APTA Applauds Passage of Bill to Protect People With Disabilities

ALEXANDRIA, VA, Sept 18, 2008 - The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) applauds the final passage by Congress of the "ADA Amendments Act" (S. 3406) this week, legislation that strengthens legal protection for people with disabilities against discrimination in employment, transportation, and public accommodations.

The US House of Representatives gave its final approval on Wednesday following Senate approval last week, and President Bush is expected to sign the bill, which is intended to restore the original intent of provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

APTA President R Scott Ward, PT, PhD, said, "People with disabilities share the same rights as all other individuals to have access to and opportunities for full economic, social, and personal development. We are heartened that this important legislation will champion these rights for the patients we treat each and every day."

The legislation expands the definition of disability and makes it easier for workers to prove discrimination. It explicitly rejects the strict standards used by the Supreme Court to determine who is disabled.

APTA actively supported passage of the legislation as part of a broad coalition of patient and provider organizations. In addition, the APTA House of Delegates has determined that APTA shall advocate for full inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life and within the profession and that APTA will promote education regarding the ADA Accessibility Guidelines and implementation of the ADA.

Physical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and manage individuals of all ages, from newborns to elders, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan of care using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

APTA (www.apta.org) is a national organization representing physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students nationwide. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapist education, practice, and research. Consumers can visit www.findapt.us to find a physical therapist in their area, as well as www.apta.org/consumer for physical therapy news and information.