Trauma-Informed Care, a Leading Edge Approach

Trauma-Informed Care: A Universal Precaution for Service & Support Administrators and Individuals with Developmental Disabilities is a transformative approach to serving the emotional needs of individuals who have developmental disabilities, and/or co-occurring mental illness (MI/DD). At a one-day training on June 27, the effects of emotional and physical trauma on brain development and resulting behavior opened new doors to greater understanding. The free training was sponsored by DODD, the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, and Ohio Partners in Justice. 

Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) is an organizational structure and treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. It also emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety for individuals and their service providers, and helps survivors rebuild a sense of control and empowerment. Nearly 200 professionals learned from trainers Mary Vicario and Tricia Burke – experts in this field. Vicario shared research on how the brain perceives and manages pain and noted the importance of transforming pain.

Mary Vicario, speaking“The brain feels physical and emotional pain the same. It does not differentiate between them. And pain that is not transformed is transmitted. Trauma-informed care is an essential tool — an alternative to seclusion and restraint, and other aversive actions.” -Mary Vicario, Certified Trauma Specialist

Left: Tricia Burke at podium, Mary Vicario, speaking.

She added, “Understanding this, and getting behind the reasons why a person is acting out, or not responding to treatment, is so important. So it’s not, “What’s wrong with this person?” … it’s, “What’s happened to this person?”

According to Vicario and Burke, Ohio is the only place in the country where this approach is being taken to help people with developmental disabilities. She noted, “It’s been a real journey to show that intellectual developmental disabilities and mental illness can and do co-occur.”

DODD appreciates the funding provided by the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council and the ongoing collaboration with Ohio Partners in Justice to bring unique training opportunities such as this one to professionals in the statewide DD community.

More information about Trauma Informed Care online at