POLICY ON REVIEWING REQUESTS FOR ACCOMMODATIONS UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) TO THE NATIONAL PHYSICAL THERAPIST AND PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT EXAMINATION
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines and instructions for reviewing requests for accommodations to the National Physical Therapy Examinations in order to ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities are provided the protections guaranteed to them under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Physical impairment is defined by the ADA as: Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.
Mental impairment is defined by the ADA as: Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
It is the policy of the Maryland Board of Physical Therapy (‘Board”) to approve accommodation requests when the examination candidate demonstrates he or she has a qualifying disability. The cost of the accommodation is borne by the Maryland Board. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Reconsideration of a decision is permitted if the applicant can show evidence of new or additional information that is pertinent to their prior request but was omitted from the original request. The appeal must be made within thirty days of the denial.
Confidentiality Statement – The Board and staff shall maintain confidentiality of all medical and diagnostic information and records by securely containing such records in locked file cabinets. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy shall have access to the records. The information will not be released to a third party unless a written authorization is provided by the applicant.
A request for special accommodations MUST accompany the application for licensure by examination. The following supporting documents are required, if applicable:
- Proof that the student had special accommodations during physical therapy programs studies and testing
- History of the disability: an individualized Education Plan (IEP) is NOT sufficient documentation alone, but may be considered as part of the information provided
- Identification of specific standardized and professionally recognized test/assessments given (Woodcock-Johnson, Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale) and the resulting diagnostic report that includes a diagnostic interview, assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, information processing and a diagnosis
- Diagnostic report including specific recommendations for accommodations supported by the specific test results and clinical observations, which are no more than three years old
- Document outlining the credentials of the professional providing the evaluation must include the professional’s qualifications to diagnose and treat the specified disability. Documentation is to be submitted on professional letterhead, typed signed and dated. The signature must include the evaluator’s name, title and professional credentials. The Board will accept evaluations from the following professionals:
- Licensed physicians
- Licensed psychologists who practice in the field of performing evaluations for assessing individuals for mental disorders that might impact those person’s academic or testing performance.
Board Determination: Once the individual is determined to be covered under the ADA, then the requested accommodation will be considered in terms of whether:
§ The accommodation requested will fundamentally alter the examination
§ The accommodation is appropriate to the identified need
§ The accommodation is reasonable
§ The request is within the parameters of the ADA’s requirements
TYPES OF ACCOMMODATION REQUESTS:
Requests for additional time will generally be granted at time and a half, i.e, an applicant will be allowed 6 hours to complete a 4 hour test.
Requests for separate rooms will be granted if they are available at the test site.
Individual readers or other auxiliary aids will be provided if necessary and approved.
Please complete the Applicant Special Accommodations Request Form