CDS Congratulates DSP of the Year


Each year, the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed (NADD) bestows its Direct Support Professional (DSP) Award for Excellence on an individual “whose dedication, advocacy, compassion, competence, person-centered approaches and collaboration results in improved quality of life, health, and wellness, and/or opportunities for person(s) with intellectual disabilities or mental health needs.”

This year, April El, a DSP who has been working for nearly seven years with Spurwink Services in Portland, Maine, won this prestigious award.

“This is a once in a lifetime experience,” she explains. “Everything we do as DSPs makes a difference and changes lives.”

Her supervisor, Sue Murphy, a Senior Program Director with Spurwink, nominated El for the award. “April is able to work with a variety of people very well,” Murphy says. “In fact, she’s worked with over half of the individuals in the program, equally well with every one.”

Murphy goes on to explain that April is an extremely compassionate person, caring and flexible. “Because she’s so person-centered, she works well with the person’s personal strengths, challenging folks. She sees everyone’s potential and works with that. She comes in with a lot of optimism.”

April El’s work has had a remarkable impact, not only on the people she supports, but on her colleagues as well, which is one of the reasons Spurwink considers her such a remarkable asset, and an example for other DSPs.

Spurwink Services has a work force of about 100 DSPs, all of which utilize the College of Direct Support (CDS) online curriculum when they come on board. CDS courses are an essential part of quality training. The DirectCourse/College of Direct Support curriculum is a nationally recognized online curriculum developed by both national and international experts, updated frequently, based on best practices, and is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

To read a more about Spurwink Services, please visit our CDS Partner Profiles:

For more information on the NADD DSP Award for Excellence, please visit:

For more information on the DirectCourse/College of Direct Support, please visit:

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