A Trauma-Informed Toolkit for Providers in the Field of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

June 23, 2017


Research has shown that people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) are at significantly more risk of ACEs and other forms of abuse and neglect than is the general population. This toolkit, by Steven Marcal, Psy.D., and Shawn Trifoso, LMSW, addresses a number of areas designed to support people with IDD who may have experienced trauma. 

The toolkit begins with a preface by Dan Tomasulo, who has been instrumental and groundbreaking in developing clinical approaches in IDD/Trauma work. This is followed by a preface by Ed Bartz, policy entrepreneur for the initiative that lead to the development of the toolkit, who speaks with wisdom from the perspective of an individual with a disability. 

Chapter 1 offers information and a guide for direct support professionals and others, with many exercises designed to enhance wellness and resiliency. Research has shown that attention to staff wellness is critical, and can positively impact the quality of care, reduce use of restrictive interventions, and reduce turnover. 

Chapter 2 provides background information as to the problem of ACEs and the evidence that the problem is magnified in the field of IDD. 

Chapter 3 provides guidance for trauma informed behavioral planning. functional behavioral analysis for people with a trauma history requires special understanding. Critical elements needed in planning for people with a trauma history are delineated. A sample “trauma-informed” support plan is included to provide guidance in this area, as well as a template for a therapeutic support plan that the reader is free to use. 

Chapter 4 is offers direction for thinking about personal and agency solutions for administrators, quality assurance staff, and interested others. The Restorative Integral Support model proposed by Heather Larkin and John Records (citations in document) provides a foundational approach with theoretical underpinnings. 

For more information about this Toolkit or training that may be available please contact Steve Marcal at Marcal@cfdsny.org.

The Center for Disability Services (CFDS) is a member of the group “Healthy Environments And Relationships That Support” (HEARTS) Initiative, of New York State’s Greater Capital Region. HEARTS is a collaborative of the University at Albany and many local agency leaders, two state agencies, and one health insurance company, advancing responses to adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and mobilizing community resilience. The five counties of the Greater Capital Region—Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Schoharie—serve as a design lab for practice and policy reform. Pilots in the Greater Capital Region are intended to inform system-wide policy.