To enable belonging: personal relationships between persons with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities in residential facilities

Saturday, November 2, 2013
First author:
Annette A.J. van der Putten
Reciprocity & Friendship II

1 Department of Special Needs Education and Child Care, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands

2 ‘s Heeren Loo Zorggroep, Amersfoort, the Netherlands

All authors:


Annette A.J. van der Putten 1,2, Aafke Kamstra 1, Carla Vlaskamp 1
personal relationships, PIMD, positioning


For persons with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD), number and frequency of non-professional social contacts is very limited, including contact with peers with PIMD. We believe belonging has to start within the small community of the living environment of a person with PIMD, and that especially contact between persons with PIMD should be enabled and stimulated. As people with PIMD need support in every aspect of their daily living, this also applies for enabling  personal  relationships between them. This is also related to the literal position  a person, being confined to a wheelchair and unable to move himself,  captures in the room.


Fifty  people with PIMD (N=50) from different settings  participated.  To observe and analyze interactions between peers, interactions are related to position: the actual placement of a person in the room.  Extension, frequency and content of observable interactions  are analyzed using the coding scheme of Nijs.


Preliminary results show that people with PIMD are placed in the same position for most of the day, meaning that they are limited in making contact with their peers, and without being given the ability to interact with peers that they favor.


Direct support staff becomes aware of the importance of social peer-relationships and the role of position in the process.