DSP’s Making a Difference: Tracy Smith

Florida ARF & FADSP Celebrate Direct Support Professionals (DSP) Recognition Week

As part of DSP Recognition Week, FADSP is pleased to recognize direct support professionals (DSPs) who are making a meaningful difference in the lives of the people they serve. Tracy Smith is one of those DSPs.

Tracy Smith has been a Direct Support Professional with ARC Broward for over 10 years. Tracy is consistently respectful and caring with everyone she interacts with. She is proficient in applied behavior analysis strategies and techniques and is consistently looking for learning opportunities to help those she serves. Tracy is always patient, caring, and extremely compassionate. She works diligently to transform the lives of the individuals and the lives of their families by assisting the individuals with learning and providing the supports to significantly improve behaviors. With her compassion and dedication, she has greatly improved the quality of their lives by providing opportunities to participate in activities they enjoy.

One of the many examples of her outstanding contributions to those she supports is that of her work with a 16-year-old woman who has severe autism. At the time Tracy began working with her, she was highly aggressive and had severe elopement behaviors. Her family was desperate and child protective services was involved since the child was found wandering in the community at night while the mother was asleep.

This mother would go days without sleeping and one night due to intense exhaustion, she fell asleep and her daughter took the keys to the house off her neck and left. The only other support was the grandmother who struggled handling the young woman’s aggression. Tracy worked with the behavior analysis team to develop appropriate strategies to help this individual be successful and safe. With her supports and implementation of intensive behavior analysis treatment, the behaviors improved significantly. Today, this young woman’s aggression and elopement behaviors are at zero at home, school, and ARC Broward. Further, with Tracy’s instruction and support, this young lady has learned and enjoys many new activities and skills.

Tracy is an exceptional individual who exhibits excellence and excitement about her work and the successes of those she supports. She is a positive leader with her colleagues and assists them to build their professional repertoires through modeling and mentoring. Her team members look to her for guidance. Tracy continuously demonstrates an understanding of the NADSP Code of Ethics. She strives to provide person-centered supports and promotes physical and emotional well-being to all.

She demonstrates integrity, responsibility, confidentiality, justice, fairness, equity, and respect. She actively promotes relationships, self-determination, and advocates with the individuals and their families. Tracy shows a strong allegiance to all of the individuals she serves. Her number one priority is the individual’s unique preferences.

Tracy constantly helps them reach their fullest potential. She finds each person’s unique likes and dislikes and plans her lessons accordingly. She consistently modifies each of her daily lessons to meet the needs of the individuals in her class. She plans lessons that teaches skills to help all individuals with intellectual disabilities gain new skills to be able to complete daily tasks independently and advocates for their needs. She supports and encourages these individuals to make lasting relationships by teaching them appropriate social skills and providing activities that they all enjoy. Tracy respects all individuals and strives daily to ensure that all of their needs are met and that they live healthy independent lives.  She is always patient, caring, and extremely compassionate.

Thank you Tracy for your continued service to the individuals served at ARC Broward!