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What do DSPs do?

Just what do Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) do? HERE’S ONE IMPORTANT ANSWER.


No one knows that better than everyone at Choices In Community Living, especially Carolyn, who lives in one of Choices’ homes in Clark County. She is alive today thanks to the quick thinking and actions of her DSP Shelly Kelly. Part of Shelly’s responsibilities is to make sure that people have their medications. On this particular day, Shelly gave Carolyn her medications while she was sitting at the kitchen table. Unlike all the other days, on this day Carolyn had some trouble with one of the larger pills and it got lodged in her throat.

Shelly quickly noticed that Carolyn was in distress, couldn’t talk and wasn’t breathing right. Without a second thought, she did what she was trained to do – take immediate action by administering the Heimlich Maneuver. It didn’t work the first time or the second time but the pill did dislodge, restoring Carolyn’s breathing. Other than the scare, Carolyn was fine immediately after the incident, with no injuries.

Like all DSPs, Shelly was required to take training to prepare her for just such an incident and that training and Shelly’s quick response saved Carolyn’s life!

NOTE: DSPs like Shelly save lives and bring dignity and respect to the lives of people with developmental disabilities every hour of every day of every week of every year. The next biennium budget for the State of Ohio is currently being considered. Among the provisions being considered in that budget is a proposal to increase the wages for Direct Support Professionals in keeping with a “living wage.” Did you know that the current hourly wage for DSPs across Ohio is from $9.00 – $11.00 and that many DSPs work more than one job or rely on other forms of assistance to support themselves and their families?

Choices In Community Living joins almost 300 other agencies across Ohio in urging families, friends, advocates and the public to make contact now with elected officials, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and the office of the Governor to urge the passage of the provision in the State budget that will recognize the value of the work and service of Direct Support Professionals. Please send an email, letter or make a phone call to let them know you support better wages for DSPs.