EIHAB DSP Spotlight: Deirdre Thompson
Deirdre Thompson has worked as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) in EIHAB’s Queens Village Day Habilitation Program since May 2018. Described by her colleagues as “a creative, outgoing, and glowing person,” Deirdre never hesitates to go above and beyond to ensure that individuals reach their goals and thrive in the community. She’s one of the first staff to arrive and one of the last people to leave, often taking on extra shifts whenever needed.
Deirdre usually begins her day by picking up individuals at their Queens homes to bring them to program. Since individuals on her route are non-ambulatory, she takes extra precautions to make sure they’re transported safely. And she always shows up with a smile on her face. “If you greet individuals well, they’ll have a good day, and so will you,” Deirdre says.
When she’s supervising Day Hab participants, Deirdre offers support and encouragement to motivate them to achieve their goals. “One individual is writing his name,” Deirdre says proudly.
Tabletop activities, such as puzzles and board games, play an important role in enhancing individuals’ cognitive skills and hand coordination. Arts and crafts offer a way for individuals to express their creative side, especially during a holiday. This past Valentine’s Day, individuals created beautiful hearts to decorate the Day Hab room. And of course, there was a party. Celebrations epitomize the family-like environment that Deirdre and her colleagues aim to create.
“Seeing individuals enjoying their day is a great feeling,” Deirdre explains. “They’re enthusiastic about coming here. I always try to be here so they can be here.”
Even in the most challenging times, Deirdre is ready to make a difference. She worked straight through the pandemic onsite, while individuals took part remotely.
As the pandemic continues to ease, Deirdre is excited about the increase in community outings. Community inclusion activities are among what Deirdre likes best about working in human services – she’s been in the field since 1988!
“Shopping excursions provide the opportunity for individuals to select items that they want to purchase, as they communicate with other members of the community,” Deirdre points out.
One of her favorite memories occurred last summer when she accompanied individuals to the Canarsie Pier. “We had lunch and watched the fishermen. Individuals interacted with the fisherman and learned about the fish,” Deirdre recalls.
Staying active and keeping a positive attitude are Deirdre’s go-to tips for anyone looking to become a DSP. “As long as you continue to work with individuals, you will see progress. I love this field and working with individuals. Anything that makes them happy, makes me happy.”