Combination of behavioural and physiological measurements may help to better understand communication of people with profound learning disabilities


Supporting people with profound learning disabilities creates a communication challenge for those in the supporting role raising the question of how best to understand and respond when people do not use words to communicate. We have posted previously about resources available to help with this issue, for example national projects like Mencap’s Involve Me as [read the full story…]

Heart rate and skin temperature offer insights into emotions of people with profound learning disabilities


The late Jim Mansell recently identified the need for all of us supporting people with profound learning disabilities to ‘raise our sights’ in ensuring better quality support and subsequently better outcomes requires a significant amount of skill  (see Raising our Sights)  Projects like Mencap’s Involve Me offer a range of resources aiming to break down [read the full story…]

Staff did not always follow guidelines when reading multi sensory stories for people with profound and multiple disabilities

Communication Aid

Multi-sensory story telling is one way that adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities can make sense of who they are and what is happening in their day to day lives. The books used are individualised stories which, in addition to verbal text, also involve sensory stimulation. The approach is gaining in popularity, but as [read the full story…]

Receptive communication issues key in small study of adults with profound learning disabilities

Communication Aid

Difficulties  experienced by people with learning disabilities with communication can impact greatly on their ability to have control over their lives. Problems can be with receptive, expressive, or written domains. The researchers in the present study set out to look specifically at the communication difficulties faced by 204 people described as having profound learning disabilities [read the full story…]

Clear policy and procedure required to guide social interaction between support staff and people with congenital deafblindness


A recent review of literature suggested that interactions between support workers and people with learning disabilities with congenital deafblindess were lacking both in quantity and in quality. The authors of the current small study wanted to look in more detail at the perspectives of the support staff on their interactions with this group of people. [read the full story…]

Multisensory storytelling did not result in high quality staff interactivity


Storytelling has a key role to play in a development and the extension of storytelling to people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) as an individualised activity, has been increasingly undertaken emphasising the sensory experience and the potential for social interaction. The authors of this study appear generally positive to the approach, although the [read the full story…]

Involve Me: Increasing the involvement of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) in decision-making and consultation

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People with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) are some of the most excluded in society. The recent guidance from the Department of Health (Raising our sights) suggested that services could do much better in involving people with PMLD in decision making. The Involve Me project (a partnership between the Renton Foundation, Mencap and BILD) [read the full story…]

Lack of effective services for young people with challenging behaviour at transition tends to increase protectiveness of parents


There is very little available in the literature that focuses on the perspectives of families caring for someone with severe or profound learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. This ethnographic study aimed to improve understanding of the experiences and perspectives of families, in particular mothers, of young people with these complex needs. The researcher carried out [read the full story…]

Meta analysis of treatments for self injurious behaviour finds statistically significant effects

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Recognising that self injurious behaviour in people with profound and multiple disabilities usually has important negative consequences for people concerned, this meta-analysis set out to examine the effectiveness of the treatments currently being offered. The authors looked at single-case studies which investigated non-aversive, non-intrusive forms of reinforcement, combining these using hierarchical linear models. They discovered [read the full story…]

Thematic organisation of activities did not improve quality for people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities.


The idea of organising activities thematically has been developed in the Netherlands. The expected outcomes of this approach have been suggested as the provision of more activities with greater variety along with more attention offered to each individual person. 23 attendees of one day centre took part in a study of this new approach. The [read the full story…]