Building Bridges: Physical Therapy and
Inclusive Education in Interprofessional Collaboration
Francis Clarence C Chua*, Lordman Gregor D Aldoz, Chester Marc B Cariaga, Jeffreel M Concepcion and Kriza G Ganotisi
Mariano Marcos State University, Philippines
Submission: March 27, 2023; Published: May 10, 2023
*Corresponding author: Francis Clarence C Chua, College of Health Sciences, Mariano Marcos State University, Ilocos Norte, Philippines
How to cite this article: Francis Clarence C C, Lordman Gregor D A, Chester Marc B C, Jeffreel M C, Kriza G G.Building Bridges: Physical Therapy and
Inclusive Education in Interprofessional Collaboration. Glob J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2023; 11(5): 555822. DOI:10.19080/GJIDD.2023.11.555822
Inclusive education is an approach to education in which learners with various disabilities and learning needs are educated in courses alongside learners without disabilities . It entails providing learning opportunities for all students by changing the system to fit the student . It can have an immense effect on learners with disabilities because it may boost their academic and social development and skills, improve their self-esteem and well-being, allow them to be more participative, and providing them with the opportunity to attain their full potential.
Interprofessional collaboration (IPC) refers to the shared learning between health disciplines guided by qualities like respect and trust . It is the process of healthcare professionals from different disciplines working together to provide care for patients . This collaboration involves a team approach to care, mutual respect, effective communication, and shared decision-making among team members to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.
However, IPC is not exclusive to healthcare professionals, and it can also be performed between healthcare and teaching professionals. For example, it may involve rehabilitation professionals such as physical therapists working together with inclusive education teachers to support the development of learners with disabilities and ensure that they receive the necessary support to achieve their academic and social goals, and to create inclusive learning environments that meet the diverse needs of all students.
The process of physical therapy, which includes rehabilitation and habilitation, involves helping a child move or use their body in a healthier way . It may positively impact the physical performance of learners with disabilities, especially those with impairments in mobility, balance, and coordination. Given the benefits of physical therapy towards learners with disabilities, it may be important to discuss the nuances when it comes to the IPC between physical therapists and inclusive education teachers towards learners with disabilities.
IPC is an important aspect of providing inclusive education to learners with disabilities. Effective IPC requires that all professionals involved in a learner’s health and education communicate with each other about their progress, strengths, needs, and any other relevant information . This includes the collaboration between rehabilitation team members such as a physical therapist and the teaching staff such as an inclusive education teacher.
Several arguments exist towards proving the positive impact of IPC between physical therapists and inclusive education teachers for learners with disabilities, especially to create a more inclusive environment for them.
Collaboration between physical therapists and inclusive education teachers may be crucial for promoting the educational and developmental needs of learners with disabilities as well as help to address their complex needs. By working collaboratively, physical therapists and inclusive education teachers can also
provide support to families and help to enhance the overall quality
of life for the learners, especially since all professionals involved
with the learner share the responsibility of ensuring that parents
are aware of their rights and encouraged to be active participants
in program planning for their children .
IPC also promotes shared learning and professional
development among physical therapists and inclusive education
teachers. This can lead to a better understanding of each other’s
roles and responsibilities.
Including physical therapists within inclusive education
schools is crucial for promoting the development of learners
with disabilities. Physical therapists can provide guidance to
teachers on the specific physical needs of individual students
and design programs to support them. This can help teachers
understand the physical abilities and limitations of their students,
which can ensure that students are not excluded from activities
due to physical limitations. Moreover, physical therapists can
train teachers on intervention strategies that can be used inside
classrooms to support the physical development of their learners.
Lastly, collaboration between physical therapists and teachers
can lead to improved communication in the education of a learner
with disability, ensuring that they receive consistent support and
that everyone is working towards the same goals.
Inclusive education teachers can guide physical therapists
about a learner’s daily routine, activities, and performance in
the classroom. This information can help physical therapists
to tailor their interventions and treatment plans to the specific
needs of each learner. Teachers can also provide feedback on a
learner’s progress, which can help physical therapists to modify
their interventions and ensure that they are effective. This can
also help to ensure that physical therapy goals are aligned with
academic goals and that therapy interventions are integrated into
the learner’s daily routine. Furthermore, collaboration between
physical therapists and teachers can promote the dissemination of
therapy skills to the classroom so that teachers can also reinforce
the skills that learners learn in physical therapy sessions, which
can help students to apply those skills in other contexts.
While IPC is important for promoting inclusive education,
several challenges are associated with IPC between physical
therapy and inclusive education teachers. These challenges can
include differences in professional cultures, lack of understanding
of each other’s roles and responsibilities, and communication
Also, despite the field of education recognizing the importance
of IPC, faculties of education have yet to formally address IPC as
part of their programming. One reason for this oversight is that
faculties of education are often siloed environments, focusing
solely on teaching [4, 8].
A lack of support from the school towards the promotion
of teamwork and collaboration can negatively impact the
development of IPC within schools . Additionally, the same
lack of support or attention from governing agencies such as
local government units on disability-inclusive initiatives is also
considered a challenge.
To address these challenges, it is important to provide training
and education on IPC, enhance information sharing, develop
guidelines, assign a focal person , and involving the parents
can help to enhance IPC and promote the development of effective
strategies for supporting the needs of learners with disabilities.
Physical therapists and inclusive education teachers both play
important roles in addressing student-related needs. Physical
therapists assess and treat physical impairments that may
impact a learner’s mobility or independence. Inclusive education
teachers create inclusive learning environments that support the
needs of learners with disabilities. By collaborating together, they
can provide support that meets the unique needs of each learner.
In terms of program-related needs, physical therapists could
work with inclusive education teachers in promoting inclusivity
and accessibility in schools by modifying environmental barriers,
establishing accessibility guidelines, promoting acceptance and
inclusivity, and developing safety procedures.
Inclusive education provides opportunities for learners
with disabilities to achieve their full potential, and IPC between
physical therapists and inclusive education teachers is crucial
for promoting the educational and developmental needs of these
learners. However, challenges must be addressed to improve
its implementation. Overall, physical therapists and inclusive
education teachers both play important roles in meeting the
unique needs of each learner, and their collaborative efforts can
create inclusive learning environments that support the physical,
cognitive, and social needs of all students.
Abarca PB, Ababa AC, Pacho JQ, Pasion CC, Taclay CD, et al. (2021) Perception of MMSU Physical Therapy Students and Faculty Members on their Readiness for Interprofessional Education [bachelor’s thesis, Mariano Marcos State University].