The Traumatic Stress Institute fosters the transformation of organizations and service systems to trauma-informed care (TIC) through the delivery of whole-system consultation, professional training, coaching, and research.

Whole-System Change Model –

IDD Organizations & Systems

Transform your system, transform your care


“TSI’s Whole-System Change Model was the magic solution. TSI mentored and trained us on the model and it was a game changer for us.”

Stacey R. Roth, LCSW

Executive Vice President & COO, Hillsides, Los Angeles, CA

Implementing Trauma-Informed Care in IDD Organizations and Systems

Dr. Karyn Harvey, noted expert on trauma with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) argues, “Trauma in people with IDD is the elephant in the room.” The statistics are harrowing:

  • people with IDD are 2.5 times more likely to be victims by violent crime compared to people who are not disabled (Harrell, 2017).
  • 31% of children with IDD suffer child abuse compared to 9% of non-disabled children (Sullivan & Knudson, 2000).
  • 14% of direct care staff admitted to acts of violence against adults with IDD and 35% said they had witnessed such violence (Strand, Benzein, & Saveman, 2004)

Yet few IDD organizations train their staff about trauma, address trauma in the people they support, or recognize how re-traumatization can happen in their programs.

Trauma-informed care (TIC), widely viewed as a best practice in the human services, refers to a whole-system approach to addressing the reality of trauma in the people being supported through staff training, trauma-specific treatments, trauma-inform behavior support, and policy changes. Implementation of TIC has been shown to increase staff retention, decrease restraints, and decrease abuse allegations.

In 2019, the Traumatic Stress Institute made the strategic decision to bring its Whole-System Change Model to TIC to organizations and systems supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). After launching a Pilot TIC Learning Collaborative with 4 IDD organizations across the US, TSI is now offering its training and consulting services to IDD organizations more broadly.

How We Can Help

We offer our Whole System Change Model to TIC to:

  • Individual IDD organizations
  • Multiple IDD organziations via a Learning Collaborative
  • State or government systems of IDD sites or organizations via a Learning Collaborative

The Traumatic Stress Institute’s mission is to foster the transformation of organizations and systems to trauma-informed care through whole-system consultation, training, coaching, and research. TSI currently support over 85 agencies in North America in implementing and sustaining Trauma-Informed Care.

Learn more about the Whole-System Change Model for IDD Organizations

See Infographic Below

Trauma-Assumed Behavior Analysis for People with IDD:
From Trauma-Inducing to Trauma-Reducing

with Dr. Greg Hanley

The Traumatic Stress Institute recently hosted a free webinar entitled Trauma-Assumed Behavior Analysis for People with IDD: From Trauma-Inducing to Trauma-Reducing by Dr. Greg Hanley. To recap, organizations supporting people with IDD often rely heavily on interventions rooted in applied behavior analysis (ABA) to manage severe problem behavior. But a reckoning is happening in the ABA field over what many see as the trauma-inducing nature of some traditional ABA practices. As IDD organizations begin to implement trauma-informed care to more compassionately support people that have suffered trauma, they must grapple with how to change some ABA practices that are embedded in their systems.

Greg Hanley, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, is smack in the middle of that reckoning. After decades of teaching and practicing ABA, he began critically examining his own (and others’) practices, 

recognizing that some were causing harm and not leading to desired changes.  This led him to develop what he calls “Today’s ABA,” a contemporary and compassionate version of ABA. He shared his journey and discuss the implications of Today’s ABA for IDD organizations working to reduce trauma and foster healing.

A recording of the webinar is now available, helpful for those who missed the event or wanting to review/share the information presented with others. The document shared during the webinar is included below.


Leadership Engagement
The Model begins with coaching of leadership to galvanize buy-in to the TIC change process. READ MORE…
Risking Connection Staff Training

Risking Connection (RC) is a trauma 101 staff training model that organizations adopt to foster a trauma-informed workforce. RC becomes embedded in the organization through a Train-the-Trainer model. READ MORE…

Follow-Up Coaching
TSI provides regular coaching to support organizations in executing their TIC Implementation Plan. READ MORE…
Trainer Certification and Professional Development

Risking Connection Associate Trainers are certified to teach the RC Training at their organization. Trainers join an international community of RC Trainers who benefit from annual professional development trainings. READ MORE…

Program Evaluation and Online Dashboard
Rigorous program evaluation is integral to the TSI model. Data is collected and results are displayed on the organization’s individually-tailored online data dashboard. READ MORE…

Is Your IDD Organization or System Ready Yet for Trauma-Informed Care?

The Traumatic Stress Institute held two 60-minute webinars in April to ground participants in the basics of Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) as it applies to IDD organizations and systems. The presenters discussed how TIC could strengthen organizations, offered a model for implementing TIC, and explained how to determine your readiness to make this rewarding (and challenging) change. 

A recording of the webinar is included here, helpful for those who missed it or for those wanting to review or share the information presented with others. The documents shared during the webinars are included below.