Profound and Complex Learning Disability PGDip - Distance

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Comments about Profound and Complex Learning Disability PGDip - Online

  • Objectives
    This Distance Learning Course is aimed at students who come into contact with individuals with severe or profound learning disabilities or other complex needs, and those who have a desire to gain specialized knowledge in this area. A theoretical framework is reinforced through consideration of practice related issues.
  • Entry requirements
    The course aims to promote strategies that enable individuals with learning disabilities to share the same rights, opportunities and choices as other people. This is achieved by studying a range of subjects including: -Methods of communication (including alternative and augmentative systems); -Effects of sensory loss and dysfunction; -Management of challenging behaviour; -Values and attitudes towards disability; -Issues in education from infancy through to adulthood, including Lifetime Learning; -Family issues; -Effective advocacy and -Multi-disciplinary working. Participants on this course come from a range of professional backgrounds and include Care Workers and Managers, Social Workers, Teachers, Nurses, Foster Carers, Speech and Language Therapists and Psychologists. There is an opportunity to meet other students at a yearly 4 day study school.
  • Academic title
    Profound and Complex Learning Disability PGDip
  • Course description
    Special features
    The course is distance learning and equivalent to 120 credits at M (postgraduate) level of study. Students are allocated a personal tutor to guide them through their period of study and are supported through a telephone/email tutorial system and via a dedicated internet site.   There are no formal examinations.  Postgraduate Diploma students may progress on to the MSc at the end of their first or second year of study providing they have satisfied the Board of Examiners of their ability to undertake study on a masters course.

    An October Study School forms an integral part of the course where students attend a residential study school in Manchester. The aim of the Study School is to introduce students to the concept of a person-centred approach to support and development.  The accent is on moving towards increasing choice, developing relationships, improving competence, developing community presence and participation, and increasing respect for the individual.  This approach underpins all aspects of course delivery.

    Students studying the Diploma full time attend two 4 day study schools over consequtive weekends (8 days in total).  Overseas students studying part time may also opt to attend both Study Schools in their first year. 

    Module details
    Course unit materials are studied at a distance.  Study on methods of communication and inclusion issues are compulsory.  Students study 60 credits per year (or 120 credits if they are taking the one year study route).


    -Towards Inclusion (Year One) - 15 credits
    -Communication (Year One) - 30 credits


    -Sensory Impairment - 15 credits
    -Understanding & Responding to Behavioural Challenges - 15 credits
    -Education - Infant, Child & Adult issues - 15 credits
    -Families - 15 credits
    -Leisure & Relationships Involving People with Complex Learning Disabilities - Part One and Two - 15 credits
    -Epilepsy and People with PLD and MSI - 15 credits
    -Supporting Choice 1 - The mechanisms of empowerment & choice -15 credits
    -Supporting Choice 2 - Promoting & defending choice - 15 credits
    -Working Together 1: Exploring Partnerships - 15 credits
    -Working Together 2: Partnerships Through Life - 15 credits
    -Personal and Professional Development Portfolio - 30 credits

    Course content for year 1

    Students study compulsory Course Units 'Towards Inclusion' and  'Communication' and one additional optional Course Unit in their first year. Students completing the Course in one year, take two compulsory Course Units and five optional Course Units.

    Details of the compulsory units are as follows:

    Towards Inclusion 

    This aims to explore modern approaches, policies and theories as they relate to the life experiences of people described as having profound and complex learning disabilities.  This Unit will introduce concepts such as 'community inclusion' and 'person centred planning', and will explore some of the methods, tools and ideas that assist communities to be inclusive.


    This core unit aims to promote the awareness and skills necessary for communication with children and adults with complex communication and interaction needs.  The unit studies the development of communication from its earliest stages through to symbolic interaction.  The use of assistive and augmentative communication systems is explored, alongside the relationship between communication and behaviour in people who may also have additional sensory impairments.

    Course content for year 2
    Students study four optional Course Units (60 credits).

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