Physical therapists can and should make “considerable efforts” to advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities in their own profession, according to a new briefing paper from the World Confederation for Physical Therapy.
The briefing paper calls for positive attitudes and support from peers, educators and employers – and a wider acceptance of individuals with different functioning abilities in the community at large. Access to Physical Therapy Education and Practice for People with Disabilities has been published in response to a WCPT General Meeting motion, encouraging a disability rights-based approach to educational access and professional support. Compiled by a project team and expert advisory group, the paper reports on the findings of a survey of WCPT’s member organisations, gathering information about the education and practice of physical therapists with disabilities. It also includes a literature review on disability, education, employment and practice.
The information and resources are designed to support WCPT member organisations and their members implement inclusive policies that are in keeping with international guidelines and statutes. “As physical therapists we manage our patients/clients with disabilities really well and have a strong focus on prevention,” said Margot Skinner, WCPT Vice President and a member of the document’s advisory group. “But there is room for improvement in our attitude to accepting disability in our own profession.”