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  • 'Back to normal' not the answer for people living with disability

    Author: Nicole Madigan

The Australian Physiotherapy Association has called against a return to normal for people with disabilities, particularly when it comes to accessing physiotherapy.

The world recently celebrated the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD); at the same time the APA is implementing improved disability support training for its members, continuing its ongoing commitment to inclusion for people living with disability.

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Alongside its advocacy work to promote access to physiotherapy services in the health care system, the APA launched two free online courses earlier this year for physiotherapists.

The courses, also available to other allied health professionals, are designed to build confidence in disability management.

APA National President Scott Willis said that while the world was returning to a form of normality post-COVID, the needs of those living with disability must be considered.


Medical Officer- Rehabilitation
St Vincent's Private Hospital Northside
Human Resources Advisor
St Vincent's Hospital
Registered Nurse/Clinical Nurse (Accident and Emergency Department)
SA Health, Flinders & Upper North Local Health Network

"Physiotherapy supports people living with disability to improve their function, build capacity, enhance participation and increase economic and social inclusion in the community,” he said.

While the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a part of a world-leading health system providing much-needed support to people living with disability, Mr Willis said we could still do much better.

“The NDIS is an amazing reform that has changed the lives of many, with a ground-breaking outlook focusing on empowering participants to work towards achieving their goals,” Mr Willis said.

Backed by more than 30,000 members, equitable access to high-value physiotherapy for people living with disability was at the core the APA’s mission.

“Unfortunately, the disability sector reports a lack of coverage for many persons living with disability, and mainstream and community support services remain unintegrated and unavailable," he said.

“Ensuring that people with disability have access to the physiotherapy services they need, wherever they are, must be a priority of all levels of government.

"The theme for IDPD 2021 was “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.

”Let’s not go back to ‘normal’, let’s work towards ‘much better’, with inclusion and participation for everyone,” Mr. Willis urged.


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Nicole Madigan

Nicole Madigan is a widely published journalist with more than 15 years experience in the media and communications industries.

Specialising in health, business, property and finance, Nicole writes regularly for numerous high-profile newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Before moving into freelance writing almost a decade ago, Nicole was an on-air reporter with Channel Nine and a newspaper journalist with News Limited.

Nicole is also the Director of content and communications agency Stella Communications ( and a children's author.