In this book, the author describes “what doesn’t work” by outlining the ways in which individuals with intellectual disability may have been damaged by the “behavioral” approach to their day-to-day actions. She demonstrates what has been missed through this approach: Needs have not been met, individuals have been misdiagnosed, and trauma responses have been triggered through the exclusive use of behavioral controls, both positive and negative.
The author then moves on to describe “what works.” She explores the topics of stabilization, prevention, intervention, and the “mental health plan.” She proposes a model of behavioral intervention that does not require the use of restraints or contingencies; instead it promotes safety and security and addresses the outstanding issues around trauma. Numerous case studies are discussed, but all the names and relevant details have been altered to protect individuals, staff, and agencies.
The mental health plan template the author puts forward instructs and informs staff about how to support people who have experienced trauma, both on a small scale and on a large one. She provides examples of this approach with case studies and illustrates how the plans should be written to ensure optimal implementation.
This book gives the professionals and paraprofessionals who have dedicated themselves to this field and to the welfare of individuals with intellectual disability a trauma-informed paradigm within which to support people with intellecual disability psychologically and to establish the critical elements needed for recovery. As the author states in her introduction, “when the individual recovers, behaviors change. When the individual recovers, happiness can begin.”