Trauma-informed Day Services for Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities: Exploring Staff Understanding and Perception within an Innovative Programme

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Trauma-informed care (TIC) is a systems-level philosophy of service delivery which integrates choice, collaboration, empowerment, safety and trust to create an organizational culture sensitive to trauma. This study explores staff understandings and perceptions within an innovative trauma-informed day program for individuals with Intellectual/developmental disabilities.


Semi-structured interviews queried staff members (n = 20) regarding trauma and TIC, the integration of the five principles of TIC, associated challenges and recommendations for improvement.


Inductive analyses revealed reasonable understandings of trauma and TIC, highlighting factors critical to the five principles of TIC. Differences were associated with duration of employment and the presence of specialized training. Challenges with TIC emerged at different system levels: individuals, staff, management and interorganizational.


This study presents preliminary insight for the innovative and formative process of integrating TIC with intellectual/developmental disabilities services.

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