Direct Support Professionals | Dynamic, Selfless, & Passionate

dsp yoga photo


By Hilary Gaytan – Former DSP, QIDP   |   Business Development Rep. IntellectAbility

I think you could argue that DSPs are some of the most talented people in the world. (And I say that not just because I used to be one!) What other career requires you to wear as many hats? At any given moment on a shift you may be asked to be a teacher, coach, cook, personal assistant, advocate, stylist, chauffeur, nurse, therapist, tech support specialist, job coach, physical trainer, friend.

As a DSP, you quickly learn that your job is not just to “show up and follow levels of supervision”. Like any job worth its salt, it has its good days, the not-so-good days, the big leaps and the baby steps.

It’s assisting someone to bake their Grandma’s famous chocolate cake or teaching someone how to use Facetime so they can call their Dad. It’s the late nights spent discussing how to overcome a disagreement with their boyfriend, and the early mornings you spend assisting with medications.

Not to mention the hours of thorough training in the classroom, on the job and continuing education training.

Sacrificing time with your own friends and family by staying late or working holidays, to help someone else’s friend/family member achieve their goals is commonplace in the life of a DSP. The job is nothing short of demanding and at times, is out-right difficult.

Yet… it is the most rewarding job you will probably ever have.

Case in point, I recall watching onward as someone paid for their drink at the movies, entirely on their own after weeks of practice. The look of pure satisfaction as she confidently counted back her change to me. As the previews began, I witnessed the silent tears as she whispered, “I’m just so proud of myself”. What I wouldn’t give to bottle that moment up and take a sip from it every day!

It is moments like that, along with the emotions and the achievements that DSPs the world over work diligently to create every single day.

This week is National DSP Recognition Week, and we at IntellectAbility want you all to know that this week, and every week, we are thankful for and admire the dynamic, selfless, passionate DSPs all over the country who have somehow found a way to rock those innumerable hats while creating a quality of life for those you serve!

S.C.A.R.F. Provides Clinical Access to the IDD Community

Arab female doctor working in the clinic

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a condition in which the heart unexpectedly stops beating, blocking the blood flow to vital organs of the body. The devastation of sudden cardiac arrest is the fact that the survival rate is only 2%; however, an automated external defibrillator can save lives in this emergent situation. Although sudden cardiac arrest can be an unexpected situation, there are risk factors, signs, symptoms that everyone should be educate about to prevent sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is actually the leading cause of death across the world as 17.5 million people across the globe die from sudden cardiac arrest every year. Prevention begins with community education.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest in the IDD Community

Cardiovascular signs and symptoms are often overlooked in the IDD community because of their behavior, but it is it critical for caregivers and healthcare providers to pay close attention to all physical, behavioral, and emotional changes of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A lack of quality sleep, increase fatigue, and sudden changes in emotions can in fact be symptoms for cardiovascular complications in the IDD community. In order to prevent arrythmias (irregular heart rhythms) that lead to sudden cardiac arrest, individuals with IDD must remain vigilant in living a healthy lifestyle and receiving access to quality care.

What is S.C.A.R.F.

S.C.A.R.F. is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about the signs and prevention of sudden cardiac death/arrest. Many instances of sudden cardiac arrest occur without immediate warning, with minimal or easily overlooked symptoms. However, most people do not realize that there are plenty of signs for cardiac complications.

In addition to the informational resources and training we provide, we are unique as an organization in that we actually also treat patients ourselves. We are on the front lines with the challenges of heart disease, and we understand the challenges that patients need to overcome on a regular basis. We hope that you join us in our mission to reduce the epidemic of heart disease.




S.C.A.R.F. AED Donation Program

At S.C.A.R.F. we know that the access to an AED is critical for survival during sudden cardiac arrest. The goal of our AED donation program is that all public places have an AED in case of emergency. Each time we donate an AED, we will educate the employees and volunteers at the organization. You can contact us on behalf of your organization or nominate one that you think may benefit from this gift. This AED donation program is limited to non-profit organizations. Please visit to apply for an AED donation.

S.C.A.R.F. Provides Clinical Access to the IDD Community

S.C.A.R.F. believes that every individual should have access to quality care; therefore, we are constantly connecting with organizations and patient across the country to provide access to quality care. The S.C.A.R.F. healthcare providers are trained to provide quality care to individuals from various communities, including the IDD community. Please contact S.C.A.R.F. to join us in our mission to spread awareness about sudden cardiac arrest while providing quality care to our community.


Contact S.C.A.R.F.

Phone Number: 815-595-3050
Facebook: @scarfnow
Linkedin: @scarfnow
Instagram: @scarfnow