The Arc of East Ascension celebrated Direct Support Professional Recognition Week Sept. 12-18 by highlighting the professionals who care for people with disabilities in Ascension Parish.

The week is an opportunity to highlight the dedicated direct support workforce that is the heart and soul of supports for people with disabilities, a news release said.

Direct support professionals support and provide services of learning, care, monitoring, skill development and life tasks and skills for people with developmental and intellectual delays and special needs.

The week also allowed the community to express appreciation for a group of people who have chosen the task and challenge of helping people with disabilities achieve their full potential, the release said.

Staff who work in this field must be trained and continue to receive ongoing training on providing supports in the home and community with the people that they serve. Many times, this career path falls into the medical field, it is the unique combination of medical field and social services.

Executive Director of Arc of East Ascension Raven LaBiche said direct support professional "are very essential in the progress and success for people with developmental and intellectual delays who are choosing to be active citizens and residents of their community." She said the support workers help guide the people that they support with achieving goals toward independence as well as discovering the journey to reaching their full potential.

The Arc of East Ascension honored support staff who have been with agency over 15 years with flowers and gifts. In addition, the agency provided small tokens of appreciation each day of the week. The week ended with a pastalaya lunch, a smoothie from Smoothie King and a certificate of appreciation given by the agency. Each day of the week, the agency highlighted a support professional on social media.