Navigating the NDIS can be daunting, especially if the NDIS marks the first time you or your loved one are accessing supports and services. The Inform NDIS 101 series aims to take some of the confusion out of understanding, accessing and using the NDIS by providing straightforward information and resources.
Assistive technology comes in a 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.
The NDIS’s assistive technology strategy acknowledges the power of technology to open the world for people with disabilities. Assistive technology can help people with disability to do the things they want to do when they want to do them. Whether that’s something as simple as making a cup of tea, to driving a car or playing sport.
Type of assistive technology
There are various types of assistive technology. To simply the process a little, the NDIS split assistive technology into four different levels.
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 $1500. Examples include non-slip bathmats, adapted grip equipment or mobility canes.
Level 2—Standard Assistive Technology
- Standard assistive technology is not customised, however you’ll probably need some assistance setting it up and making adjustments. For example, altering the height. Some examples of Standard assistive technology include transfer benches, laundry and washing line adaptations and handrails.
Level 3—Specialised Assistive Technology
- Specialised assistive technology often requires some adjustments or modifications to suit the individual. 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. Examples includes power wheelchairs, bed rails and hearing aids
Assistive technology assessments
Most basic or standard assistive technology will not require an assessment. Whereas anything specialised or complex generally will. However, the level that your assistive technology falls into does not actually determine whether you need an assessment.
The purpose of assistive technology assessments is to show how the technology or supports are the most appropriate. In addition, the assessment should demonstrate that they are reasonable and necessary.
The NDIS has designed a number of assessment templates. Using them can help ensure that you provide the right information which can help streamline the process.
The templates cover specialised assistive technology like car modifications or hearing devices, but there’s also a general assistive technology template.
Have a read through the template that suits you. This can help you work with your assessors to get the right information included.
Who can complete assessments?
Assistive technology assessors can be completed by specialised assistive technology assessors or by allied health professional. For example an occupation therapist, a speech pathologist, physiotherapist or a registered dietician or psychologist.
Funding for assessments can be included in your plan under Capacity Building in the Improve Daily Living Skills budget.
Talk to your allied health professionals, GP or your support coordinator or Local Area Coordinator about who the best person to complete your assessment is.