Identifying perception behaviours in people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities

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To support people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD), it is essential to understand how they experience their environment. Insight into perception behaviour may provide an entry point for improved understanding.

Materials and Methods

A random sample of a 30-min video registration of five participants with PIMD was used to code behaviours per second based on an ethogram containing 157 different perception behaviours in nine categories.


Eighty-nine different perception behaviours were observed, of which movements with eyes, head and arms were most common. The senses used most were seeing, hearing and touching. Finally, the function of five perception patterns was established in relation to their function:awareness, focusing attention and tension regulation.


Close observation using an observation ethogram provides insight into how people with PIMD perceive their environment.

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