By Amber Lobdell

I truly believe you are irreplaceable, DSP. In a time when we are “more connected” online than ever, remember that no robot or software can do what you do.  When society values efficiency, technology, and shortcuts, the people you serve are so enriched by the uniqueness, patience, and humanness of you.  And while there are lots of other DSPs in the world, only YOU give care like YOU.

You are irreplaceable in the way you know individual’s hearts.  You are irreplaceable in the way you have memorized protocols and schedules and technicalities, but have also memorized all of Ghostbusters 2 because that’s what you watch every Friday with the person you support.  You are irreplaceable in the way you have mastered someone’s nonverbal communication or have remained calm and been supportive when an individual feels out of control.

And with every high five you give, every irreplaceable quiet moment with those you serve  or every loud moment you have cheering them on at Special Olympics or having an impromptu dance party in the living room—you both are made better by the sheer humanity of connecting in these moments, face to face.

These are the moments so many yearn for.  Because as society moves away from face to face, trying to fill the emptiness with WiFi passwords and increased followers, you know that real connection comes in laughing so hard your eyes water, or the calm that falls over a person’s face as you help her wash her hair.  And in the way you helped someone write a check but he taught you what pure joy looked like.

I mean, the internet is an amazing resource and DOES connect a lot of people.  But what we experience in this human service field is hard to put into words—because whether your day at work was exciting, frustrating, emotional, purely joyful, or hilarious…a lot of times it was indescribable.  And irreplaceable.  Just like you, DSP.

September 12-18 is Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week. DSPs are called many names—caregiver, staff, team members, provider, etc. No matter how you know them, the people who provide incredible care to people with disabilities are irreplaceable. Join us in recognizing and celebrating our more than 450 DSPs who carry out our mission of enhancing and enriching lives every day.