The week of Sept. 8 has been designated by the U.S. Senate as “National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week.” Direct support professionals (DSPs) are essential in ensuring people with developmental disabilities live a fully productive life of their choosing.

The DSP workforce is made up of over 3.6 million workers in the United States; with 100,000 of those working right here in New York State. There is a DSP workforce shortage and has now been deemed a national public health crisis. This is predominantly due to low wages. Despite the low wages, DSPs come to work every day to make a difference in the life of someone with a developmental disability.

Direct support professionals work long hours providing services such as assisting with recreational activities, maintaining schedules and appointments, and assisting with personal care all of which help people with developmental disabilities become an integral part of the community in which they live. This is hard work!

This week has been created so that we can recognize these dedicated workers who, through building close and trusted relationships with the people they support, help them realize their goals and dreams.

DSPs are the foundation of the Arc of Seneca Cayuga and we think everyone else should know it too. Please join us in celebrating direct support professionals during the federal and state-designated DSP Recognition Week, Sept. 8-15.

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Please take the time to thank a DSP for their dedication and service to the people with developmental disabilities who live in our communities. Also, please learn more about what it means to be a DSP and how you can impact this national public health crisis in a positive way.

“Quality is defined at the point of interaction between the staff member and the individual with a disability.” — John F. Kennedy Jr. (1996)

Tammy Slayton


Tammy Slayton, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is senior vice president of administration with Arc of Seneca Cayuga

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