Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) provide person-centered care to children and adults with developmental disabilities. DPSs are responsible for assisting individuals with special needs with daily tasks and in becoming more integrated in their communities. In addition, DSPs work with individuals to implement care plans, to progress educational or career goals, and to advance skill development and socialization.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) projects that there will be a need for around 1.2 million full time Direct Support Professionals by the year 2020.[1] In 2011, New York State, through its Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), began a process of reflection and study in order to develop a set of core competencies specifically for Direct Support Professionals. As the nature of direct support work has evolved from a more “custodial” approach to a “person-centered” and “personal choice” approach that supports individuals to make their own decisions and live and work within the community, the training required of Direct Support Professionals must evolve as well.

[1] Source: Macbeth, J.M., Commitment, Capacity and Culture: Solutions for the Direct Support Workforce Crisis, NADSP, August 2011
Direct Support Professional Training Program

The Direct Support Professional Training Program provides participants with the skills needed to excel as a Direct Support Professional in the developmental disability field. This program was developed in partnership with one of the City’s largest providers of health and human services, HeartShare Human Services of New York, and with Borough of Manhattan Community College. The industry-informed curriculum educates students on topics such as human growth and anatomy, developmental disabilities, treatment services and professional writing. The course also helps students obtain certifications in CPR, Strategies for Crisis Intervention and Prevention, Approved Medication Administration, Nutrition and Choking Prevention as well as their New York State Driver’s License. Successful graduates are guaranteed an interview with our employer partners, HeartShare Human Services of New York and AHRC New York City. Read more about the DSP initiative in NYACH News.

For more information please contact Anna Leise at