Rainbow Centre Training & Consultancy

Understanding and Working with Children and Young People on the Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) Spectrum

Recommend course:


This 2-day workshop will explore theoretical and practical issues in working with children with severe autism and/or children with severe physical disabilities requiring high support, also known as Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD). We will take a fresh and up-to-date look at what might (and might not) be appropriate as educational models for this group of children.

Participants will be involved in a pre-workshop task. Prior to workshop commencement, each participant will put together an authentic case of working with a child with PMLD and this will be analysed throughout the 2 days*.


Key Areas

 Day One

  • Putting the horse in front of the cart. Why are we teaching what we’re teaching?
  • The Triad of Educational Essentials - pedagogy, curriculum, assessing pupil progress (APP) and their relationship to each other.
  • Defining PMLD and the effects of accepting a pedagogical model based on neuro-typical, conventionally developing learners.
  • Process Based and Skills Based teaching and learning.
  • Exploring the elements of a dynamic yet workable PMLD curriculum.
  • The PMLD Curriculum. What are we trying to achieve?
  • Current PMLD curriculum models.
  • What ‘subjects’ might we teach those with PMLD and what does learning about a ‘subject’ mean for someone with PMLD.
  • Exploring areas of a PMLD Curriculum that might be suitable for all pupils with PMLD across all key stages particularly focussing on (i) an introduction to Intensive Interaction (ii) a understanding of sensory profiling (ii) the nature of pupil/student voice and agency (iv) the concept of children and young people who PMLD 'living in the moment' and the consequences on curriculum development.


Day Two

  • A review of Day 1.
  • Overview of P scales and principles in its construct
  • Focussing on learning as a holistic experience.
  • Overview of Routes for Learning and the Engagement Scales. Exploring the nature of both linear and lateral development.
  • Fitting in personalised learning and teaching to broad ability groups.
  • Questioning the concept of ‘broad and balanced’ as a model suitable for all learners.
  • Putting together an action plan.