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ASERT does not offer crisis services through our Resource Center. If you or someone you love is experiencing mental health distress or thoughts of suicide please call or text 988 for support.

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Relating Personally and Professionally

The work of a direct support professional is demanding and rewarding. In your daily work with someone with autism, you probably find yourself balancing many things, such as how much you offer assistance versus how much you can foster independence. Balancing the personal and professional aspects of your position in relation to those you support is also significant.

Given the fact that you relate with your clients in their daily routines and spend time with them in their homes or out in the community, your profession requires attention to maintaining healthy yet supportive boundaries. Consider the following questions:

Your Personal Life

How much should you share with you client about your personal life?

How much time do you spend texting, surfing the web, watching TV, or talking on the phone when you are working with your client?

Your Relationship with a Client

What are the upsides of sharing about yourself? What are the downsides?

Which subjects should you never share about?

When does it become unprofessional to use your phone or watch TV when you are with your client?

Your Client's Personal Life

How much should your clients share about their personal lives?

How can you assist your clients in understanding what is appropriate to share with you and what is not?

In what ways do you respect your client’s need for personal space?

What You Can Do Now:

  1. Make a list of personal stories you can share with your client to build rapport while maintain healthy boundaries
  2. Make a list of questions you can ask your client to share about to build rapport while maintaining healthy boundaries
  3. If you feel you spend too much personal time doing your own activities while supporting a client, make a list of things that you will change to become more professional in your work

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