I want to talk about supporting staff, particularly direct support workers, about why it is important and why it is hard to do well, about how we all move forward together when we do, about what we are learning.

What are we learning? We are learning to listen better to what staff members are saying: Tell me what my job is, help me get to know this person, offer meaningful training, help me understand how my role fits into the larger scheme of things, give me opportunities to talk about my work, value me and what I do. These are some of the things I like to talk about and sing about.

I live in Madison, Wisconsin, with my wife and two daughters. I work for Options in Community Living (2001), which is a nonprofit supported living agency. We are involved with about 100...

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