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Concepts of cultural competency apply to more than race and ethnicity — they're relevant to any situation in which a set of congruent behaviors are required to enable work in a cross-cultural situation. This includes the practice of physical therapy with patients and clients who have mental or physical disabilities. 

Awareness of how patients’ culture and disability can affect patient outcomes is important, but PTs and PTAs can face barriers when attempting to achieve this awareness.  These obstacles can come in many forms, including language, cultural differences, and limited resources to facilitate culturally competent care.

Fortunately our understanding of how to best dismantle these barriers is growing. Here are some key baseline resources that can help you bridge cultural gaps when working with individuals with mental and/or physical differences.

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