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Assistive Technology Under NDIS

Assistive technology is a broad category of tools and devices designed to help individuals with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives.

In this blog post, we will explore the world of assistive technology, focusing on its significance within the framework of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

We will discuss the various types of assistive technology available, how the NDIS supports access to these tools, and their positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities.

Assistive_Technology_Under_NDIS

What is Assistive Technology Under NDIS?

Assistive technology under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) refers to specialised devices, tools, or services designed to help individuals with disabilities overcome barriers and improve their daily functioning.

These technologies are tailored to each person’s unique needs and can include mobility aids, communication devices, hearing aids, and more.

The NDIS provides funding and support to ensure eligible participants have access to the assistive technology they require to enhance their independence and quality of life.

Role of NDIS in Assistive Technology

The NDIS plays a crucial role in facilitating access to assistive technology for individuals with disabilities. It provides support by:

  • Assessment: The assessment is carried out by Allied Health Professionals. They assess the individual’s specific needs for appropriate assistive technology to achieve their goals and enhance their daily life.
  • Funding: The NDIS allocates funding to eligible participants, ensuring they have the financial means to acquire necessary assistive technology.
  • Quality Assurance: The NDIS ensures that the chosen assistive technology meets quality and safety standards, safeguarding the well-being of participants and is value for money.
  • Training and Support: It offers training and support to participants to effectively use and maintain their assistive technology, maximising its benefits.

The NDIS acts as a facilitator, working alongside individuals with disabilities to ensure access to the right assistive technology that enables greater independence and improved quality of life.

NDIS Assessment and Funding for Assistive Technology

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) assesses and funds assistive technology through a structured process designed to meet the unique needs of each participant.

The process mainly involves 4 steps: Assessment, developing the plan, funding, review and adjustments. The steps are explained below.

1. Assessment:

When an individual becomes an NDIS participant, they undergo an initial assessment. This assessment considers their disability, goals, and the barriers they face in daily life. A planning meeting is held to discuss their support needs.

In some cases, specialist assessments may be required. This involves consultations with healthcare professionals, therapists, or specialists who can provide expert insights into the individual’s needs.

For assistive technology, this often includes assessments by occupational therapists, speech therapists, or audiologists, depending on the nature of the technology needed.

All Assistive Technology has to be recommended by a therapist. The NDIS is very particular with such funding and may fund low-cost AT unless things are recommended in reports.

For Low-cost AT (up to $1500) it is recommended to have a supporting letter but not always needed (this will be funded in core funding).

For Mid-cost AT ($1500 to $15,000), a letter from Allied Health professional (funded under Capital funding) is required.

For Hi-cost (anything over $15,000) or high-risk AT, a full Assistive Technology application completed by Allied Health professional is required. If it is like for like, then only a supporting letter to say the item has been outgrown or worn out is needed. (This will be funded under Capital funding).

2. Developing the NDIS Plan:

The NDIS plan is goal-oriented, focusing on what the individual wants. If assistive technology is deemed necessary to meet these goals, it will be included in the plan. The new PACE system also allows Assistive Technology to be added anytime. This can be done without resetting the original plan.

The NDIS emphasises participant choice and control. Individuals have the autonomy to choose the specific assistive technology that best suits their needs, provided it is considered reasonable and necessary. All Assistive Technology has to be recommended by an Allied Health Professional.

3. Funding:

Assistive technology must meet the criteria of being “reasonable and necessary” to be funded by the NDIS.

This means it should be directly related to the individual’s disability, effective in achieving their goals, and represent value for money.

The NDIS allocates a budget specifically for assistive technology based on the participant’s assessed needs and goals. This budget can cover the purchase, rent, maintenance, and ongoing support related to the technology.

4. Review and Adjustments:

The NDIS plan, including funding for assistive technology, is subject to regular reviews. This ensures that the technology remains relevant and continues to support the individual’s goals and needs.

If circumstances change or new technologies become available, adjustments can be made to the plan to accommodate these changes.

In summary, the NDIS assesses and funds assistive technology by conducting thorough assessments, developing goal-oriented plans, and allocating budgets tailored to the individual’s specific needs. The process is designed to provide participants with the technology required to enhance their independence, participation, and quality of life.

Examples of Assistive Technology

Some examples of Assistive Technology that may be funded via NDIS are mentioned below.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices:

  • Speech-generating devices (SGDs) for individuals with speech impairments.
  • Communication apps and software for tablets or computers.
  • Devices that support non-verbal individuals in expressing themselves, such as communication boards and speech-generating devices.

Mobility Aids:

  • Wheelchairs, including manual and powered models.
  • Mobility scooters to enhance independent mobility.

Hearing Aids:

  • Hearing aids and cochlear implants for individuals with hearing impairments. For participants below the age of 7 and over 65, these devices are funded by the Heading Service Program (HSP). For ages between 7 and 65, NDIS will only fund whatever is not funded by the HSP.

Vision Aids:

  • Screen readers and magnification software for individuals with visual impairments.
  • Braille displays and embossers.

Home Modifications:

  • Ramps and stairlifts to improve accessibility.
  • Bathroom modifications, such as grab bars and accessible showers.

Orthotic Devices:

  • Custom-made or prefabricated orthotic devices to support or correct body structures, including braces and splints.

Prosthetic Devices:

  • Artificial limbs or body parts for individuals who have had amputations or congenital limb deficiencies.

Assistive Software:

  • Specialised computer software and apps designed to assist with tasks such as communication, education, and employment.

Environmental Control Systems:

  • Systems that enable individuals to control appliances, lighting, and other devices in their environment, often through voice commands or alternative interfaces.
  • Smart home technology and Home automation systems that can be controlled via voice or mobile apps, providing increased independence and security.

Vehicle Modifications:

  • Adaptations to vehicles to make them accessible to individuals with disabilities, including wheelchair-accessible vans and hand controls.

Adaptive Seating and Positioning:

  • Customised seating systems to enhance comfort and posture.

Medical Alert Systems:

  • Devices that allow individuals to call for help in emergencies, often wearable as pendants or wristbands.

Wearable Health Devices:

  • Devices such as smartwatches to monitor vital signs and health conditions.
  • It is important to note that the specific assistive technology provided under the NDIS is determined based on an individual’s assessed needs, goals, and the recommendations of healthcare professionals and specialists.

The NDIS aims to ensure that individuals have access to the technology that best supports their independence and participation in daily life.

 

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