John Cunningham – Michigan Direct Support Professional of the Year

DSP John Cunningham of Milan, Michigan, goes above and beyond to help his clients live their best life. John has made a big impact in the life of a client and his family. This client requires constant supervision, even when he is with his family. John has become an integral “part of the family” – from attending church, many family events and is even included in family vacations. John’s ability to connect and be supportive helps both the clients and their families live their best life.

John works with individuals who have sustained Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), which can cause memory issues. A common goal for individuals with TBI is learning their medications to prevent mistakes. John developed crossword puzzles personalized for each individual complete with a word and photo bank of their medications. A year later, this tool is still utilized and everyone knows most, if not all, of their medications by name, dose, and photo. 

John creates the monthly activity calendar and researches the activities and events to ensure that the individuals are engaged in activities that they enjoy and are geared toward their rehab goals. Several of the events include dressing up as an option. John always joins in on the fun and dresses up as well, so his clients don’t feel excluded. He encourages them to be themselves and to have fun in everything they do.