s not as simple as just coming up with something for everyone to do. Each person has their own interests and passions, as well as their own challenges with engaging in those passions. Circumstances such as weather, prep time, transportation, and accessibility all make getting out of the house difficult, contributing to the reluctance to participate. Creating positive experiences takes patience, creativity, encouragement and tenacity.
What’s most important about DSPs like Alex is that they don’t just do things for people. They help increase independence of individuals by doing things with them, helping bridge barriers that might once have been insurmountable but become manageable with the right support.
Supporting happy and healthy lives
Not having someone like Alex to help create these experiences can lead to secondary problems. Before Alex started at his group home, one of the individuals struggled with depression. Now, Alex works with her to find opportunities to get out of her house to do things she enjoys, which happens to be volunteering with children and animals. Not only is this a great experience for her that gives back to the community, but it keeps her mind engaged and positive to help fight her depression.
These might seem like small things to many, but they make a dramatic difference in people’s lives and take a special kind of person to accomplish. Alex’s skill and dedication allowed those he works with to engage in more activities in the community in three months than they had done in the past three years.
Alex is making a difference. The more than 80,000 DSPs in Minnesota make a difference every day. Say thank you to the DSPs you know this week.
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