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What are Profound Disabilities (PMLD)?

People with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities are among the most disabled individuals in our community. They have a profound intellectual disability, which means that their intelligence quotient is estimated to be under 20 and therefore that they have severely limited understanding.

Physical Disability

In addition, they have multiple disabilities, which may include impairments of vision, hearing and movement as well as other problems like epilepsy and autism. Most people in this group are unable to walk unaided and many people have complex health needs requiring extensive help. People with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities have great difficulty communicating; they typically have very limited understanding and express themselves through non-verbal means, or at most through using a few words or symbols. They often show limited evidence of intention.


Some people have, in addition, problems of challenging behaviour such as self-injury. This means that people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities need high levels of support from others with most aspects of daily living: help to eat, to wash, to dress, to use the toilet, to move about and to participate in any aspect of everyday life. Despite such serious impairments, people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities can form relationships, make choices and enjoy activities. The people who love and care for them can often understand their personality, their mood and their preferences.


profound disabilities

One or more impairments to vision, hearing or movement.

profound disabilities

Intellectual Disability 

profound disabilities

Medical Needs 

How can we help? 

People with PMLD can be as dependent in adulthood as at birth and this has huge impact on the family, both emotionally and physically. In most circumstances parents/carers act as advocates to provide a life that is ‘in their best interests’. By providing Day Opportunities, families are able to carry on with their daily lives, providing support in the home, in the community or at Days 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday. We have a bank of fully trained and experienced staff, with staggered working patterns to meet a variety of needs at a variety of times during the working day. We aim to be infinitely flexible looking to build solutions around the family that allow the individual to flourish and sustain the family unit.

Find this academic report for more information on the sector: 

Raising our sights: services for adults with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities. A report by Professor Jim Mansell (2010) Page 3.