positive behavior support Celebrating 30 years

Support Report


Individuals with disabilities are more likely to experience abuse than peers without a disability. Trauma can occur at any age as a single event or a series of events. Trauma changes the way people view themselves, others and the world. Below are sample universal strategies that can be built into a trauma-informed approach.

  • Provide a safe place to go when overwhelmed
  • Encourage healthy, enjoyable coping mechanisms (ex: art, exercise, cleaning)
  • Everyone recognizes the symptoms of trauma and knows how to respond
  • If someone is engaging in problematic behavior, recognize it may be a fight, flight or freeze response
    • Ask what happened to them and do not assume something is wrong with them
    • Provide comfort and allow them time to process and calm down
  • Ensure survivors feel physically, emotionally and psychologically safe
  • Celebrate strengths and build upon those daily
  • Identify at least one consistent trusted adult that the person can go to who will listen, comfort and believe in them
  • Set clear, achievable expectations and provide reinforcement for meeting or exceeding them
  • See survivors as survivors, not victims, and encourage them to take pride in their progress
  • Find ways to incorporate mindfulness daily such as taking a walk through nature, blowing bubbles or practicing yoga
  • Provide a way the person can communicate difficult emotions effectively
  • Help survivors build a sense of purpose, a way to contribute to the greater good of society
  • Establish policies to prevent retraumatization

Read the full Spring 2019 Support Report

Support Report Archive