Simple ideas that work : Celebrating development in persons with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities

Bullen, Ann ; Luger, Rosemary ; Prudhomme, Debbie ; Geiger, Martha (2018-06-05)

CITATION: Bullen, A. et al. 2018. Simple ideas that work : celebrating development in persons with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities. African Journal of Disability, 7(0):a273, doi:10.4102/ajod.v7i0.273.

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The purpose of this article is to share some lessons learnt by an interdisciplinary therapy team working with persons with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD), implemented in diverse, low-income contexts over a period of 8 years. Objectives: The objective of all the activities described here was to provide increased stimulation and development opportunities for persons with PIMD within different settings (day care centre, residential centre or family home). Method: We used an iterative action-learning approach where we applied existing evidence in the given context, reflected on and adapted strategies in collaboration with stakeholders on a cyclical basis. We focussed on achieving our objectives through ongoing hands-on training of the carers involved with the clients as we felt that by providing them with the knowledge and skills needed, plus ongoing support, these programmes would be more sustainable. Findings: It took some time to put systems in place in care settings, but once they became part of the daily routine, they provided increased opportunities for learning for clients with PIMD. In addition, there were often marked changes in individual clients’ communicative and physical functioning, which in turn encouraged carers to find new and different ways to interact with, and stimulate, the persons with PIMD in their care. Conclusion: Our hope is that parents and carers or professionals working in the field of PIMD in low-income contexts elsewhere may find one, some or all of these simple ideas useful in providing opportunities for learning, development and enjoyment for persons with PIMD.

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