Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Laurie Burden

REGION 2 – Broome
Laurie Burden

Position: Direct Support Assistant

Years of Service: 11


“I enjoy helping people learn and do things that other people don’t always think they can do,” says Laurie. “The smile on someone’s face when you take a little extra time to help is priceless.”


Laurie was selected because she is a person who is willing to assist when and where needed, according to Karen Blakeslee, Laurie’s Team Treatment Leader.

“She works very well with the individuals, has gained their trust, and they reach out to her,” says Blakeslee. “She ensures assignments are completed even if they are not assigned to her. If they are incomplete, she follows up to get them finished. She is a significant support to her house director. 

“Laurie is always willing to learn,” Blakeslee adds. “She reaches out and asks what else needs to be done and does it. She exemplifies teamwork. She also works well with individuals with Autism; she engages people in meaningful activities that they want to do.”

Blakeslee says Laurie likes to work and approaches leadership asking what she can assist with. 

“She is reliable, flexible and likes to learn,” Blakeslee adds. “Laurie works especially well with one person who has Autism. She has a calm and supportive approach that people respond to, and she can redirect using a positive approach to obtain appropriate results. She has the gift to engage and communicate effectively with those who have Autism.”

In addition, Blakeslee says Laurie is a positive role model for other staff. “When one of the people she works with moved, Laurie duplicated room set-up from one house to the other to maintain his routine and decrease stressors during the transition. 

“At one time a person became upset when cable television wasn’t working,” Blakeslee continues “Laurie was able to keep him focused while the situation was addressed. She has been able to encourage independence for the people she serves, and is tuned into their preferences and stressors. She thinks ahead, which helps everyone stay in a good frame of mind.”

“We are lucky to have Laurie on our team to support the people we serve,” concludes Blakeslee. “She is an asset in many ways as she is always willing to help with anything that is needed. Her positive and upbeat attitude is helpful to those around her.”