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Learning disabilitiesJan 29, 2021

Physio develops exercise guidance for healthcare students in bid to reach marginalised group

Thousands of healthcare students in the UK and further afield will be able to learn about strengthening their knowledge and skills on how to support people with learning disabilities, after a physiotherapist helped to update existing educational guidance.

Alistair Beverley, physiotherapy manager at Portland College – a further education college for people with physical and learning disabilities in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire – has been working with colleagues at the University of Nottingham to create new PowerPoint slides for an initiative titled Movement for Movement.


Alistair Beverley (left) wants to inspire students: with a student and colleague Craig Tait

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This was first launched in 2015 by Ann Gates, a clinical pharmacist by background and an associate professor at the University of Nottingham, who is the founder and chief executive officer of a company called Exercise Works! The company’s director is John Gates, who graduated in physiotherapy in 2014.

According to a ‘how to’ guide, dated December 2019, these resources are ‘designed to fit all aspects of an undergraduate health care curricula teaching programme’, covering areas such as ‘didactic teaching’ and ‘practice-based learning’.

They can also be used for ‘inter-professional learning’, ‘massive open online courses’, ‘placement support’, and for ‘bespoke individual lecturer/chronic disease specialty use’.

Council of Deans' endorsement

In a blog last November appearing on the website of the Council of Deans of Health, which is said to have endorsed the guidance in 2015, Ms Gates says: ‘We hope that students will also strengthen connections within and across their networks and practise "change agency" principles across their careers – from placements, to dissertations, to clinical practice and post qualification ambition.'

Ms Gates referred to a '6Cs approach to implementation'



confidence (clinical knowledge and skills)

conversations (with patients)

connections (with others)

change agency (leadership and action skills)

'This Erasmus+ part-funded and supported #MovementForMovement final resource update will be current from 2020-2025. The themes of this resource update are to strengthen the abilities of all health care students to make a difference across their career as a healthcare professional in relation to physical activity advocacy.

'This strengthening of knowledge and support for a change agency approach means that patients and society will benefit from a future workforce that is fit for purpose to deliver transformational care and change within and across societal systems.'

See: https://councilofdeans.org.uk/2020/11/launch-of-the-erasmus-movementformovement-resources/


It’s such an exciting project to be involved in. I’m a big advocate of promoting the benefits of physical activity for all [Alistair Beverley]

Lack of exercise linked to premature deaths

Mr Beverley said: ‘It’s such an exciting project to be involved in. I’m a big advocate of promoting the benefits of physical activity for all.

‘I strongly believe that there isn’t enough support out there for people with intellectual disabilities to get enough exercise. It actually leads to 44 per cent of deaths of people with intellectual disabilities dying of preventive healthcare causes in 2019. 

‘We are aiming to change values and normalise preventive health care for people with intellectual disabilities,’ said Mr Beverley, who thanked the speech and language team at his college for helping to ensure the slides would be widely accessible.

Students can influence future developments

Mr Beverley and the team behind Movement to Movement invite healthcare students to submit local examples of good practice or any ideas or evidence. Email: theldphysio@gmail.com

To find out more, visit on Twitter: #MovementForMovement

For more on Alistair Beverley, see: https://www.physioupdate.co.uk/news/destined-to-be-a-physio-alistair-beverley-speaks-out-for-people-with-learning-disabilities-a-qa

To read about Covid-19 and people with learning disabilities, see: https://www.physioupdate.co.uk/news/high-death-toll-among-people-with-learning-disabilities-raises-alarm/


Author: Ian A McMillan
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