Communicating with people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD)

An introduction to communicating with people with PMLD


Many people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) do not communicate using formal communication like speech, symbols or signs. But this does not mean that they can't communicate. People communicate in many different ways. Communication is a basic human right and we need to make sure that everyone's way of communicating is valued.

However, parents and professionals have told us that the communication needs of people with PMLD are often not being met, as many people supporting and working with people with PMLD don't understand how they communicate.

She communicates through hand gestures, making noises and facial expressions.

This information is an introduction to communicating with people with PMLD. It explains how people with PMLD communicate and gives examples of some of the non-formal communication methods which people can use when working with people with PMLD. It also contains useful information about additional resources and support that are available. Look for this sign - What next? - for things you can do.


 

Mencap Involve me training

Learn best practice approaches and develop new techniques to increase the involvement of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities in consent and decision making.

What does profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) mean?

All children and adults with PMLD need high levels of support with most aspects of daily life.

What is communication?

Communication can mean many different things.

How do people with PMLD communicate?

Communicating with facial expressions, vocal sounds and body language.

Different ways of communicating with people with PMLD

There are a number of different ways of communicating with people with PMLD in everyday life.

The best environments in which to communicate

Find out more about multi-sensory environments.

Top tips for communicating with people with PMLD

Read our top tips for communicating with people with PMLD.

Further help

Further help, information and advice for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.