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RESNA, US Rehab guide prospective ATPs

RESNA, US Rehab guide prospective ATPs

Andrea Van HookYARMOUTH, Maine – RESNA and U.S. Rehab lifted the lid on a new ATP Guidance Program at the VGM Heartland Conference on June 11 that will provide the “secret sauce” to increasing the number of assistive technology professionals in the complex rehab market, says Andrea Van Hook. 

The one-year program provides a pathway for rehab technicians certified by AMRG, formerly the DMERT Group, to become certified by RESNA as ATPs. Rehab techs certified by AMRG must pass an online exam and must execute a service checklist under the supervision and validation of an AMRG Master Technician. 

“This program is a long time coming,” Van Hook, executive director of RESNA, told attendees. “It’s definitely a program that was developed because the community told us they needed it and even though we’re presenting it today, we want feedback on what’s working and what’s not.” 

RESNA launched the ATP certification in 1995, and there are more than 4,500 such professionals in the market today. But there are few university or college programs educating clinicians to specialize in complex rehab and there are many ATPs about to retire, leaving a potentially large gap in the market going forward. 

RESNA and U.S. Rehab believe rehab technicians certified by AMRG have the qualities that are important to being an ATP – they’re focused on delivery quality, and they’re interested in career growth – and the program will help them learn the “transformation skills” they need to fully rise to that level, Van Hook said. 

“I like to describe it as the secret sauce,” she said. “What we want to do with this program is when techs finish and pass the ATP exam, they are ready to go into the field to interact with clients and manufacturer representatives. It’s about how to build trust; how to navigate cultural differences; how to collaborate effectively with other team members.” 

The program, which RESNA expects to open for registration in September, will include instructional courses, professional ethics, ATP exam prep, microcredentials and digital badging, and guided mentorship. It will cost $3,200, not including the cost of the ATP exam ($500). 

“We can’t include the ATP exam fee because we have to charge the same fee to everyone who takes the ATP,” Van Hook said. “This is all through RESNA, which is not for profit. This is literally covering the cost of the program.” 

To complete the guided mentorship component of the program, RESNA is making a call for mentors this summer. A panel of subject matter experts will interview prospective mentors and if approved match them with a rehab tech going through the program. There will be an optional second year of the program with more advanced mentorship and training. 

“(This will cover) more in-depth topics like power seat functions and electronics, pediatric and bariatric considerations, as well as more leadership skills training,” Van Hook said. 


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