Despite the benefits of physical activity, individuals with disabilities are not getting the same amount of activity and athletic opportunities as individuals without disabilities, says a new publication based on the proceedings of the Strategic Planning Policy Conference on Physical Activity for Students with Disabilities, which took place June 21-22. The publication promotes awareness of the importance of physical activity for people with disabilities, advocates for physical activity across the spectrum of disabilities, develops policies that are responsive to the needs of people with disabilities, and creates resources that are helpful for program development.
Physical Activity and Sport for People with Disabilities also contains an integrated strategic plan for the Inclusive Fitness Coalition (IFC) to advance school-based sports and physical activity opportunities for students with disabilities. The plan includes long- and short-term goals; target audiences; and activities related to advocacy, education, community organization/program development, and legal consultation and research.
IFC is a national coalition of more than 150 organizations dedicated to addressing the policy, environmental, and societal issues associated with the lack of inclusion and access to physical activity among people with disabilities. The conference proceedings were edited by APTA member Toby Long, PT, PhD, FAPTA.
Student loan repayment for physical therapists is 1 of APTA's legislative priorities to pursue policies to enhance the physical therapy workforce. One of the most prominent programs is through the National Health Service Corps, which is described in a new APTA podcast that outlines several loan repayment options that exist for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.
A transcript of the prerecorded podcast is available on the podcast Web page.
Legislation introduced on December 8 by Sen Susan Collins (R-ME) would add physical therapists (PTs) and occupational therapists (OTs) to the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship, which currently offers tuition assistance for physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, optometrists, psychologists, physician assistants, pharmacists, and veterinarians serving in the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
Collins had proposed the addition of PTs and OTs to the scholarship program in an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. In talking points on the amendment, which was not considered due to time limitation on debate, she said that data provided by the Department of Defense indicates there is a shortage of both PTs and OTs in the Air Force and the Navy—in active duty, reserve, civilian, and contractor positions. Collins called the inclusion of PTs and OTs an "important insurance policy against a shortfall of these medical professionals who help our wounded warriors return to living full and independent lives."
APTA is awaiting word on how the bill (S 1976) is expected to move through the legislative process.
Today, APTA launched its "12 days of Fitness" scavenger hunt contest. The goal of the holiday-themed contest is to expand Move Forward's presence on Twitter and Facebook and drive traffic to MoveForwardPT.com to learn who and what physical therapists treat and where patients can find one. At 10 am ET from December 12-23, APTA will post a clue to its consumer Twitter and Facebook pages linking new and current followers back MoveForwardPT.com to find the clue’s answer. Participants will have to watch a video or read content to find the correct answer and submit it by midnight ET. Three winners will be selected at random to receive a prize. Encourage your patients, colleagues, friends, and families to participate in the contest.
The Foundation for Physical Therapy recently announced that Keiser Corporation has joined the Partners in Research program as a Silver Level Partner. The Partners in Research program recognizes corporate donors and sponsorships that support the Foundation’s mission to provide doctoral scholarships, fellowships, and research grants to emerging physical therapist researchers.
Keiser, founded in 1976, designs, manufactures, and sells devices that individuals can use to build their strength and power.