By Leslie Rigg, CRTS
Rifton Rapport invites readers to learn how NRRTS and RESNA are combining their efforts to continue their endeavor to assure quality equipment provision for those with disabilities.
The only thing constant is change. How often have we heard that mantra. Change is again in the wind for those who provide complex rehab products.
Current designations of ATS and ATP have been reviewed by the RESNA Professional Standards Board (PSB). They feel that the current designations, which tie the credential to the roles of the professional, are not adequate representations of the professional and educational expertise intended.
The PSB has been contemplating this change for some time. Here follows a description of this change:
The new credential is currently titled ATP (Assistive Technology Professional) and is intended to designate a basic knowledge level in the area of assistive technology. The holder of this credential may be a therapist or a supplier. It would not be tied to ones work or education.
A therapist by education would still be responsible for the physical evaluation, and the supplier would still be responsible for assisting with equipment selection and fitting. The ATP designation would simply designate that these individuals have demonstrated a basic knowledge in Assistive Technology.
This would eliminate the need to provide separate exams for therapists and suppliers. A single exam testing the individual’s knowledge in the area of Assistive Technology would provide the criteria for obtaining the new ATP credential.
NRRTS has been working with RESNA to iron-out some of the details regarding this transition. This includes information and education to our membership. When initially presented, there were many questions and concerns regarding cost, credibility, professional role designations, etc.
An initial concern regarded the need for current ATS’s and ATP’s to take another exam. RESNA has indicated that all current ATS’s and ATP’s would be granted the new ATP designation with no additional fees and no additional exam requirements.
NRRTS registrants were also concerned that there be recognition for suppliers, for their skills, as different from those of the therapist. The new credential is not specific to the individual’s work. It is a measure of basic knowledge in the area of Assistive Technology. NRRTS and the designation of CRTS® remain a registry and credential for Suppliers who specialize in the provision of wheeled mobility and seating.
The change to one single exam and the new ATP (Assistive Technology Professional) also creates an opportunity for advanced certification in specific areas such as seating and wheeled mobility. An advanced certification would be more specific to the supplier’s role and expertise.
I think everyone would agree that the goal of any certification is to identify qualified professionals to prescribe and provide equipment and services in a specialty area. RESNA and NRRTS are combining efforts to meet this goal without creating undue hardships or burdens to the individual.
For those interested, in Great Britain, the British Health Trades Association is also acknowledging the importance of professional recognition to the many skilled and knowledgeable individuals providing assistive technology services.