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Recognizing Direct Support Professionals (DSPs)

  • DSPs,
  • Direct Support Professionals

Join us in celebrating Direct Support Professionals Week (September 12-18, 2021) by recognizing the hard work and dedication of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). DSPs offer a range of supportive services to people with disabilities, helping them live and work and enjoy life as independently as possible in their community. Their passion and work with individuals with disabilities in residential, work, and community settings make a difference in the daily lives of the people they care for and support.


With over 3.6 million Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) in the United States, they are the backbone of the provider industry. Through their dedication, creativity, advocacy, and boundless energy, DSPs ensure people with disabilities have the necessary supports to live, work, and enjoy life more independently in the community.


The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals


The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) is a national nonprofit dedicated to elevating the status of DSPs. They seek to do this by improving practice standards, promoting system reform, and advancing the knowledge, skills, and values of DSPs. NADSP believes:

  • All direct support professionals benefit from access to well-constructed educational experiences and lifelong learning;

  • Certifying highly qualified workers incentivizes continuing education, increased compensation, and access to career pathways for direct support professionals thereby improving retention;

  • Values and ethical decision making can be learned and infused into daily practice; and

  • Strengthening relationships and partnerships between direct support professionals, self-advocates, and other consumer groups and families improves the quality of support.


NADSP envisions a world with a highly qualified and professional direct support workforce that supports, empowers, and partners with people with disabilities to lead a life of their choosing. Each person that is being supported has unique gifts, preferences, and needs that will direct their individual path, and the DSP should follow that person’s lead to help them achieve a life of opportunity, well-being, freedom, and contribution.


We’d like to say thank you to all of the hardworking, compassionate DSP professionals and the impact they have on individuals with disabilities.