Our ATP Adventures So Far

We're about halfway through studying for the Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) exam - and every month, we get questions from readers new to our study group! So let's review what we've learned so far.

A New Designation: ATP

In January, RESNA's ATP and ATS certifications gave way to a new, singular one: Assistive Technology Professional (see the new logo, part of RESNA's ATP Toolkit to publicize the certification, in the sidebar). Starting this year, the 200-question exam is administered via computer by Prometric Services, a company with testing centers around the country.

While I lack the contact hours to qualify to take the ATP exam, I am preparing to take the practice exam. And each month, we're joined by a mentor who shares what exam resources he or she found helpful. See the sidebar for a complete list of suggested resources to date.

Our Themes So Far

Our mentors have included folks with credentials in occupational therapy (Mark Schmeler, Ph.D, OTR/L), physical therapy (Lauren Rosen, MPT) and the supplier side of rehab technology (Phil Wegman, CRTS), plus Quantum Rehab's national sales director (Cody Verrett) and RESNA's director of certification (Anjali Weber).

Each mentor has lent personal insight, but we've also seen some common themes emerge:

• Plan for Success: Good seating systems don't just "happen," right? Neither will readiness for this exam. Mark suggested studying three to five hours a week over six months; Cody woke up early to read for 15-20 minutes a morning for three months prior to the exam. Depending on your background, you may need more or less formal studying time. The important thing is to develop a plan, then stick to it. And consider taking an exam review course to first figure out what you need to study.

• Don't depend solely on your daily experiences. Said Phil, "There were aspects of the RESNA exam that most ATPs will never see in their careers." That might include questions on augmentative communications or the history of funding for assistive technology. This is a standardized exam that, our mentors have said, tests a candidate's overall understanding of the assistive technology spectrum, of which seating & mobility is a part. So even if seating & mobility is your bread and butter, chances are you'll find some parts of the test not quite so familiar.

• Go in with the right attitude. "There's nothing tricky about this test," Lauren advised. But read too much into the questions, and "that's where you get yourself into trouble... Give them the answer they are looking for." Mark also suggests letting go of any lurking exam rage. Don't perceive the test as a personal insult to your intelligence and years of rehab experience, and don't listen to the little voice in your head if it says the test is intentionally trying to trip you up.

"Don't try to second-guess the person writing the question, which is what a lot of people do," Mark says. "Depersonalize the question." It's also important to feel confident about the actual act of taking an exam, so in next month's column, we'll focus on how to take a standardized test...something most of us haven't done in many years! The goal next month is to get comfortable, without getting overconfident.

OK! You're caught up! Now grab your copy of Cook & Hussey, and let's keep moving!

This article originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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