The Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD) continues to work diligently, in conjunction with provider partners and Direct Support Professionals (DSP’s) to make sure that the over 450 people with disabilities in the county are healthy and safe throughout this pandemic. I have written about our provider partners and Direct Support Professionals before, but in the midst of this crisis, I want to turn the spotlight to them for a moment.
People with disabilities are living in their local communities, and many of them have assistance in the form of a provider/DSP who either drops in to provide targeted care for them, or who provides care for them around the clock. Direct Support Professionals, either those working for an agency or as an independent provider, do not have the option to stay home or work remotely during this crisis. They are essential, front-line healthcare professionals working in our communities to keep some of our most vulnerable neighbors, family members and friends safe.
The people we serve with disabilities in our community are feeling the same emotions that everyone else is- confusion, fear and anxiety about the future. Every day, Direct Support Professionals are going into homes to provide support and care to: cook, bathe, grocery shop, give medications, and in many cases, provide some much-needed relief from boredom. Direct Support Professionals are working long shifts away from their own families, making sure that the people that we serve have what they need. They are going into homes and doing what they have always done— helping people live their best lives.
As the Governor began limiting contact and closed adult day programs in Ohio, this put an unprecedented strain on our providers working in residential settings. Routines are disrupted for individuals with disabilities, just like everyone else, as they have to remain at home during the day and may require extra support. The County Board has been creatively working with all Shelby County providers to ensure that they are able to meet the needs of people around the clock. Without people working in the homes, creativity falls short.
I would like to say a sincere thank you to every Direct Support Professional in the field. You are selfless, passionate and dedicated. My words truly fall short in expressing our appreciation. We can’t thank you enough. The Shelby County Board of DD remains committed to assisting you.
If you are an individual with a disability and need assistance, please call your Service and Support Administrator or the main line at 937-497-8155.
If you are a provider and need support, please call Amy Berger at 937-638-6870. Direct Support Professionals working in Shelby County- Don’t forget that the SCBDD can assist with child-care through Wilma Valentine Childcare.
Please follow the Shelby County Board of DD on Facebook for regular updates.
The writer is the superintendent of the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities.