Access to trauma-informed treatment and assessment for neurodivergent and/or gender-expansive youth
The overall goal of our project is to improve outcomes for neurodivergent youth and young adults, including those with autism, and gender-expansive youth and young adults ages 0-25 who are affected by trauma. Independently, these youth and young adults face more adversity and are at a greater risk of trauma, such as abuse and neglect, as well as experiences like rejection, isolation, and bullying than their peers without those differences. Those living at the intersection of both neurodivergence and gender expansiveness are at even higher risk. Further, experiencing oppression as a result of not being a member of the “majority” can also have compounding effects on trauma and adversity. Professionals often have less than optimal capacity or expertise to support the needs of youth living at the intersection of these diversities and differences.
We built a team of professionals at Dartmouth Health, with state and national experts and people with lived experience, to help our NH workforce better care for this population. Our 5-year project will engage providers and staff at mental health centers, intellectual and developmental disability agencies, education settings, gender-affirming medical and mental health clinics, residential settings, and other agencies. We aim to help providers and staff better understand trauma and its impact, learn how to identify and screen for trauma and adversity, and provide best practices that are tailored to the needs of neurodivergent and gender-expansive youth.
Our project will focus on the following three areas:
- Statewide trauma-informed training and consultation to a multi-disciplinary workforce (e.g., pediatricians, intellectual and developmental disability providers, residential staff, gender-affirming providers) to help professionals understand the unique needs of youth and families and how to best support them
- Screening and assessment for trauma, adapted to the needs of neurodivergent and gender-expansive youth
- Implementation of trauma-focused mental health services adapted for the unique needs of neurodivergent and gender-expansive youth
Contact Project Director Becky Parton, MSW, LICSW for more information.