Submitted By: Amber K. Perry, TN DIDD
As an employee of Tennessee’s Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (TN DIDD) and a certified Personal Outcome Measures® interviewer I get to spend time with so many people that receive services and the people that support them. During an interview last year I was given the opportunity to witness a relationship between two women that was built on trust and respect.
Rita has been a Direct Support Professional for 17 years. She has spent the last 9 years working for RHA Health Services, LLC and supporting the same woman. In that time, she has assisted her with advocating for herself and has seen her through some very hard times.
She was recently divorced when Rita met her, and was hesitant to stand up for herself or assert authority over her life. Rita saw her through a very difficult relationship and never intervened but simply assisted her with finding her voice to speak up for herself and demand respect for her wishes in the relationship.
More recently, Rita saw her through the death of her fiancé a year ago. Rita encouraged her to follow her dream of getting married again and even planned to provide support to the couple until they were able to live independently. When it became certain that would not happen as her fiancé became ill, Rita assisted her with finding ways to cope with grieving and accepting that her fiancé was gone.
Rita always encourages her to speak up for herself and makes her feel respected. She empowers her to follow her desires regarding employment, and has stood beside her to assure that no one stands in the way of her achieving the things she wants. She has always stated she feels respected in her home and that Rita in particular makes her feel that her disability does not define who she is as a person. They have developed a relationship that has opened more and more opportunities. Whether it is the daily things of life like cooking and shopping together or vacationing together so that she can have some time with girlfriends, Rita’s support is enriching her life.
2016 Direct Support Professional Recognition Week
This article is part of a campaign during the 2016 DSP 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).