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Learning Disability and Autism

Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD)

What is PMLD?

Children and adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities have a combination of disabilities. They all have severe learning disabilities and the majority of people with PMLD also have severe physical disabilities and complex health needs. Some children and adults with PMLD will also have sensory impairments, and or mental health difficulties.

This means that their intellectual and social functioning will be extremely delayed. Individuals with PMLD will have a limited ability to engage verbally or use other formal methods of communication but will respond to others and their environment using voice, touch, behaviour and physical symptoms. Therefore each individual’s communication is unique and will be understood by those who know that individual well.

The combination of disabilities and their severity will differ from one individual to another and it is therefore important that each person and their needs are seen as unique and are responded to focusing on what matters to that individual.

It is very difficult to recognise if a person with PMLD also has a mental health condition. Very often that person will indicate through their behaviour or emotions that they are unhappy, anxious or in pain. Because understanding their communication is based on interpreting their emotions or behaviour the first line of response is to make sure that there is no physical reason causing the change of emotion or behaviour – for example tooth ache, impacted bowel, change in medication.

Based on work undertaken by the PMLD special interest group in Hull there are approximately 80 adults in Hull with PMLD. Although a small group, because of the complexity of their needs they are likely to extensively use health services both in the community and in hospital.

Assessment of Care Needs

If you are caring for someone with PMLD who requires an assessment of care needs then you should contact the Hull City Council See and Solve team. The See and Solve team will take the person you care for and your details at which point they will pass your information onto one of our care co-ordinators, who will be able to support you with an assessment of care needs.

You can contact the See and Solve team via-

If you care for someone with PMLD you will also be entitled to complete a carer’s assessment.

Find out more about carers registration

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