For many years now, the profession of “physiotherapist” has been an excellent career option for people with visual impairments and other disabilities. They undergo training and successfully complete it, receiving a qualification. Employment of physical therapists is expected to grow 18% by 2029.
Let’s break down 6 tips for people with disabilities looking to start a career as a physical therapist.
Definition and responsibilities
A physical therapist in the United States is a paramedical specialty that aims to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities, in particular, improving the functioning of the musculoskeletal system, nervous, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems, as well as psycho-emotional status.
For work, manual and hardware therapy is used, as well as exercise complexes aimed at positive dynamics.
Training, license, and practice
To become a practicing physical therapist in the United States, you must complete a three-year training program at a school of physiotherapists, pass exams, and obtain a license. The DPT professional program includes the study of more than 15 disciplines, knowledge of which is necessary for practice. 80% of the curriculum is in classroom and laboratory classes, the remaining 20% is in clinical education. Before completing school, you must complete an internship, which takes an average of 27 weeks.
Before starting a practice, disabled people must pass a commission that will assess the skills and knowledge gained during training, as well as test professional health. Certain psychiatric disorders and disabilities can prevent you from continuing to practice. The decision to determine the suitability for the provision of physiotherapeutic treatment of patients is made exclusively by the commission and is considered individually.
Rules for admission to the DPT program
Admission to physiotherapy school often requires a bachelor’s degree from the applicant. Some educational institutions offer their own training format, where you will study for 3 years in preparatory courses in your specialty, and then you will master the profession for another 3 years.
All medical schools are required to accept applicants with disabilities and help them become specialists. For them, special programs and conditions are organized, both within the walls of the educational institution and at the place of further work.
The only rule is that before entering a medical school, all applicants with mental or physical disabilities should consult with a doctor to determine the need to make adjustments to the curriculum or work program. Also, at the consultation, the complexity of the disability is determined, so, with some diseases, it will not work to enter the school of physiotherapists.
In the event of a disability during training or practice, students/specialists have every right to continue their path. The only thing is that a medical examination is carried out, according to the results of which it is possible to introduce some adjustments in the process of obtaining an education or passing an internship. In case of incapacity with the prerequisites for retirement, the decision on its appointment is made by a profile doctor.
6 tips for a person with a disability to become a physical therapist
No. 1. No need to be afraid.
Physiotherapists with disabilities have a very important advantage – they better understand their patients, which means they can help them more effectively. Their status most often does not interfere with their competence, so they are able to do their job to the fullest. The only negative is that it is more difficult for them to get a job. Today, there are programs to improve the employment of physical therapists with disabilities.
No. 2. Developing qualities and skills
It is very important for a physical therapist to have the following skills and qualities:
● calmness and caring attitude towards each patient;
● organization in work and communication;
● commitment to practical medicine;
● ability to listen;
● using a psychological approach in solving patients’ problems;
● ability to motivate and provide support at every stage of treatment.
No. 3. Restrictions are not a sentence
Physiotherapy school applicants do not have a legal obligation to declare their disability during their studies. But the educational program began to reward its students with disabilities. Some schools provide benefits, financial assistance, and adjust the educational process specifically for the student.
No. 4. Use all sources of education
Today, many sources are available for education: e-books and lectures, live or on-demand webinars, even video conference materials are exhibited in some sources. Use them to gain new knowledge and keep up with the times.
No. 5. Don’t be afraid to be innovative
You can create your own treatment methods for your wards, based on personal experience and programs of other specialists. Study as much as possible so that your practice is effective.
Use PT software to manage your clients and deliver physiotherapy workouts. It can save you time and increase your effectiveness with clients by keeping them on track with their exercises.
No. 6. Remote practice
Everything changes and new remote work tools and innovations in the world of medicine appear every day. So, today you can practice via a telehealth solution for physiotherapists. The benefits of an online appointment are undeniable, both for the physician with disabilities and for his patient. A lot of exercises can be done online under the strict guidance and supervision of a paramedic, while everyone remains within the home walls of their homes. It also has a positive effect on the psycho emotional state of the patient, because he feels safe.
Every year the percentage of applicants with disabilities entering physiotherapy schools is increasing. Professionals with disabilities understand their patients much better and are more involved in improving their quality of life. To become a physiotherapist, it is enough to graduate from school with the necessary skills.
Due to the loyalty of the education system in different countries to students with disabilities, the educational program is almost the same as the standard one. Only separate items have been introduced into it to ensure the convenience of training specifically for different groups of disabilities.