The Value of Natural Supports

The term natural supports refers to the resources that are already present and available to all persons in community environments. This includes family, friends, co-workers and neighbors, members of clubs or civic groups, and local merchants.

Imagine for a minute what it would be like to wake up every morning knowing that the only people you will interact with all day will be those paid to be with you.

This is not how most people live. Most people pay for some services and get assistance from others just because they care. It is the responsibility of DSPs to find and set up flexible ways of supporting a person in community settings so he/she can develop natural relationships. The goal is to move away from dependence on paid supports and move towards supports from friends, family, and others who are genuinely interested in the person.

Creative strategies must be found to support and maintain these relationships. These may include introducing the person to the organizer of the group, frequenting the same places and including the person in conversation. Any routine, service or activity that a person needs, wants, or enjoys should be arranged through the same resources as those used by persons without disabilities (such as the family doctor, dentist, barber, YMCA for recreation, community pool for swimming).

Two women peeling veggies