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Safe, Connected and In Control

The Trauma Responsive Care Model

Trauma is any experience or series of experiences that make the individual feel that he or she is in danger of dying, or of being emotionally “wiped out” or annihilated.


Trauma can change the brain at the deepest levels. It may impact not only how we think and learn (areas behavioral supports target) but also how we live in our own skin, how we see ourselves, and how we trust and connect to others. We believe that more research needs to be done about trauma and individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, but trauma is trauma, whether or not a person is very young or very old, has or doesn’t have an intellectual or developmental disability.


People can adapt, heal and even grow from traumatic experiences. This is done through repeated experiences of being safe, connected and in control in relationship with others. This relational framework will not interfere with behavioral interventions, and fits with other philosophies like person-Centered Planning, Gentle Teaching and others.


Trauma Responsive Care is . . .

Trauma-informed care training is an important first step in learning about trauma. This baseline is becoming standard for care in human services. The next step is helping your staff to respond to trauma, and to make your agency sustainably trauma responsive, in ways that actually work. Trauma Responsive Care and our staff skills model, the CALMER Skills, take you further in improving quality, reducing liability and containing costs. Trauma Responsive Care is:



  • The next step after Trauma Informed Care. Trauma Responsive Care means responding actively to trauma rather than merely being informed about it.


  • Making sure individuals feel safe, connected and in control before asking anything else of them.


  • Applied as a universal precaution. Individuals may benefit from assessments, but the TRC model covers everyone, from the individual to the CEO of the agency


  • A simple set of skills that are easy to do and easy to remember, giving staff a way to provide these relationships and experiences consistently.


The CALMER Skills

We teach staff the skills to recognize and manage their own emotions. We base this on mindfulness and neuroscience. The CALMER Skills can be taught throughout the agency, and has a management component as well.



Click here to contact Aldridge Palay to get more information on TRC.


Click here to review outcomes from a recent project.