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Technical Standards

Department of Physical Therapy
Texas State University


Title III of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act provides comprehensive civil rights protection for “qualified individuals with disabilities.” As defined in Texas State’s UPPS No. 07.11.01 on Disability Services, a "qualified individual with disability” is one who:

  1. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity (e.g. walking, seeing, hearing, etc.);
  2. has a record of such an impairment; or
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment.

The process of Texas State responding to the particular needs of a student with a disability includes the following steps:

  1. Documentation of the disability by providing adequate information from a licensed professional in the  Texas State Office of Disability Services (ODS), and
  2. Consultation prior to enrolling in the Program and at the beginning of each semester with ODS to determine appropriate academic accommodations, including completion of an “Accommodation Request Form” to present to the faculty members for the courses in which the student is enrolled for that semester.

The mission of the Department of Physical Therapy is dedicated to the academic and clinical education of individuals who will function as clinical problem solvers in a multiplicity of settings in which physical therapists practice. Implicit in the program’s curriculum is the development of examination, evaluative, diagnostic, and prognostic skills, therapeutic program planning and intervention implementation, the teaching-learning process, leadership and group dynamics, as well as management and research. Graduates will be prepared to not only perform their professional role in patient care, but also to provide leadership for the profession, contribute to the growth of the profession, and contribute to the health care needs of society.

Based on this mission, the Department of Physical Therapy’s intent is to educate a competent entry-level generalist who can evaluate, manage, and treat the general population of acute and rehabilitation patients in current health care settings. Enrolled students are required to successfully complete both the academic and clinical requirements of the program to receive the DPT degree. The purpose of this document is to delineate the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills deemed the minimal essential skills necessary to complete the DPT program and to perform as a competent entry-level physical therapist.

If a student cannot demonstrate the following skills and abilities, it is the responsibility of the student to request an appropriate accommodation through the Office of Disability Services.

Cognitive learning skills: the student must be able to demonstrate the following abilities:

  1. Retain and use information in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domain in order to examine and evaluate patients, solve problems and generate new ways of processing or categorizing symptoms.
  2. Perform a physical therapy examination and evaluation of a patient’s posture and movement including analysis of physical, biomechanical, pathological, behavioral, and environmental factors in a timely manner, consistent with the acceptable norms of all clinical settings.
  3. Use information to formulate and execute a plan of physical therapy management in a timely manner appropriate for the problems identified and consistent with the acceptable norms of all clinical settings.
  4. Reassess the intervention plan as needed for effective and efficient management of physical therapy problems in a timely manner, consistent with the acceptable norms of all clinical settings.

Affective learning skills: the student must be able to demonstrate the following abilities:

  1. Demonstrate appropriate affective behaviors and mental attitudes in order assure the emotional, physical, mental, and behavioral safety of patients and other individuals in the academic and clinical setting, and to be in compliance with the ethical standards of the American Physical Therapy Association.
  2. Cope with the mental and emotional rigors of a demanding educational program in physical therapy that includes academic and clinical components that occur within set time constraints and often concurrently.
  3. Acknowledge and respect individual values and opinions in order to foster harmonious working relationships with colleagues, peers and patients.

Psychomotor skills: the student must be able to demonstrate the following skills:

  1. Sit and maintain upright posture.
  2. Stand and maintain upright posture.
  3. Locomotion:
    a. Get to lecture, lab and clinical locations in a timely manner.
    b. Move within rooms as needed for changing groups, lab partners and work stations, and perform assigned clinical tasks.
  4. Manual tasks:
    a. Safely maneuver self or move another individual’s body parts to effectively perform examination techniques.
    b. Safely maneuver or move clinical equipment from side to side, forward and backward or from a lower to higher position.
    c. Manipulate common tools used for screening tests of the cranial nerves, sensation, range of motion, and muscle testing procedures (e.g. cotton balls, safety pins, reflex hammer, and goniometer).
    d. Safely and effectively guide, facilitate, inhibit, and resist movement and motor patterns though the use of facilitation and inhibition techniques, including ability to give time urgent verbal and sensory feedback.
    e. Safely move another individual’s body in transfers, gait, positioning, exercise and mobilization technique.
    f. Safely manipulate and move equipment and items to aid in the examination or intervention of a patient effectively (i.e. bolsters, pillows, plinths, mats, gait assistive devices, other supports or chairs, IV’s, monitors, etc).
    g. Competently perform CPR using guidelines issued by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross.
  5. Fine motor/hand skills:
    a. Legibly record/document exams, evaluations, diagnoses, prognoses, and progress notes, in standard medical charts in hospital/clinical settings in a timely manner and consistent with the acceptable norms of clinical settings.
    b. Legibly record thoughts for written assignments and tests.
    c. Palpate changes in an individual’s muscle tone, soft tissues, skin quality, joint play, kinesthesia, and temperature in a timely manner and sense that individual’s response to environmental changes and treatment.
    d. Apply and adjust therapeutic modalities.
    e. Apply and effectively position hands to apply soft tissue and mobilization techniques.

Other Skills: the student must demonstrate the following skills:

  1. Visual acuity:
    a. Obtain visual information from clients (e.g. movement, posture, body mechanics and gait pattern for comparison to normal standards for purposes of evaluation of movement dysfunction).
    b. Obtain visual information from treatment environment (e.g. dials on equipment, assistive devices, furniture placement, and floor surfaces).
  2. Communication skills:
    a. Effectively communicate to other students, faculty, patients, peers, staff and families to ask questions, explain conditions and procedures, teach home programs, and to maintain safety in a timely manner and within the acceptable norms of academic and clinical settings.
    b. Receive and interpret written communication in both academic and clinical settings in a timely manner.
    c. Receive and send verbal communication in life threatening situations in a timely manner within acceptable norms of clinical settings.
  3. Self-care:
    a. Maintain general good health, self-care and hygiene in order not to jeopardize the health and safety of self and individuals with which one interacts in the academic and clinical settings.
    b. Arrange transportation and living accommodations for/during off campus clinical assignments to foster timely reporting to the classroom and clinical site.
  4. Auditory:
    a. Effectively auscultate lungs, apical pulse and blood pressure.