Patients with intellectual disability and neurological handicaps associated with swallowing difficulties are vulnerable to dehydration and undernutrition. Some patients are severely undernourished, a condition which is usually associated with recurrent food aspiration and respiratory infections. Underweight patients are usually provided with adequate dietary protein by carers: their low energy intakes reflect inadequate intakes of fat and carbohydrate. Many patients gain weight following the provision of easily assimilated energy-dense fat- and sugar-containing foods. Where these measures fail, the provision of a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube may be life-saving. Optimal supervision of patients with severe nutrition/dysphagia problems requires a support network linking carers at home or in community care facilities with the primary health care team and the local district general hospital.