Woof, woof.....sit Rover. Roll over Rover. Here's a biscuit, Rover.....Good dog. Yup, Rover is being trained. He gets the treat for the behavior he presents to his proud owner. This is largely accepted and generally is the way we train animals.
Training for Direct Support Professionals is similar. Once a year DSPs will need to take regulatory "trainings" and only rarely they will get to go to a really educational and inspirational session at some afternoon conference or something like that. But mostly they will take 8 or 9 "mandated" annual courses like CPR, Blood Exposure/Control, Corporate Compliance, First Aid etc...These are important. Do not get me wrong. HOWEVER, these are usually conducted in a way not unlike the dog scenario above. Usually (not always but very often) the trainings are done, sign-in sheets are documented, and another year goes by until the DSP goes to next dry and frankly boring mandated training. DSPs should have the opportunities to engage in rich , relevant and meaningful opportunites for educational development.
I am blogging live from such an event. I am in MALTA, NY at the NYSACRA (New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies) NYSACRA Capitol District DSP Conference. Over 100 Direct Support Professionals from around the New York State Capitol District (from Glens Falls to Hudson...from the Massachusetts border to Gloversville) are involved in a day-long annual conference devoted to their education and development. This is NOT training....this is enrichment and indeed an educational experience for them. It is a time for them to celebrate their and network. NYSACRA has long valued the front-line workforce and has been at the forefront of the DSP movement in the entire country and this is an annual conference that has record attendance this year.
Nationally recognized speakers and representatives from the NADSP (National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals...me included!) NADSP will be presenting on topics related to the important work of DSPs. Awards will be given and lunch will be served. Jeff Covington, Regional Vice President (Capitol District) of NYSACRA and key organizer of this event says, " This is a wonderful opportunity for Direct Support Professionals to learn and grow. With 110 participants it's good to see the commitment providers have to the profession of direct support."
The power of education cannot be underestimated and training is NOT education.
....Educate professionals.....especially, Direct Support Professionals.....