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Services for disabled students and employees in five allied health professions: the UK experience

Services for disabled students and employees in five allied health professions: the UK experience

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Services for disabled students and employees in five allied health professions: the UK experience

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  1. Services for disabled students and employees in five allied health professions: the UK experience Colloque de l’AQICESH Universitédu Québec à Montréal June 6th – 8th 2012 Presenters: Jane Owen Hutchinson and Karen Atkinson Allied Health Professions Support Service

  2. Introductions • Jane Owen Hutchinson, Manager Allied Health Professions Support Service (AHPSS) • Karen Atkinson, Manager AHPSS Resource Centre, Senior Lecturer, University of East London

  3. Context • In the UK, disabled people: • are half as likely as non-disabled people to be qualified to degree level • twice as likely as non-disabled people to have no qualifications • continue to experience high rates of unemployment (50% compared to 79%) • In 2009 42.4% of disabled graduates were in full-time employment compared with 46.2% of non-disabled graduates (AGCAS 2011) • This indicates that the role of higher education is vital in enabling disabled people to realise their potential in terms of employment

  4. AHP Educational Context • Majority of programmes are 3 year BSc (Hons) degrees • Increasing number of accelerated 2 year Pre Registration MSc courses • Less part time opportunities • Universities generally becoming more inclusive

  5. Educational Context • Significant proportion of the education of health care professionals takes place in the clinical setting • Clinical placements – educational experiences very variable for all students

  6. AHPSS • AHPSS supports disabled students and employees in the following professions throughout the UK: • Dietetics • Occupational Therapy • Physiotherapy • Podiatry • Speech and Language Therapy • Significant barriers are still encountered

  7. AHPSS Mission Our mission is to challenge disability by delivering a service that promotes equality of opportunity by: • empowering disabled healthcare students and employees to overcome the barriers they encounter within the educational and employment environments • raising awareness of disability issues to support educators, clinicians and employers to promote best practice within education and employment settings • enabling an inclusive approach to disabled health care students and employees

  8. Our Resource Centre

  9. Resources • Funded by DH – has enabled us to provide essentially free services to all UK based clients • Peripatetic • Advice and guidance • Employment preparation • Advice on inclusive educational practice • Staff training sessions - in HE and the clinical context • One to one support for disabled AHP students and employees • Consultancy services to employers, Professional/Voluntary Organisations and Disability Services Teams

  10. Research • Transition from HE to NHS for Visually Impaired Physiotherapists • Experiences of Physiotherapy Practice Educators: Supporting Disabled Students

  11. Barriers • Lack of awareness of disability issues • Lack of awareness/availability of resources and sources of support • Stereotyping, discrimination, prejudice and stigmatisation • Fear and anxiety: • Staff don’t know what to do to support, don’t want to offend • Applicants think that if they disclose their disability they will not be successful

  12. Barriers: contributing factors • Inadequate communication • Reluctance to disclose • Variable student engagement • Failure to implement reasonable adjustments • Human and financial resources • Attitudinal issues

  13. Inadequate communication

  14. “…disclosure’s not something I’m very good at especially because a lot of people don’t believe me, and because I don’t look like I’ve got a disability...I can get away with looking completely normal” Reluctance to disclose “I had to say ‘I’m visually impaired’ …I hated it…it just used to grate on me every single time I said it because I thought why should I have to tell it to somebody?”

  15. A student does not even consider himself to be disabled A student contacts and visits the clinical area in advance and organises all necessary adjustments Variable student engagement A student goes onto placement with no support and has issues with time management, organisation and documentation

  16. “what I had agreed with my tutor was that I was always going to be somewhere that was on a bus route or on a train route - easily accessible. I don’t think they ever took that into consideration...” “in terms of computer access I was limited because I couldn’t read what was on the screen” Failure to implement reasonable adjustments “..I was told that there wasn’t any other assistant available…I’d have to go it alone…and it was a case of oh well you’re just going to have to cope”

  17. Human and financial resources

  18. One clinical manager formally asked the programme to stop recruiting disabled students as they “could not be fit for practice” “For no reason at all they said I couldn’t walk around the school without being accompanied…” Attitudinal issues “the best I got was I’ll get that done, I’ll do it sometime…so you end up not getting a lot of information …this is incredibly frustrating”

  19. Thank youAny Questions?

  20. Contact details • Jane Owen Hutchinson • Manager, AHPSS • Mobile: 07748 657457 • Email: jane.owenhutchinson@rnib.org.uk • Karen Atkinson • Manager, AHPSS Resource Centre • Tel: +00 44 208 223 4950 • Mobile: 07918197995 • Email: k.a.atkinson@uel.ac.uk