APA has always believed that its mission, creating community living options for people with autism, relies on the strong foundation made of the caring, skilled direct support professionals who help our residents lead their lives with dignity and independence. As an organization, we cannot help our residents succeed without that staff. They are the people who support residents in their daily activities, develop and implement programs of care, and are the heart of our organization.
While our day-to-day focus is always on the well-being and development of our residents, today we want to highlight what APA is like from an employee perspective.
We start by hiring people who we believe can follow APA’s code of ethics and adhere to APA’s core values. You can read more about the code of ethics here and more about our core values here, but a simple summary is we expect our employees to conduct themselves professionally and to treat residents with respect, always recognizing their dignity and humanity.
Next, we train carefully. We rely on experts from the University of Minnesota and other nationally known resources to help guide our training for the residents, CPR and first aid certification, medication administration certification, and emergency training. Many of the things our direct support professionals learn in these educational programs are applicable to everyone’s lives, not just our residents’. There is also a focus on communication skills, which are critical in working with residents, but also obviously useful in all facets of life. One direct support professional said, “The communication skills learned here have been developed using thorough studies of behavior and have been adapted to apply to each resident’s specific needs.” When they are fully trained, our direct support professionals often find themselves, as one employee put it, “Understanding these complex skills and applying them in simple and effective ways to help create a comfortable and gratifying experience for the residents and staff.”
We always foster a spirit of teamwork, so that every employee feels like they have a team surrounding and supporting them. One direct support professional explained the benefits of such teamwork this way: “Teamwork is another skill I’ve learned to use, and working with such a diverse group of coworkers to accomplish the goals set here helped me develop team working skills that have translated into many other parts of my life.”
One of APA’s signature creations is the patented CappsDATA system, a process and data gathering application that tracks and measures residents’ progress. Using CappsDATA, our employees plan and deliver complex schedules of care in a consistent and orderly fashion, even when the employees are relatively new. APA also has staffers complete a program delivery course in which they learn how to write a program of care for residents and analyze the program’s effectiveness, then apply those results to create programs that best suit each resident’s needs. This mixture of compassionate human development and forward-thinking technology fosters thoughtful innovation from our employees and gives them the opportunity to think creatively about their work and how they perform it.
Education is a core value of APA, and we believe that all people can learn. Naturally, that applies to residents learning new skills to enhance their independence, but it also applies to employees learning new skills they can apply to their lives and careers. The greatest compliment we can hear as an employer is that we’ve helped our staff learn valuable skills that translate beyond APA into their careers and lives.
If you are interested in the work APA does, the CappsDATA system, or working for APA, please contact us!