Academics / Academic Programs / Doctor of Physical Therapy

Technical Standards And Reasonable Accomodation

Physical therapy is an intellectually, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. In addition to the abilities described below, those required to practice safely are described in accreditation standards for the physical therapy program. Candidates for the degree must be able to meet these minimum standards for successful completion of degree requirements.

Technical Standards

Observation

Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing, and somatic sensations. A student must be able to participate in lecture and laboratory demonstrations, observe a patient accurately, and observe digital and waveform readings and other graphic images to determine a patient’s condition.

Communication

Communication includes speech, language, reading, writing, and computer literacy. Students must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients to elicit information regarding mood and activities, as well as perceive nonverbal communications. Students must also be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with other members of the health care community to convey information essential for safe and effective care.

Sensory and motor function

Students are required to possess motor skills sufficient to directly perform palpation, auscultation, muscle testing, range-of-motion, and other examination procedures. Students must be able to execute motor movements required to provide general and therapeutic care—such as positioning heavy and/or immobile patients, gait training using therapeutic aids and orthotics, positioning and performing manual mobilization techniques, performing non-surgical wound debridement, and placing electromyography electrodes. These skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium, and the integrated use of touch and vision.

Intellectual abilities

To effectively solve problems, students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, and synthesize information in a timely fashion. The student must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient’s history and examination findings to develop an effective treatment program.

Behavioral and social attributes

A student must possess the psychological ability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities, for the exercise of good judgment, for the prompt completion of all responsibilities inherent to diagnosis and care of patients, and for the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Students must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility, and function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. Students must demonstrate ethical behavior both in the classroom and during clinical experiences.

Reasonable Accommodation

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the admissions process does not require disclosure of a disability.  However, all enrolled students must be capable of meeting the technical standards for the academic and clinical education components of the DPT program. These technical standards are necessary for full participation in the curriculum and it is expected that students will function independently, which generally means, without the aid of an intermediary, to achieve proficiency in all curricular areas. Applicants and students should review the technical standards for the DPT program carefully.  A student who has a disability may request reasonable accommodations. If, due to a disability, you feel you may require accommodations in order to complete the curriculum, it is essential that you work with the BU Office of Disability Services to discuss possible accommodations.