There is a particular focus on trauma-informed care in the Social Work field and can help practitioners understand the way in which adverse life experiences at different life/developmental stages can impact mental and physical health. Centers and agencies that state that they provide trauma-informed services often require trainings of their staff members. This is often because many of the populations that social workers come in contact with have had a range of traumatic experiences. In regards to my own fieldwork, I have collaborated with clients that have had exposures to severe trauma. One thing that I noticed is that trauma-informed practices are sometimes not specifically inclusive of the best practices/approaches for clients that have I/DD or with their family systems. I have found that a lot of attention in clinical social work is paid to DSM guidelines and crisis intervention, but not as much attention is paid to this specific population that has had experiences with trauma.
I recently came across an interesting article titled A Call for the Integration of Trauma-Informed Care among Intellectual and Developmental Disability Organizations (2014). I agree with the article’s analysis of the need for organizational support for clients with I/DD that have needs associated with their trauma histories. The tendency to concentrate on direct or micro care should not overshadow the need for agency and organizational structures in place to provide the appropriate support services.
In centering the needs of clients and their wishes, it is important to get a full understanding of not only their previous histories, but also whether or not the agency is able to address the barriers to those needs, which requires an understanding of trauma informed care and I/DD.
Keesler, J. (2014). A Call for the Integration of Trauma‐Informed Care among Intellectual and Developmental Disability Organizations. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 11(1), 34-42.