10 informonline.org.au NDIS Feature What is assistive technology? Assistive technology comes in a vast range of different shapes and sizes and colours. From power wheelchairs to communication boards, to screen reading software, there is an assistive technology to assist you in just about every area of your life. From education and employment to transport and navigating the world around you, the right assistive technology with the right supports at the right time can be a life changer. How do I find out more about assistive technology? There’s a range of resources available to help you learn more about assistive technology. Podcasts like Easter Seals and Inform as well as organisations like ISAAC, the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, can be valuable sources of information. So too are allied health professionals. Talk to your occupational therapist, rehabilitation engineers or speech pathologists to see what might be available. Another great resource is social media and online discussion forums where valuable information is often shared. From reviews about the assistive technology itself to the service provided by the company who manufacture or sell it, reviews found on social media or online discussion forums can be useful in helping you decide if a piece of technology will be a welcome addition to your life. The NDIA also publishes an Assistive Technology and Consumables Guide. However, it’s important to note that this guide does not cover all the assistive technology that is available or that may be funded in your NDIS Plan. What it does is provide a list of the most common assistive technology. In addition, the guide also provides the funding category and line item information for specific technology and advises if an item requires an assistive technology assessment. the right assistive technology with the right supports at the right time can be a life changer. Assistive technology assessments: the why and how While most Basic and Standard assistive technology will not require an assessment, anything specialised or complex will. The assistive technology assessment will help you determine what your needs are and what the most appropriate assistive technology is for you. Assessors may be an allied health professional, a registered dietician or psychologist or assistive technology mentor. How to buy assistive technology The way your NDIS plan is managed will determine how you purchase assistive technology. For example, if you are selfmanaged, you can choose your own assistive technology suppliers and you are responsible for paying any invoices and then claiming from the NDIS. However, if the NDIA manages your plan, your Local Area Coordinator or Support Coordinator will assist you to find a registered NDIS provider and the NDIS will pay the provider directly. And if your plan is managed for you, your plan manager will assist you to find the right assistive technology and assistive technology provider and they will pay them on your behalf.
NDIS Feature informonline.org.au 11 NDIS and assistive technology The list of available assistive technology is long, with hundreds of different products. To simplify the process of accessing it via your NDIS plan, the NDIA split assistive technology into four different levels. Tips and Advice: Level 1—Basic Assistive Technology Basic assistive technology is safe to operate or use and you won’t need specialised assistance to set it up. Basic items cost less than 00. In addition, you don’t need an assessment for this type of assistive technology. You can buy it online or from a local shop. Examples include non-slip bathmats, adapted grip equipment or mobility canes. Level 2—Standard Assistive Technology You can generally buy Standard assistive technology from an assistive technology supplier. Standard items are not customised, however you’ll probably need some assistance setting them up and making adjustments. For example, altering the height. An assistive technology assessment will sometimes be required for Standard items. Some examples of Standard assistive technology include transfer benches, laundry and washing line adaptations and handrails. Level 3—Specialised Assistive Technology While Specialised assistive technology is similar to Standard in that you can buy from an assistive technology supplier, Specialised items often require some adjustments or modifications to suit the individual. Specialised items will require an assistive technology assessment and a written quote. Examples include electronic Braille displays, stair lifts and pressure mattresses. Level 4—Complex Assistive Technology Complex assistive technology is custom made. It often requires ongoing support including training. This kind of assistive technology requires an assessment and a written quote. Examples include power wheelchairs, bed rails and hearing aids. An assistive technology assessment prior to your planning meeting can help ensure the NDIA has enough evidence to decide what technology is reasonable and necessary. Assistive technology valued at more than 00 will require two quotes. Don’t forget about repairs and maintenance. And remember that you can include these in your plan. Consider setting up a trial to test if a new assistive technology is the best fit for you before you buy. Check out social media or online discussion forums for reviews on the assistive technology you’re interested in or ask friends or family who already use similar technology what their thoughts are.