Severe and/or Multiple Disabilities

What are severe and/or multiple disabilities?

The terms severe and/or multiple disabilities are used for individuals with severe or profound mental retardation with additional impairments. These individuals have the most severe physical, cognitive, and communication impairments. People in this category not only have two or more coexisting impairments, but they generally need extensive support across a number of skill areas.

What are the characteristics of severe and/or multiple disabilities?

Individuals with severe and/or multiple disabilities display a wide range of characteristics. However, there are some areas in which these individuals typically share.

  • Limited speech or communication
  • Difficulty in basic physical mobility
  • Tendency to forget skills through disuse
  • Trouble generalizing skills from one situation to another
  • A need for support in major life activities (e.g., domestic, leisure, community use, and vocational)

Where can I go for more information?

Information Sheets