Combining her clinical background with her experience in the field, Karyn outlines a number of practical and effective ways of responding to individuals who have experienced trauma. She also warns about interventions which can make the trauma worse
As an alternative to behavioural programs, Karyn talks about the importance of helping people pursue what makes them happy. She describes how she uses her "Happiness Book" in supporting people to work towards creating a more joyful and meaningful life.
Karyn talks about how pervasive experiences of grief and loss are among people with intellectual disabilities, and how often expressions of grief and loss are misinterpreted as "behavioural issues". She offers practical suggestions on what support staff can do to help someone going through this process. She introduces a resource she's developed called the "My Goodbye Book", and offers suggestions about how staff can use this booklet to assist people experiencing grief.
When a person has an intellectual disability, co-existing mental health issues are often overlooked if even considered. Mental health issues are often simply seen as "behaviour problems", and result in the application of behaviour programs. Unfortunately, many behaviour programs simply deal with the expression of the problem, not the cause. Karyn suggests that this is an unjust and damaging response, and offers practical suggestions for what support staff can do when they recognize the possibility of mental health issues. She offers ideas that can help support staff to ensure that individuals receive the support and care they need and deserve.
Karyn points out that our inevitable "mistakes" as we provide support can be an invaluable source of learning. But, if we are to learn from our mistakes, we need to set aside the desire to be seen as "perpetually competent" and commit ourselves to the never-ending learning process that is an inherent part of respectful support.
Karyn speaks about the vital importance of staff intentionally listening to the people they support, especially when they’re emotionally distraught. However, Karyn warns us about a critical mistake many people make when listening to another.