Direct Support Professionals provide critical support for individuals with autism. Every day, they work one-to-one with individuals with autism, teaching skill acquisition and supporting them in reaching their life goals. In addition to staff, many become trusted friends, natural supports, and honorary members of families.
Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are the largest percentage of ASNC’s employees, working as employment supports professionals, autism support professionals, camp counselors, and more. We value their contributions to the people they serve as well as to the direction of our organization.
Unfortunately, we are facing a growing shortage of DSPs so dire that some are calling it a public health crisis. The national turnover rate for Direct Support Professionals is 45 percent, according to a recent report by the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR).
Why is there a DSP shortage?
Many people simply don’t know about Direct Support Professionals. They do not know exactly what they do, how rewarding the jobs can be, or how flexible their hours can be. They may not know how well the positions tie into so many other careers.
They may know about one-on-one workers in school, but not realize that DSPs support individuals with autism in all parts of their lives, in the home and the community.
How do we make people aware that jobs exist?
So to serve the families who are counting on us, it becomes ASNC’s job to increase awareness about DSPs. We have Staffing Specialists based in offices across the state who attend job fairs and form relationships with those who can help, such as college professors. They focus entirely on recruiting and matching candidates with individuals and families.
We post ongoing ads on various career websites, on our website, and with local media. Our staff members make presentations to classes and community groups. We encourage and reward employee referrals.
How can you help?
Like our staff, you know what individuals with autism and their families need. They need people who are patient, caring, compassionate, enthusiastic, and energetic to provide the care that our loved ones deserve.
So we need you, parents and community members, to be our eyes in the community and help us spread the word. Are you a member of a group like Kiwanis that we can address about working for ASNC? Does your faith community have an event coming up where they would let us set up a table? Please contact us.
Do you have a niece or nephew who has always been compassionate and supportive with your child with autism? When they head off to college and are looking for a part-time job, tell them about working with individuals with autism.
Do you have a kind and patient friend who is looking to supplement his income? Refer him to us.
Don’t rule anyone out. We often hire teachers, nurses, and people in allied health services, but we have had great success with people from all fields.
We need people who are interested in giving back. We need dedicated people who are passionate about improving the lives of individuals with autism and supporting their families.
You can help.
Aynsley Neher, Recruitment Specialist
252-756-1316, ext. 1700