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Direct Support Professionals Celebration

Direct Support Professionals Celebration

Thank You, Direct Support Professionals!

The Autism Society of North Carolina employs hundreds of direct support professionals. Every day, they work one-on-one with individuals with autism,  supporting them in reaching their goals. They become important resources, trusted friends, and honorary members of families. Our direct support professionals are known for going above and beyond!

Every year, we award direct support professionals for their dedication and integrity. Meet this year’s winners:
2021 Roman Award Winner – Laurie Dougherty
2021 McCrimmon Award Winners – Carmen Henwood and Sarah Waller

We hope you’ll join us in thanking the direct support professionals that work with your family and in your community. If you would like to send a DSP an e-Thank You card please click here.

Want to join our amazing team of DSPs? Submit your resume here

Below, you’ll meet some of our extraordinary DSPs, with families and supervisors explaining what makes them so special.


Western North Carolina

Nola Russell

“Nola goes above and beyond for her participants. Participants ask for her by name.”

Jeremy Glover

“Jeremy helps Merlin live as independently as possible.  He honors each person’s individuality.”

Zach Ross

“Zach goes above and beyond to make sure Danny has an amazing day with lots of time in the woods.”

Zebulun Brown

“Zebulun takes all the individual needs into consideration and is really in tune with his participants.  He is always looking for ways to increase independence and have fun and is well known for his peanut butter cookies!”

Zoie Sain

“Zoie has a calm demeanor and always takes the initiative to be creative.”

Debbi Mathis

“Debbi is totally committed to helping Sara. She uses a gentle hand while pushing for progress.”

Claire McCulloch

“Claire celebrates wins with her participants.”

Will Mcleod

“Will is very committed to the people he helps. He genuinely works because he loves the work. He has a knack for building strengths and is an expert at having a good time.”


Octavian Hudson

“Octavian is always willing to lend a hand and step in without being asked. He truly cares about the participants he supports and is always attentive to their needs and desires.”

Regina Crump

“Regina’s compassion, patience, and work ethic make her stand out amongst her peers. Her insight to her participant’s needs and thoughtfulness and creativity in building supports are unparalleled. She has a positive attitude and an infectious positive energy.”

Matthew Balsley

“Matthew is the true definition of a team player. He understands the importance of building relationships with individuals and effectively communicates with them, even in escalated situations.”

Cassandra Clark

“The family Cassandra works with absolutely adores her, for good reason. She checks all the boxes for professionalism, but more importantly, her kindness and silliness win over her participant each and every shift.”

Kristin Collins

“Kristin’s positivity and can-do attitude is contagious. She’s always willing to go the extra mile, pick up extra responsibilities, and adjust her approaches to accommodate the people she works with. Kristin demonstrates a person-first mindset and incorporates what is important to each individual in all that she does.”


Lymona Hill

“Lymona bonded quickly with Casey. She has helped keep a sense of normalcy in his life during COVID and a family illness. They’re wonderful together and Casey plays little jokes on her.”

Sarah Alford

“Adam loves Sarah and they are great friends! Sarah challenges Adam to get out there, apply to jobs, and try new things.”

An Quigley

“An is a great advocate for the family she serves. She will pick up shifts when she notices the family needs extra help and respite.”

Paul Shabo

“Paul is Ben’s dad and Relative as Provider. Ben’s mood and challenging behaviors have improved significantly since starting to work with his dad. Ben is currently thriving and enjoying things he had never experienced before (like a pizza and ice cream birthday party with his classmates!).”


Andrea Miller-Weir

“Andrea provides many opportunities for her client to gain new experiences and to reach his potential, from assisting him to achieve his daily goals, to serving as his Special Olympics coach and cheerleader, to being his travel partner.”

Jamie Larsen

“Jamie has proved her commitment to provide the best support for the families we serve. She goes above and beyond to make sure her client receives the support he really needs. She is just awesome!”

John Ward

“John provides the support his client needs to have a meaningful life. With John, his client has learned how to fish, garden, work on different science projects, and much more. He provides support to his client’s parents. He is a great advocate.”


Bree Wirthlin

“Bree is a guiding light in our family. She’s like a sister to Ben. Ben respects her tremendously. She has helped to build him into the fine young man he is today. I am very proud of both of them. Professional, dependable, reliable. Thank you, Bree, for the wonderful work you do, we love you.”

Amelia Evans

“Amelia is my support staff. She does a good job helping me work with my goals. She assists me at my volunteer hours at My Sister’s Closet. She gives me support when I am working at Dollar General. She takes me to Transitions, and she helps me with staying on task even if I don’t want to. I like her very much!”

David Roscoe and Andrea Drake

“Our workers are the best! We are so grateful for their time. On one shift, David took our son to a birthday party that our kiddo was very nervous about. David was amazing with him, helping him prep ahead of time using imaginary play and playing with him the entire time at the party. Drea always has fun ideas of things to do like the splash pad, the library, STEM activities, storywalks, etc. We are so thankful for her and the way that she introduces our son to new things!”

Samantha Hywell, Catherine Francis, Haley Poythress, Dylan Henkel, Maryanna Fagan, and Karrington Mccord

“I would like to give special thanks to our Autism Society ALL-STAR Staff. You bless our family in multiple ways through the gifts of your time, energy, kindness, compassion, and professionalism. You are always there for our family and I thank you for giving me peace of mind when I am away from my girls. You brighten our days when life gets stressful.  Not a day goes by where I don’t feel gratitude for your patience with our family. Our lives are better because we have you in our lives.”