Like Mother Like Daughter: A DSP Duo

The InVisionary

Like Mother Like Daughter: A DSP Duo

In today’s InVisionary Article, we hear from Erin and Katherine Babilon, a mother-daughter duo employed with InVision. The pair spoke with us about their experience working as Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and what it’s like to work alongside one another – a task they say is not as challenging as it sounds, as they simply leave their personal lives at home.
DSPs are at the heart of the human services industry, providing the long-term support necessary for people with intellectual disabilities and autism (ID/A). The role of DSPs is complex, as they are responsible for connecting people who experience ID/A with their friends, family and community, encouraging independent living and days spent meaningfully, and much more. Although the duties of DSPs may be difficult at times, the job is very rewarding. 
Erin began her career with InVision back in June 1998. As such, Katherine was exposed to the nature of Erin’s job duties growing up, and as an adult decided to follow in her mom’s footsteps – joining InVision’s team of DSPs in July 2022. 
“Working with my mom, I’ve seen how great of a worker she is and how she never cuts any corners and is always one of the best in the room,” Katherine shared. “It’s really cool to see that, because she was always a great mom, and is such a hard worker too.” 
Erin and Katherine work together nearly every day, due to friendships among the people they support. 
“Something that inspires me is finding new perspectives,” Katherine added. “If you’re upset about something, find a new perspective to make it easier. And to always do the right thing, even when something else might seem easier. We are faced with a lot of choices in this line of work, and sometimes there are choices that are easier than others. Working with my mom, who leads with a great example, I am proud that I am able to always choose the right choice rather than the easy choice because she models that so well.”
Erin admires Katherine’s ability to apply best practices in her daily job duties and noted that because Katherine looks up to her as a role model, she is encouraged to always maintain excellence. 
When asked about the importance of the role of DSPs, Katherine touched on how going through the school system opened her eyes to the challenges faced by people who experience disabilities when it comes to attaining proper care. This first-hand insight, along with her mom’s career, inspired her to become a DSP herself.  
“I am so grateful to be able to help the people we support, because I know I am doing everything I can to be a great DSP,” Katherine said. “It means a lot to me because I know how difficult it can be to get good supports.”
Taking on the role of DSPs has allowed Erin and Katherine to acquire the skills necessary to see things through the eyes of people supported, and how to help spin negatives into positives. They have also developed strong relationships with the people they support and highlighted that their workdays are filled with being silly, making jokes, and laughing all the time. 
“You don’t care what people think about you because you’re being who you are to entertain the people you support and to let them know they can be who they are,” Katherine stated. 

Routines & Consistency 

The role that DSPs play in the lives of the people we serve is significant, as relationships take time to develop and nurture. Erin and Katherine highlighted their commitment to attending weekly activities scheduled through Community Based Programs, emphasizing how essential it is to create stability with people supported due to high turnover rates among DSPs. 
Attending these activities – open to any person supported who wishes to participate – plays a huge role in establishing connections and developing routines and consistency. Erin expressed the value in this, as both she and Katherine, along with other DSPs, have become familiar faces that others can count on.  
“It makes a big difference, so whenever there is turnover, other staff can pick up and go to these activities,” Erin said. “Even with people who are not supported by InVision, we are still able to offer that stability to the staff and parents of people supported through other organizations.”

Work-Life Balance 

InVision is an organization that prioritizes our person-centered culture and approaches for the people we support, our vendors and donors, and our team members. Erin’s tenure with InVision is a coveted example of this. Erin began her career with InVision as a DSP 25 years ago but has held a variety of different job titles to accommodate for changes in her life.
“Over the 25 years I have been with InVision, I have had the opportunity to take on new roles to reflect what I was going through in my personal life,” Erin said. “When I had kids, I had to shift to part-time. I was so thankful that there were other places that would suit me better at the time. I am grateful I was able to adapt to InVision, and InVision was able to adapt to me.”
Although Erin has had the opportunity to take on various positions throughout her tenure, including being a program supervisor, she finds the most fulfillment in the role of a DSP – a feeling that Katherine mirrors.
 “Being a DSP, you are working with people every day, step by step, and sometimes it takes a month to complete one goal,” Erin added. “Being able to have that time to spend with people is what I love about being a DSP.”
Thank you, Erin and Katherine, for all the care and dedication you put into your duties – and thank you for sharing your story with us. InVision is grateful to have you! 

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