dateMarch 3, 2020userPosted by:

Juaneva Forbush: the First DSP-1 Direct Support Professional in Arkansas

Juaneva Forbush is one of 20 ASN Direct Support Professionals who recently applied for and was accepted to ASN’s pilot training program, the ASN DSP Academy. As a member of the academy, she was given access to the full curriculum of Open Future Learning, access to the NADSP E-badge Academy, and additional ASN-based support, as needed. Juaneva completed all requirements and received the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals’ certification for DSP-1 on February 24, 2020, making her the first DSP-1 certified through NADSP’s E-badge Academy in Arkansas. Juaneva, who has worked as a DSP at ASN for almost 10 years, received a completion bonus and an hourly raise for completing her DSP-1 certification, and everyone at ASN is extremely proud of her and her accomplishment. 

Below, Juaneva shares her experiences pursuing DSP-1 certification through Arkansas Support Network.

Direct support professional. What does that mean to you? To me, the term professional implies that there is a definite skill set and concrete standards that pertain to the position. I am happy to see ASN partnering with NADSP (National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals) to promote a higher level of skill and training for direct support professionals. Setting the bar higher for support staff should improve the quality of services that we provide.

I recently had the opportunity to participate in this partnership by pursuing certification as a DSP 1 through the NADSP ebadge program. This involved 50 hours of additional training and at least 13 essay submissions. The entire process was pretty straightforward. I feel like the entire experience provided valuable knowledge, insight,and perspective that I, as well as everyone providing direct support, can utilize in working with individuals who have disabilities.

ASN Direct Support Professional Academy training 2020
Participants are completing an ongoing training program to receive DSP-1 Level credentials. They also have an opportunity to meet monthly with the ADA Learning group and learn how to demonstrate skills as defined by the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals – NADSP.

With the availability of audio learning modules on the training website, it was pretty easy to complete the required training fairly quickly as these modules can be done while doing other tasks at the same time. The trainings were easy to follow and a real step up from the trainings that we had when I first started working at ASN.

The ebadge program essay submission process was clearly explained on the website. The only thing that I noticed that was a little awkward is that once you have submitted an essay, to check the status of your submission you have to go through multiple steps/multiple web pages to get that information.

For me personally, the hardest part of the entire process was waiting on my
submissions to be reviewed and approved or denied. It was also a bit intimidating not knowing exactly how in depth to write for each submission,not knowing for sure how strenuous the criteria really are. I had to resubmit a few because I hadn’t gone into enough detail. Some of my submissions took nearly a week to be reviewed. Others were reviewed in less than 24 hours. How long a submission awaited review did not seem to
have anything to do with whether it would be approved either. I actually submitted more than the required 13 because I thought that some of my submissions were probably going to get denied since they had been awaiting review for so long compared to some of the others.

For my fellow support staff who are pursuing this certification, I would suggest that when writing essays you explain the prompts with the presumption that you are addressing someone completely unfamiliar with what we do. Make sure to relate each submission to the code of ethics and emphasize the importance of letting the person/people you support make choices for themselves and the ways that you do so in your own work. Read carefully the comments/feedback if you have a submission
rejected as it will tell you why it was denied.

” Both the training and the ebadge program place an emphasis on providing person centered support services. This means allowing the people we support to decide how they want to live and what they want to do. This is how I have always felt that things should be! ”


To me this represents both personal growth and development of my skills and growth and development for the future of the entire field of direct support! I look forward to seeing this type of service model become even more of the standard for how we work with the individuals we support!

Written by: Juaneva Forbush

Are you interested in learning more about how to ensure person-centered, community based support for people with disabilities? We’d love for you to join us as we have community dialogues about the direct support profession throughout the year in preparation for the next Arkansas legislative session. 

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