Going from Paper to Practice: Teaching Ethics to DSPs. (Ethics)

By Chrisco, David | The Exceptional Parent, August 2001 | Go to article overview

Going from Paper to Practice: Teaching Ethics to DSPs. (Ethics)


Chrisco, David, The Exceptional Parent


Translating the Code of Ethics to the daily routine of caring for people with special needs is a combination of creative training skills and a receptive workforce. Both are required to morph the Code into a living document, which indeed was the original intention of the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) collaborators. I found that before "ethics" could be presented to them, DSPs needed a firm grasp of the meaning of "values," "morals," "law," and just plain "doing good." Trainers should never assume that these words are understood and part of the consciousness of workers, even in the field of human service. I have found that the analogy of ethics as the axle that connects the wheels of rules and laws to the adjoining wheels of intentions and expectations seems to evoke head nods and expressions of agreement.

In order for members of the workforce to embrace ethics, they must appreciate the three tiers of endorsement, the foundations: cognition, emotion, and application (of skills). A clear understanding of each ethical domain and its place in service provision is vital. An appreciation for how each ethical statement is related to desired outcomes is emphasized to the class. I think it is imperative that each DSP see that the ethics code is nothing more than her own personal code of conduct and behavior. Indeed, we teach that ethics is merely the translation of a DSP's own values and beliefs into action.

The success of our training program is anchored in our use of case studies, role playing, and presenting both hypothetical and real-life scenarios. DSPs' responses are not judged but evaluated; we follow a proposed line of reasoning and see where it leads. Alternative actions are presented and the DSPs draw their own conclusions on which ethical pathways were preferred. We also incorporate the obstacles to "pie in the sky" ethics, including limited resources, staff turnover, unpredictable behavior, state regulations, unrealistic expectations, and the occasional encounter with Murphy's Law. By including these dynamics the DSPs are able to see that the Code of Ethics is applicable to a variety of settings and situations.

My experience as a leader in staff training has taught me that teaching "ethics" as an add-on or as a separate entity is a formula for disaster. Ethics must be integrated into every phase of DSP training. When we teach positioning, adaptive communications, life skills, recreation, socialization, and vocational preparedness, we try to include the notion of ethics in every course. Ethics is not something you teach as a separate curriculum--it must be woven into the fabric of knowledge and skills. The adoption of a code of ethics is a cultural change and that must be appreciated at every level.

We try to teach the difference between mandatory and aspirational ethics. To that end, we conclude the session by asking our staff for their ethical commitment. Signing the Code of Ethics is left up to the individual in keeping with our policy that ethics cannot be mandated, it must be applied. Of the nearly 200 DSPs that have experienced our evolving ethics training, no one has refused to sign the Code. We are proud to have been the first agency in the country to endorse the NADSP's Code of Ethics and we will continue to value its impact.

Tennessee Leads Nation in Adopting DSPs Code of Ethics

In November 2000, the Community Rehabilitation Agencies of Tennessee (CMRA) Board of Directors adopted a Code of Ethics for DSPs that had been drafted by NADSP. The CMRA Board adopted the Code as another means by which to raise the professionalism of the DSP and to increase positive public awareness across the state of Tennessee of these frontline staff and the people they serve.

DSPs are the linchpin in Tennessee's as well as all states' healthcare delivery systems for people with disabilities. There are an estimated 6,000 DSPs in Tennessee and approximately two million nationwide. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Going from Paper to Practice: Teaching Ethics to DSPs. (Ethics)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.