Information for Direct Support Professionals

The DDA is forever grateful and appreciative of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs).  DSPs are the DDA’s front line supports for the people we support.  With the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, each day, they are asked to make difficult decisions balancing the best interests of their family, community members, and those we support.  Especially during this critical time, it is important for staff to practice self-care.  Below is information and additional resources for that may be helpful. 

Supporting others (and yourself!) to Stay Active During Social Distancing

Staying home and practicing social distancing can leave you feeling antsy.  To ensure you and those you are supporting are able to stay active, while gyms, playgrounds and other activities are closed, we have compiled a list of activities you can do at home to keep you up and moving.

  • Special Olympics School of Strength offers 5 days of exercise from the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to keep you active without hitting the gym! Check it out here!
  • The YMCA has released 60 Free Online Classes (No Membership Required) to stay active while at home.  Check it out here!
  • Join in on Adaptive Yoga Session with Ms. Chitra! Check it out here!
  • Planet Fitness is offering free workout sessions through their Facebook page.  New workouts are added daily.  Check it out here!

COVID-19 Resources for Families and Individuals with Disabilities

Staying up-to-date on the latest information about COVID-19 can be challenging.  We’re keeping our eyes out for information specifically related to COVID-19 for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities that you can share with the individuals you support.
  • COVID-19 Information By and For People with Disabilities.  Check it out here!


Meal planning, preparation and grocery shopping are challenging during normal times.  Social distancing makes these routine activities even more challenging.  To help, we have compiled a list of resources from meal and grocery delivery to free meal services.
  • This comprehensive list developed by Montgomery County provides information on food assistance resources, and opportunities for individuals and organizations to support community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check it out here!
  • This list shows which grocery stores in DC, MD and VA have changed hours due to COVID-19.  Also listed are stores with special hours of operations for seniors or other vulnerable populations. Check it out here!
  • This comprehensive list shows where children (under the age of 18) can receive free meals during the COVID-19 outbreak in DC, MD, and VA.  Check it out here!
  • Occasionally cooking a meal just isn’t going to happen.  Check out this list of Best DC Area Restaurants for Takeout and Delivery may be the answer.  Check it out here!

Supporting People to Stay Busy and Entertained During Social Distancing

Being stuck inside with little to nothing to do can cause anxiety, depression or feeling isolated.  We’ve compiled a list of activities and other entertainment to keep everyone feeling engaged in their local (or sometimes not local) communities. 

  • Self-Advocacy Online provides opportunities to stay engaged in local and federal activities while staying home.  Check it out here!
  • Operation ASL Storytime offers children’s stories read in ASL over YouTube!  This is a great way to help children stay engaged in learning or mental activities while stuck at home.  Check it out here!
  • Staying connected over the internet is becoming the new normal right now.  For those without access to the internet, Internet Essentials is providing two months of free service during the COVID-19 emergency.  For those already using Internet Essentials, internet speeds will be increased at no additional charge.  Check it out here!
  • Just because you can’t leave the house right now doesn’t mean you can’t leave the state or even the country.  Twelve of the world’s most famous museums are offering free virtual tours so you can travel the world without ever stepping outside your front door.  Check it out here!
  • Needing a break from the news and other normal shows on tv?  Check out the Met’s nightly free opera streaming n- you can see a new show each night!  Check it out here!
  • There’s no better time to learn something new or hear about another’s experience then when you are stuck home with some free time.  TED Talks: Educational discussions are organized by topic of interest and always free!  Check it out here!
  • There’s nothing like going to a concert and seeing your favorite band, but NPR has compiled a great list of free live virtual concerts you can enjoy from home during the COVID-19 emergency.  Check it out here!

Promoting Self-Care for DSPs

As a DSP, you are used to helping ensure others are taken care of, but at times like these you need to make sure you are taking care of yourself as well.  DDA is keeping an eye out for resources to help ensure you are able to stay healthy – physically and mentally.
  • The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) created a tool kit with self-care information and additional resources for Direct Support Professionals.  The tool kit contains free webinars, handouts and links to additional online resources. Check it out here!
  • Sometimes when things are in chaos it helps to just step back and see the impact that you make in people’s lives each day.  Here’s a video highlighting the work of DSPs during the COVID-19 emergency.  Check it out here!

Resources for Direct Support Professionals

  • NADSP Toolkit for DSP Self-Care During Crisis
​The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) created a tool kit with self-care information and additional resources for Direct Support Professionals.  The tool kit contains free webinars, handouts and links to additional online resources. The toolkit can be found at here!​