The Needs Of People With Severe Disabilities

“There’s no greater disability in society, than an inability to see a person as more” – Robert M. Hensel.

People with severe and profound disability are the most vulnerable among disabled persons. Often they are persons with multiple disability, with a severe or profound intellectual disability associated to a motor and/or sensorial disability, causing a restriction of autonomy as well as of perception, expression and relating capacities. These restrictions cause complex needs and the danger of social exclusion from society.

For these persons, communication and relating to other persons are the most difficult questions and determine their quality of life. Their physical and mental well-being are connected, as the physical well-being is necessary to be open for relationships and learning. The physical well-being depends on the satisfaction of basic needs: hunger, thirst, sleep, and mental comfort. Persons with severe and profound disability often have difficulties to satisfy these needs themselves and often do not have the verbal language to express themselves. Thus they depend on the capacity of their contact persons to decipher their expressions by other means.

A thorough and continous observation is necessary to understand the minute signs of these persons. This can only be ensured by long-term contact persons like family members or staff who have received training in non-verbal communication methods. Everyone has also the right to a mental well-being. People need to be respected, in particular in their privacy. Persons with severe and profound disability need to be listened to, to be informed of any change in their life, of any decision affecting their daily existence. They need to be recognized as persons.

Language is very important for social life. Even if a person is de-prived of language, he or she needs to be included in all communication. If this does not happen, a psychosomatic reaction may occur, for instance that a person gets an ulcer or a depression if a change in his or her life has not been sufficiently explained. Behavioural difficulties may also be simply the reaction to a mental suffering that the contact persons have not noticed.

This difficult communication needs time and, consequently, a stable environment. This is one of the key factors for a person with complex dependency needs to be really recognized as a person and not reduced to a body that needs care.

Knowledge is power!

Subscribe now and get instant access to our entire library and all future updates!

Send Us A Message

Quick Contact

Quick Contact