Honoring Direct Support Professionals

DSP Week Sep 10-16

Carol Keefer

Carol Keefer

Carol Keefer, a one-on-one aide at Colonial Park Alternatives, is a model of the UCP core principle “Person-Focused.”

The person she has focused on with laser-like intensity for going on nearly two years is UCP consumer John B. In order to better meet John's needs, particularly as it relates to some difficult behaviors, Carol took the initiative to sign up for online training through the College of Direct Support. So far, she has taken classes on Communication, Functional Assessments, Participant Direct Supports, and Positive Behavior Supports.


From the outset, Carol viewed John’s behaviors not as challenges, but rather as opportunities to enhance his life.

She realizes that her success in the classroom will ultimately translate into greater success with John, as an individual, as a participant in the program, and independently in the community. Though she has at times found the course content difficult, she continues to review the material and retake the exam, until she is confident that she “gets it.” Carol then shares the wealth of information she’s learned with other program staff even as she applies it to her own work with John. 

Thanks to her unwavering dedication, caring heart, and personal initiative, John has shown great progress in the time he’s been with Carol. Today he is able to shred paper independently, uses an iPad for communication, and is more actively involved in the community. Carol has also developed a close relationship with John’s family and regularly updates his mother on his progress. 

As we celebrate DSP Week, we note that the Person-Focused principle is relevant to the work being done by direct support professionals everywhere. However, we find the tagline that accompanies the principle to be a particularly fitting expression of Carol’s impact on John’s life: Expanding choices. Encouraging independence.

Congratulations Carol!  Keep up the GREAT work!


Key takeaway for fellow DSPs: Move beyond compliance to competency

College of Direct Support content delivers competency-based training designed to prepare direct support staff to go above and beyond compliance. The training is fully accredited by the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP).

To learn more, visit: http://directcourseonline.com/direct-support/

To be registered to take free CDS courses, contact your Program Supervisor.


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