Understanding and managing trauma in people with severe and profound learning disabilities
Evidence and practice    

Understanding and managing trauma in people with severe and profound learning disabilities

Julie Calveley Director, NAC (Non-Verbal Affective Care), England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your understanding of the effects of trauma on the mind, brain and body

  • To identify some of the potential signs and symptoms of trauma

  • To consider strategies that you could use in your practice to support people with severe and profound learning disabilities who may have experienced trauma

Trauma has been described as an experience that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has produced traumatic effects in many people, particularly on those with severe and profound learning disabilities, who are generally at higher risk of trauma than others. Understanding the neurobiological responses to trauma may elucidate which experiential strategies could be used to support people with severe and profound learning disabilities who may have experienced trauma. In particular, trauma can lead to the loss of one’s sense of safety, so restoring this sense of safety can be crucial in supporting recovery.

This article details some of the potential signs and symptoms of trauma and describes some of its effects on the mind, brain and body. It also explores strategies that learning disability nurses can use to assist people with severe and profound learning disabilities to recover from trauma.

Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2021.e2165

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@NACWellbeing

Correspondence

julie@nacwellbeing.org

Conflict of interest

None declared

Calveley J (2021) Understanding and managing trauma in people with severe and profound learning disabilities. Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2021.e2165

Acknowledgement

The author would like to thank Dr Megan Cowles, clinical psychologist, for reviewing the article before submission

Published online: 14 October 2021

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