The Road to Recovery Toolkit

About This Program

Target Population: Providers working with children and adolescents of all ages (0–1) with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families

For organizations that serve children ages: 0 – 21

Program Overview

The Road to Recovery toolkit is designed to teach basic knowledge, skills, and values about working with children with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (IDD) who have traumatic experiences and their families. Through multidisciplinary, community-based trainings, The Road to Recovery Toolkit aims to:

  • Increase participant awareness of trauma in youth with IDD
  • Build community networking in participant agencies
  • Encourage coordination of care and access to trauma-informed services
  • Teach participants the basics of:
    • Child trauma
    • Child development
    • IDD
    • Impact of trauma on development
    • Child responses to traumatic experiences

After establishing this foundation, The Road to Recovery Toolkit is designed to build participant skills in providing trauma-informed and IDD-informed services to children and their families. The toolkit includes activities to help professionals establish partnerships across services systems and provides resources to support professionals' self-care for secondary traumatic stress.

Program Goals

The goals of The Road to Recovery Toolkit are:

  • Recognize that children with IDD are at risk for traumatic experiences and that recovery is possible.
  • Describe developmental milestones, define IDD and types of disabilities, and discuss the disruption of traumatic experiences on child development.
  • Apply concepts of development, IDD, and trauma responses to conceptualizing a case.
  • Explain the impact on family after learning about a child's traumatic experience.
  • Develop strategies to partner with families and develop family- and child-centered services to enhance protective factors and resilience.
  • Discuss how to adapt screening, assessment, and planning tools and identify strategies for adapting services for children with IDD and their families.
  • Develop plan for cross-system partnering and collaboration.
  • Define and identify signs and symptoms of secondary traumatic stress, burnout, and vicarious trauma and construct personal plan for stress reduction and self-care.
  • Develop personal action plan for incorporating lessons from the training into their services and agency.

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for The Road to Recovery Toolkit.

Essential Components

The essential components of The Road to Recovery Toolkit include:

  • Providers who can use The Road to Recovery Toolkit include, but are not limited to:
    • Mental health providers
    • Direct care staff
    • Healthcare providers
    • Child welfare staff
    • School/special education personnel
    • Professionals providing auxiliary services (e.g., occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, etc.)
    • Residential services providers
  • Training delivered in a group setting:
    • In-person or remote
    • Recommended group size of 10–40
  • Usually delivered in an agency-based or training/community venues
  • Led by one or more facilitators who are mental health providers with experience in:
    • Child traumatic stress, child development, and IDD
    • Training/facilitation
  • Contains six modules, conducted across multiple sessions. The topics include:
    • Module 1: Setting the Stage
      • In this module, participants will learn why a Toolkit that addresses the needs of children with IDD who have had traumatic experiences is important.
      • Essential Messages of this module include:
        • Know that there is hope; recovery from traumatic experiences is possible.
        • Recognize that a child with IDD may have had a traumatic experience(s), which can have profound effects.
    • Module 2: Development, IDD, and Trauma
      • Participants will learn about typical milestones that occur throughout a child's development and how IDD and traumatic experiences can disrupt those milestones.
      • Essential Messages of this module include:
        • Recognize a child's developmental level and how IDD and traumatic experiences are affecting his/her functioning.
        • Utilize a developmental lens when making meaning of a child's traumatic experiences and responses.
    • Module 3: Traumatic Stress Responses in Children with IDD
      • Participants will learn about how traumatic experiences affect development generally, and children with IDD specifically, by learning and comprehending the 12 Core Concepts for understanding traumatic stress responses in children.
      • Essential Messages of this module include:
        • Recognize that in the aftermath of trauma, understanding traumatic stress responses is the first step in helping a child regain their sense of safety, value, and quality of life.
    • Module 4: Child and Family Well-Being and Resilience
      • Participants will learn the role of protective factors (such as a secure attachment and a healing/protective environment) in enhancing family well-being and resilience, and how to provide practical tools and support for caregivers and parents.
      • Essential Messages of this module include:
        • Utilize an IDD- and trauma-informed child-centered approach to support both the child and the family.
        • Help parents/caregivers, and other professionals in the child's life, strengthen protective factors.
    • Module 5: IDD and Trauma-Informed Services and Treatment
      • Participants will learn how to augment the protective factors of children with IDD and their families through IDD-informed trauma assessment and screening, and referral to appropriate trauma-informed services and testament.
      • Essential Messages of this module include:
        • Partner with agencies and systems to ensure earlier and more sustained access to services.
        • Ensure that trauma-informed child-centered services, treatments, and systems drive the recovery plan.
    • Module 6: Provider Self-Care
      • In the last module, participants will learn the difference between burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and vicarious trauma and the steps to stress reduction and self-care.
      • Essential Messages of this module include:
        • Practice ongoing self-care in order to increase effectiveness in delivering high quality support, services, and treatment.
  • Includes interactive activities, discussions, and videos to promote social learning and group support to move learning into application (e.g., "Action Planning" activity in each module)

Program Delivery

Recommended Intensity:

It is a system-level approach. Once staff at the agency have completed the training, they incorporate the components into usual agency practice.

Recommended Duration:

It is a system-level approach. Once staff at the agency have completed the training, they incorporate the components into usual agency practice.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Daily Living Setting
  • Foster / Kinship Care
  • Hospital
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Group or Residential Care
  • Public Child Welfare Agency (Dept. of Social Services, etc.)
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)


This program does not include a homework component.


The Road to Recovery Toolkit has materials available in languages other than English:

Dutch, Spanish

For information on which materials are available in these languages, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

A training room that comfortably fits the participants around tables with space to move for activities; The Road to Recovery Facilitators Guide, Participant Guide, and slidekit for each participant; laptop, projector, and speakers; marker board or flipchart; sticky notes and writing utensils for tables; materials for specific activities as listed in the manual (e.g., printed activities, dice).

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Facilitators should be mental health providers who are familiar with the field of IDD and have a solid understanding of child traumatic stress. Attending a session of The Road to Recovery and consultation with a trainer is also highly recommended. Trainers should have expertise in facilitating group training.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

Ko, S. J., Pynoos, R. S., Griffin, D., Vanderbilt, D., & NCTSN Trauma & IDD Expert Panel. (2015). The Road to Recovery:Supporting children with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have experienced trauma. National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

The Road to Recovery is a free, open-source curriculum and may be downloaded from the website and taught to organization staff without any additional training from the curriculum developer. It is highly recommended that agencies contact the curriculum developer to find a train-the-trainer opportunity and/or consultation prior to conducting their own training.

Number of days/hours:

It is highly recommended that trainers attend a Road to Recovery training and receive consultation prior to conducting their own training. The Road to Recovery training requires approximately two full days (16 hours). There are no separate tracks for different roles.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for The Road to Recovery Toolkit.

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for The Road to Recovery Toolkit.

Contact Information

Tracy Henderson Bethel, MPH
Agency/Affiliation: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress
Phone: (310) 235-2633 x9196821552

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: April 2021

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2021

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2021