Supporting Children & Families Through Trauma


What are Self-Study Resources?

Self-Study Resources include a series of Human-Centered Design (HCD) tools and resources that you can use to learn more about the needs of families and children experiencing trauma and toxic stress in your community. All resources are available for you to access anytime at your convenience.

Resources such as additional Human-Centered Design tools and processes along with recorded webinar content will continue to be added to this page. As such, it is important to check back regularly!

How do I use Self-Study Resources?

If you or your organization are planning to take the Self-Study Learning track as part of Co-Creating Well-being, follow the steps below to expand your knowledge of and experience with techniques used in human-centered design.


Designing and Implementing Your Engagement Plan



What is Human-Centered Design?

Begin by reviewing What is Human-Centered Design (HCD)? This provides a short overview on the HCD approach and re-familiarizes with the HCD process and language.



Light-Touch Engagement Tools

The Empathy Map, Emoji Wheel, and Postcard are considered “light touch” engagement tools. These tools were introduced at the in-person training that took place in Phase One. Although you may have seen and used these tools before, we recommend setting aside 30 minutes to review each of these tools and step-by-step accompanying instructions. It can often increase comfort level by trying the tools out yourself. Go ahead and give it a go!



In-Depth Engagement Tools

The “in-depth” engagement tools used in the Co-Creating Well-Being project include the Activity Book and Caregiver Journal. For those in the Web-Based Learning track, there are two webinars that provide instructions for how to complete these tools as well as an opportunity to ask questions:

For those in the Self-Study Learning track, use these links to access both the Activity Book and Caregiver Journal.



Create an Engagement Plan

This Engagement Guide walks you through what you’ll need to consider as you decide to use the light-touch and in-depth engagement tools. We’ve simplified it into 4 key steps:

  • Build a Foundation

  • Develop A Plan

  • Iterate

  • Practice and Learn

The Guide also includes an appendix with key information to help guide decision-making as you develop your engagement plan. For those in the Web-Based Learning track, this webinar included information on using the Engagement Guide tool.



Use the Engagement Tools with Clients

Thinking about your day-to-day work, and how often you are in front of clients, you will now put your engagement plan into action.

Engagement tools can be collected at any point during Phase Two, which ends in September 2019. Please download the tools or request hardcopy tools via email from 

Two facilitated ‘engagement sprints’ will take place before September. The first will take place in late July and the second will start in late August.

Quality is more important than Quantity

  • In terms of insights uncovered, the difference between asking zero people and asking one person is significant

  • Try to use each tool with five parents, caregivers, providers, siblings, relatives, and anyone else who has an influence on the development of young children

  • To ensure you get good quality responses, think about a few different locations, groups, or ways you can use the engagement tools to ensure diverse participation.

Always remember to bring a trauma-informed lens when using the engagement tools  

  • You are a capable partner in empowering people and affirming their autonomy and dignity

  • Listen deeply and ask the questions only as they make sense

  • Never interject, re-define, or paraphrase a person’s experience. Just take word-for-word notes

  • Consider that children who have experienced trauma often have poor verbal skills, difficulty with memory, and may have trouble focusing. Be patient and give the child as much time as they need to reflect and end the conversation if you see signs of distress

For those in the Web-Based Learning track, this webinar included information on trauma-informed approach, historical trauma, and diversity, equity, & inclusion. There are also video resources developed by the trauma-informed care members of the Co-Creating Well-Being project team.

Asking about Trauma

Responding to Trauma

Creating Safe Spaces

Looking for a place to start?

  • If you have a group that regularly meets, you may be able to ask clients to individually step aside for 5 minutes to fill out an emoji wheel, postcard, or empathy map. You can also ask them to fill it out just before or just after the session.

  • If you have clients that come in for regular appointments, you may offer them the opportunity to participate following their appointment.

  • If you want to connect with folks that don’t regularly access your services, you may want to think about a different location—where they are going anyway—at which you may be able to connect with them.



Submit Completed Engagement Tools to the Health Foundation

Did you get a chance to complete any engagement tools with your clients? Please share any completed engagement tools (copies, originals, or pdf files) via email ( or send them to the following addresses: Health Foundation for Western and Central New York (℅ Co-Creating Well-Being).

The Foundation has offices in:

  • Buffalo (726 Exchange Street, Suite 518, Buffalo, NY 14210) and

  • Syracuse (431 E. Fayette Street, Suite 250, Syracuse, NY 13202)

If you would like a pre-paid Priority Mail box for your tools, please email us at to request it.

For those of you interested in supporting the interpretation of the engagement tools, we have created a one-page resource on transcription, analysis, synthesis, and reporting. For those in the web-based track, there is also the webinar on data interpretation.

CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve reviewed and practiced all the Self-Study tools! You can now put these resources to use right away and learn more about the viewpoints of children and families who access your services!

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Start Solo

Start solo is a general process that can be used in any situation such as a meeting where two or more people are coming together to share ideas. This is a foundational approach in human-centered design to maximize the most of many minds. As you review this post, imagine how you might start solo at your next meeting

Feedback Grid

The Feedback Grid is a general tool that can be used in any situation where you are looking to get constructive feedback from two or more people.  

If you would like to share additional comments or suggestions for improvement, please send us a note about your experience at