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Jane Walters: Helping To Create Community Connections

Submitted By: Adriana Battle | Advocates, Inc.

Jane Walters works as a Direct Support Professional for Advocates, Inc., which is a person-centered not-for-profit organization in New York State that empowers people with developmental disabilities to direct their own lives and create a vision for their future. Jane has used the Personal Outcome Measures® to understand the dreams and outcomes of a person she supports by learning about goals and coming up with individualized and creative ways to manifest these measures into tangible methods for success.

A person Jane supports does not use verbal means of communication, and has additional supports for connecting about and exploring desired outcomes. Through discovery with the Personal Outcome Measures®, the indicator people participate in the life of the community was determined to be especially important, as the person has a goal to participate in a community activity that allows her to connect with others who share her interests. More specifically, it was identified that the person receiving supports could expand social circles by finding different clubs to join and groups to attend.

Jane has gone above and beyond with supporting the person to find new activities that will help her make connections with her peers. Not only does Jane support her to do research to find local community events, but also ensures that the activities she participates in are truly ones that interest her. Through these activities, Jane has assisted her in building lasting friendships, where her social circle meets up to bowl, have lunch, attend local fairs, festivals, and other events.

As a result of Jane’s efforts, the person receiving supports has become empowered to communicate her wants and needs, express her likes and dislikes, and to expand her life experiences. She has developed significant relationships – not merely acquaintances – but a natural support networks she can truly rely upon. She has also had experiences she may not have had without such a diligent Direct Support Professional such as Jane, including going to the New York State Fair this year, dancing, seeing movies, and singing karaoke every Friday with her friends.

Jane is not only a great Direct Support Professional who emits passion and caring with everyone she supports, but she also helps mentor other Direct Support Professionals who may be new to the field. I have been on the receiving end of this mentorship myself, when I first started as a Direct Support Professional and needed guidance. I will never forget her patience with me, her understanding, and her ability to answer my endless stream of questions without an inkling of frustration.

2018 Direct Support Professional Recognition Week

This article is part of a campaign during the 2018 Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, to acknowledge Direct Support Professionals who are helping people achieve their individually-defined outcomes, through the use of Personal Outcome Measures®. This campaign was developed through a partnership between CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership and The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP).