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Content of Personalized Socioeducational Programs for Adults with Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities. The Risk of Restricting Perspectives in Adulthood

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Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities

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Supporting individuals with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) in the intricate pattern of their relationships with their physical and social environment undoubtedly represents the main challenge that faces those closely involved with them, and this applies to individuals of all ages, including adults. In an effort to find out more about the priorities applied in the support of adolescents and adults with multiple disabilities in French‐speaking Switzerland, we have analyzed the content of personalized programs (PP's) with particular attention to the long‐term objectives. The programs of 58 individuals with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (aged 16–55) were analyzed under conditions of strict anonymity. They had been selected using a stratified random sampling process. The content was analyzed in terms of theme and category in order to identify and quantify the content of the objectives and their number. The results indicate an average of 10–11 objectives per person. The number of objectives falls as the individuals reach adulthood. The programs of adolescents who attend day schools contain significantly more objectives that those of young people in residential schools. It was apparent in all the programs that less importance is attached to emotional, conceptual, and cognitive aspects. The results highlight the under‐investment in some functioning spheres and reveal a restriction of perspectives in the programs of adults with PIMD. Several interpretations are possible. Lines of action have been identified in order to support a life‐span perspective and break through the current barriers.