Inclusivity and accessibility in undergraduate osteopathic education for students with disability: A scoping review



      Osteopathy is a statutorily regulated health profession in the UK and osteopaths regularly encounter patients from a wide range of backgrounds including people with disabilities. Little is known regarding the experience of learners with disabilities in osteopathic education. The extent of the available literature regarding students with disabilities and osteopathy remains unknown.


      The objective of this systematic scoping review was to chart the breadth and depth of the available published literature regarding the educational experience, including attainment, for learners with disabilities in osteopathic education and to inform future primary research.


      Our protocol was drafted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis Protocols, Scoping Reviews extension (PRISMA-ScR). 5 databases were systematically searched and included papers reference lists were screened for additional references.


      The online database search identified 265 articles. 21 articles met the inclusion criteria based on their titles and abstracts, 17 journal articles, 3 doctoral theses and a conference abstract. Full screening resulted in 9 papers meeting the inclusion criteria. All the included papers discussed the issues of disclosure and access to support. The majority also discussed staff and fellow students’ attitudes towards disabled students which were often negative as well as highlighting needs for support or adaptations.


      This study has highlighted a lack of published literature regarding the experience and attainment of disabled students in UK osteopathy. Further research regarding barriers and enablers for students as well as attitudes of staff and students towards disabled people may be beneficial.


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