Group of DDI staff

Women of Excellence at DDI: Introducing Rose Ellen Urdahl

DDI's Women of Excellence: Rose Ellen Urdahl

Rose Ellen Urdahl
Employment Specialist / Per Diem DSP

Rose Ellen Urdahl has been with DDI since 2017 as an Employment Specialist and, more recently, a Direct Support Professional (DSP).

Rose Ellen says that there is never a dull moment working in DDI’s Supported Employment Department and credits Maritza Archer, the Supported Employment Manager, as her inspiration to be the best job coach she can be and to be a strong advocate for the people she supports.

Due to the pandemic, she became part of the Children’s Residential Program (CRP) workforce as a DSP. Rose Ellen said, “Through this challenging and rewarding experience, all of the CRP staff were patient and encouraging as I learned to care for these young people, who completely captured my heart. It has been a blessing getting to know and care for the children, and I have stayed on as a per diem staff member.”

As a mother of children with autism, Rose Ellen brings a unique perspective and understands the necessity for best practices in the treatment of people with autism.  

Having a background in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and experience in modifying curricula has helped her develop useful individualized teaching strategies and motivation systems when she is helping the people we support succeed in their workplace.  Rose Ellen said, “What I think helps me most is the ability to see things as they ought to be without getting held back or discouraged by what they are now. I see potential where others sometimes do not.” 

Rose Ellen says that she has met a lot of amazing people while working in Adult Day Services and in the CRP.   She enjoys being part of an organization she feels is the gold standard for services for children and adults with autism and other developmental/intellectual disabilities. Rose Ellen said, “Having this reputation affords DDI and its staff the opportunity to be a voice in the community.”

Rose Ellen enjoys being a role model for new Employment Specialists.  “I often tell new Employment Specialists the story of one young man who attended our pre-vocational program who was very quiet and reserved. This young man has absolutely flourished in his retail job, is happy, and now tells jokes to his coworkers and me! Working has changed everything for him. We are now discussing the possibility of independent living for him in the future.  I’m honored to be even a small part of the successes of the people we get to support and nurture.” 

When not at DDI, Rose Ellen, who loves to cook, has a very busy life. She serves her church as a cafe team leader, discipleship mentor, prayer team member and assists with community grocery outreach. 

Rose Ellen also attends Liberty University Online pursuing a BS in Religious Studies, specializing in Christian Counseling.  When she has time, Rose Ellen’s hobbies include playing Pokémon Go!, watching football and Marvel movies, reading, gardening, crocheting and jewelry making. 

DDI thanks Rose Ellen for her years of service and dedication to the people we support and is proud to recognize her as part of the Women of Excellence at DDI series.