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Keywords:

  • abuse;
  • health services;
  • intellectual disability;
  • trauma;
  • trauma-informed care

Abstract

Research exploring the occurrence of trauma among adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) has grown over the past decade. Yet there is a dearth of literature investigating the impact of organizational factors on the trauma experience despite this population's need for organizational supports. Trauma-informed care (TIC), a systems-focused model for service delivery, is a fast-developing interest among the broader field of trauma in the general population. It recognizes the prevalence and impact of trauma, and creates a culture of safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment. The author synthesized relevant literature from both the intellectual and developmental disabilities areas and integrated this with TIC and trauma literature drawn from the general population. Explored are the implications of organizations for service delivery and the potential assimilation of TIC within I/DD organizations. The effectiveness of TIC applications and their potential barriers are discussed and related to the philosophy of quality of life and organizational culture. The author notes that some individuals with I/DD comprise a vulnerable subgroup of the population that in large part relies upon the support of organizational services to foster quality of life. Given the implications of the focus on quality of life, he posits that TIC presents as a viable response for organizations, complimenting and augmenting current efforts.