Assistive Technologies Research: Training for Pediatric Physical Therapists

 Pediatric physical therapists’ perceptions of their training in assistive technology.

Long TM, Perry DF.  Division of Physical Therapy, Center for Child and Human Development, Georgetown University, Box 571485, 3300 Whitehaven St NW, Suite 3300, Washington, DC 20057-1485, USA.  Phys Ther. 2008 May;88(5):629-39. Epub 2008 Mar 6.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Availability of assistive technology (AT) and federal legislation promoting greater use of AT for children with disabilities have increased substantially. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived adequacy of previous training in AT, specific training needs, preferred methods of training, and the confidence level of pediatric physical therapists in providing AT.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Three hundred eighty pediatric physical therapists responded to a survey questionnaire mailed to a random sample of members of the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association. The survey was used to determine training needs of therapists in the area of AT, their confidence in delivering AT services, preferred methods of training, and challenges in becoming trained.

RESULTS: The therapists reported having less-than-adequate training in AT and a lack of confidence in delivering AT services. They also reported that they would like accessible and affordable training that focuses on funding technology and services, knowledge of specific devices, and assessment and evaluation methods.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: The findings underscore the need to develop pre-service, in-service, and continuing education training opportunities in AT for providers working with children who have disabilities.

Training needs of pediatric occupational therapists in assistive technology.

Long TM, Woolverton M, Perry DF, Thomas MJ.  Division of Physical Therapy, Georgetown University, Center for Child and Human Development, 3300 Whitehaven Parkway NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA.  Am J Occup Ther. 2007 May-Jun;61(3):345-54.

The training of providers working with children who need assistive technology devices or services has not kept pace with the explosion of new, more sophisticated assistive technology devices now available. This article reports on a national survey of 272 pediatric occupational therapists, who responded to questions about their training needs in the area of assistive technology and delivering assistive technology services. A sizable percentage of these therapists reported less-than-adequate training in policies governing assistive technology services and the organization and function of the service system. The therapists would like training that is accessible and affordable in the areas of funding of technology and services; collaborating with families and other service providers; and accessing reliable, knowledgeable vendors. These findings underscore the need to develop pre-service and in-service training in assistive technology for providers who work with children who have disabilities.