Meet Bonnie and Tony. This dynamic duo has been successfully working together for over 30 years. Bonnie has been part of Tony’s life in different ways and currently supports him as his provider. During a time when Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are in high demand, it is rare to hear of a provider being with one person for such a long period of time. So what has kept these two together for so long? Bonnie said it’s because, “he accepts me and I accept him. The good days outweigh the bad for both of us.”
It’s hard to miss the sparkle in Bonnie’s eyes as she talks about her relationship with Tony. “My kids have grown up with him, he knows my animals and I can tell he likes to be with me,” Bonnie shared. When talking about what Bonnie and Tony enjoy doing, it is clear that Bonnie knows everything Tony likes and dislikes. Bonnie knows what Tony needs to have a good day and just what to do when challenges appear.
Marty, Tony’s mom, shared that Tony would never be where he is today without the support of his two dedicated providers Bonnie and Kathy. “If you know Tony, we have been good advocates for him,” explained Bonnie. Tony has been living in his own apartment for eight years, something his mom never thought would have been possible. “We were concerned about how [Tony] would do living on his own, but he did just fine,” Bonnie proudly exclaimed.
“People forget about their own lives when they have a child with a disability,” shared Marty. “It’s important to keep your interests and be your child’s advocate. Finding a balance is the key.” Bonnie commended Marty for the job she and her husband have done in supporting Tony in his transition to adulthood.
We asked Bonnie what advice she would offer to people interested in becoming a DSP and she said, “You must have a lot of respect for the people you work with.” Tony and Bonnie’s mutual respect for one another is definitely a key contributing factor in their longtime relationship.
Tony is fortunate to have such wonderful support in his life. But more importantly, many others are fortunate to have Tony as a part of their lives.