Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Taura Combest

REGION 4 – Hudson Valley
Taura Combest

Position: Direct Support Assistant

Years of Service: 1


Heather Chatlos, Habilitation Specialist I, says Taura’s favorite part about being a DSP is working with people with developmental disabilities and ensuring their satisfaction with services, promoting their independence and quality of life, and observing their positive reactions during activities.

“Taura is most rewarded when she observes their reactions of enjoyment and pride during activities,” she adds.


Chatlos says over the past year, Taura has worked very hard to learn her job, taking on a variety of tasks and helping to teach others.

“She is eager to help and assist other staff,” she continues. “Taura complies with directives given to her, completes her trainings on time, and her attendance is exceptional. Taura is friendly and she always puts the people with whom she works first. She ensures that all the people in the home are given the ability to make choices and encourages everyone to communicate to the best of their ability.”

“Taura has demonstrated her exceptional ability to improve the quality of life of the people we support,” Chatlos says. “She will go above and beyond the call of duty. If an individual is in the hospital, she will go and visit them on her own time and brings items of interest such as a magazine or a doll. Taura also will take some of her own interests, such as baking and crafts, and develop evening or weekend activities in the house.”

Chatlos adds that Taura will work with an individual on their valued outcome and write a complete note documenting the activity including where, when and the person’s reaction. “Taura can always be observed working with the people in the home, assisting her fellow staff and completing all of her paperwork,” she says. “She has really become close with the people in the home and has learned their likes/dislikes, interests, when they are not feeling well, etc. Taura takes great pride in her work.”

Taura will teach and assist individuals to complete tasks to promote greater independence, Chatlos says.

“She talks to them about their interests and any special places they would like to go. For example, one woman loves her coffee, so Taura will take her out to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and they will sit and enjoy conversation,” Chatlos explains. “Another woman loves shopping and Taura will take her to a store so she can choose clothing, crafts, etc. that she would like. Taura is aware of one of the people’s interest in polka dots and whenever she sees anything polka-dotted, Taura will purchase it for her—she is so excited and thankful when Taura brings the item home for her. Taura loves the positive reaction the people in her care demonstrate upon having their desires met.”

“When someone says it takes a special person to do this kind of work, Taura is the first person I think of,” says Alison Davis, Team Treatment Leader. “She truly provides quality care to the people she supports.”