Helping Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Heal and Thrive Following Trauma

The THRIVING course will help those who care for or provide services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to:
  • Realize the widespread impact of trauma​ experienced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma​ in adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Respond by changing behaviors, policies, and services to take trauma into account​
  • Resist re-traumatization of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and staff with trauma histories. 

Who Should Complete THRIVING?

Health or mental health professionals, students, direct support professionals, family members, or advocates. Anyone who provides services and/or supports (formal or informal) to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities or who is interested in doing so.

What's Involved?

The THRIVING course includes six modules. Each module contains a set of video lectures plus activities designed to help you identify strategies to apply what you are learning to your own work. In these modules, you’ll learn about the best practices and techniques to help reduce the stress faced by adults with IDD who have also experienced trauma.

By understanding development, traumatic stress, and the nuances of working with adults with IDD you’ll become more effective at your job, and find more reward in working with the people your support. ​

Module 1: Setting the Stage—In this module, you will learn why a Toolkit that addresses the needs of adults with IDD who have had traumatic experiences is important.

Module 2: Development, IDD & Trauma—You’ll learn about typical milestones that occur throughout a person’s lifespan and how IDD and trauma can detour those milestones and impact their behavior and health throughout the lifespan.​

Module 3: Traumatic Stress Responses in Adults with IDD—You’ll learn about how traumatic experiences affect development generally, and adults with IDD specifically, ​

Module 4: Well-Being & Resilience—You’ll learn the role of protective factors—such as a secure attachment and a healing/protective environment—in enhancing a person’s well-being & resilience, and how to provide practical tools and support for caregivers and parents.​

Module 5: IDD- & Trauma-Informed Services & Treatment—You will learn how to augment the protective factors of adults with IDD and their caregiving-system through IDD-informed trauma assessment & screening, and referral to appropriate trauma-informed services & treatment.​

Module 6: Provider Self-Care—In the last module you’ll learn the difference between burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and vicarious trauma and steps to stress reduction and self-care.​​

Ready to LEARN?

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Thriving Online

Ready to get started?

The THRIVING web course is a FREE self-paced online course. Start learning today how to help the people you support thrive!

Want to TEACH?

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Thriving Facilitator ToolkitFacilitator Toolkit

Interested in hosting a Thriving Workshop for your own organization or community? The Thriving Facilitator Toolkit contains the complete materials to help spread trauma-informed care for people with IDD



THRIVING would not be possible with out the support of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).  THRIVING is an adaptation of "The Road to Recovery: Supporting Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Who Have Experienced Trauma" developed by the NCTSN. This toolkit, designed for providers of children with IDD, is available at the NCTSN Learning Center.

Funding for this project was provided by a grant from the WITH Foundation