Talking with Nick-a DSP
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time at Life Visions with their theatre group, but this week I was able to sit down and interview one of the Direct Support Professionals (DSP’s), Nick Saporito. Nick helps out with the show the group is rehearsing. In the interview, I was able to find out key information about Nick as a person such as why he chose this career field, what difficulties he’s had to face, and what Life Visions is like from an inside perspective.
To start, I asked Nick about his relationship with one of the staff over here at Community Crossroads. Aleece Pappas has known Nick for many years because he worked directly with her son, Mikey. Nick used to take Mikey to McDonald’s for fun or back to their home where Nick would assist Mikey in daily chores. Nick told me a great memory of Mikey; how whenever they would go to eat at McDonald’s, Mikey would sing because he was happy to get out of the house and to hang out with Nick.
Next, I asked Nick why he chose to become a DSP, and to this he responded with a story of how kids used to bully two blind children at Nick’s school when he was younger. He told me how the other kids would throw food, knowing that the two children who were blind wouldn’t be able to see it coming. From there on, Nick knew he wanted to be apart of the solution and be of help to those who needed support.
I had asked him if he thinks it was harder to reach goals he set growing up with a disability himself, and he responded that he believes working on and achieving his goals was purely on him. He never thought that receiving tons of help was the way to go, and strived towards doing things all on his own. He mentioned that one of the main things he used to help him stay motivated was just purely believing in himself more than anything. He is currently climbing the ladder as a photographer, and working really hard to put himself out there, along with giving 100% as a DSP.
Along with the above mentioned question, I also was curious to know if he thought he was more qualified to be a DSP with a disability himself. He thought about this for a moment, but then was confident to say that people with disabilities are the “best people to work in the field” because of their personal experience, as well as friends and family of those who have them.
We talked for awhile about some goals he has now as an adult, and he took this portion of time to talk to me about how excited he was about his photography business that he’s been working on improving for many years (here’s the link to his website!). This stemmed from a childhood dream of being a director, however, he quickly realized that making it as a director is tough and that he wanted to pursue something a bit more practical. He also wanted to let me know that he plans to stay in the field of being a DSP for a very long time and does not plan on giving that up any time soon.
Life Visions from an outside perspective seems very well-rounded. Overall, I’ve noticed that the staff treats everyone, staff or non-staff, the same: with respect. Respect goes a long way, especially if you’re someone who is receiving services or are the family of someone receiving services, and you don’t quite know how to feel first going into it. Nick only confirmed my initial thoughts of Life Visions by expressing how much of a family it truly is. He told me that the staff are friendly and welcoming and that they always treat everyone the same. No one is put-down or disrespected in any way and Nick, and I, both think that’s very important.
Leading up to becoming a DSP and helping out with the theatre group, Nick took lots of acting classes in high school as well as outside of school, too. He devoted a lot of time to this and told me how much it helped with his confidence growing up.
To conclude, I asked him if he had any advice for anyone else with a disability who’s told they can’t do something because of it. He said “Well all you have to do is take the ‘dis’ out of disability and what do you have? Ability. Keep trying, learn from mistakes, and reach your spark.”
High School Intern/Website Blogger