How to use this guidance to support disabled learners

As a profession rooted in enablement and inclusivity, physiotherapy has a long history of supporting individuals and communities to achieve their goals and maximise their choices and independence

With this in mind, there is no reason why physiotherapy careers should be inaccessible to disabled learners. A positive and compassionate mindset, together with careful planning and a flexible and adaptable approach ensures that disabled learners will be able to participate in the educational experience and go on to enhance the profession in practice.

The CSP acknowledges the social model of disability. People are disabled by the attitudes of other people and by the barriers society puts in their way. We reflect this in how we write about disability and the language we use.

In line with the social model, unless referring to an individual who has informed us they identify under a different term, we use identity-first language such as ‘disabled person/people’ and 'a person with an impairment/people with impairments' within our communications.

Our equity, diversity and belonging glossary can help with this.

Why does any of this matter?

It matters because

  • The profession is broad and flexible enough to embrace physiotherapists and support workers from every background and with any and every protected characteristic. Everyone should be enabled to belong and thrive.
  • Individuals and communities should be able to see themselves reflected in the practitioners who work alongside them to transform their health and wellbeing through physiotherapy.
  • Diversity and difference bring innovation creativity and change within the profession, services, and teams, benefitting the patients and populations we support.

It becomes even more important that as healthcare professionals bound by a professional body’s code of values and behaviours as well as a regulator, HCPC for physiotherapists, that we challenge our own assumptions and the lens through which we practise

This resource has been co-created by the CSP, members, learners and educators to help you to support the next generation of physiotherapists. Navigate through the resource to find ideas and illustrations, case studies and useful links. And remember, these are just ideas and signposts – each learner is an individual and there is a need to work collaboratively to find what works for them.

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