Supporting disabled learners: professional and regulatory expectations

Higher education institutes and educators have a responsibility to support reasonable adjustments for disabled learners

Developing an inclusive approach is about more than simple compliance, there is a professional responsibility to actively support and enable reasonable adjustments in everything from how applicants are supported through admissions, to how programmes enable participation in learning and placement experiences, right through to graduation. 

The CSP’s code of members professional values outlines expectations for members to: 

  • 2.3 Fulfil their responsibilities within relevant professional and social contexts 
  • 3.1.6 Behave in non-discriminatory, non-oppressive ways. 
  • 3.4.4 Support and enable others to practice within their individual scope of practice 

It is not acceptable to suggest that long-term conditions or impairments might rule out the possibility of a professional qualification.

The measure for admission to a pre-registration degree course should be the extent to which the person can perform the essential competencies and demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours required of the profession given the proper support.  

Watch disabled physiotherapy students discussing disclosing their disability

The HCPC do not see having a long-term condition or impairment as a barrier to becoming a physiotherapist and their guidance document provides information for disabled people when applying to approved programmes. It also outlines guidance for university admissions staff when considering applications. 

Education providers may sometimes ask learners and people applying for places on a training course to have an occupational health assessment to help them identify how they can best support that person during their programmes. The HCPC states that applicants to the register,  

‘ not need to disclose any [long-term condition or impairments] if it does not affect the ability to practice safely, or the applicant knows they are able to adapt, limit or stop their practice if it does so.’ 

They go on to add, ‘… as long as registrants manage their health condition [or impairment] appropriately and have insight into and understanding of their long-term condition, this will not prevent them from registering with us.’ 

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