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Exploring the disclosure decisions made by physiotherapists with a specific learning difficulty

Yeowell, G and Rooney, J and Goodwin, PC (2018) Exploring the disclosure decisions made by physiotherapists with a specific learning difficulty. Physiotherapy, 104 (2). pp. 203-208. ISSN 0031-9406

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Abstract

Objectives To explore the disclosure decisions made in the workplace by physiotherapy staff with a specific learning difficulty (SpLD). Design & Setting An exploratory qualitative design was used, which was informed by the social model of disability. The research was undertaken in North West England. It is presented according to the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research. Participants A purposive sample of eight physiotherapists recognised as having a SpLD were recruited. All participants had studied on one of two programmes at a university in England between 2004-2012. Their NHS workplace experience was from across the UK. Data generation In-depth, semi-structured interviews were undertaken within the university setting or via telephone. Interviews lasted 40–70 minutes and were digitally recorded. An interview guide was used to direct the interview. Data analysis Interview data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. Findings Four participants were female. The mean number of years qualified as a physiotherapist was 4.5 years (SD = 2.27). Three themes were identified: ‘Disclosing during the workplace application’; ‘Positive about disabled people scheme’; ‘Disclosing in the workplace’. Conclusions Disclosure of dyslexia is a selective process and is a central dilemma in the lives of individuals who have a concealable stigmatised identity. As a consequence, physiotherapy staff with dyslexia may choose to conceal their disability and not disclose to their employer. In order for staff with dyslexia to get the support they need in the workplace, disclosure is recommended. A number of recommendations have been made to facilitate the disclosure process.

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