Assistive Technology and the NDIS

What is Assistive Technology (AT)?

The NDIS defines AT as items that help a participant do things they can’t do because of their disability. Or, things that help a participant do something more easily or safely.

Assistive Technology includes:

  • means you need less help from others

  • help you do things more safely or easily

  • help you to keep doing the things you need to do

  • allow you to do tasks independently

  • are personalised for you.

Assistive Technology under the NDIS does NOT include:

  • home equipment that everyone uses, that isn’t related to your disability, like a standard kettle

  • items for treatment or rehabilitation

  • changes to public spaces, like a footpath

  • changes to public vehicles, such as buses or taxis

  • assessment or therapy tools used by therapists.

Who can I ask to support me with accessing AT?

  • You can seek advice from an  Assistive Technology Advisor

  • Assistive Technology Assessor

  • You also need to meet the NDIS reasonable and necessary criteria

Who is an Assistive Technology Advisor?

  • allied health practitioners. For example audiologists, occupational therapists, orthoptists, orthotists/prosthetists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, speech pathologists

  • assistive technology mentors, who have a recognised qualification in assistive technology advice

  • orientation and mobility specialists for the vision sector

  • continence nurses

  • rehabilitation engineers.

 

An AT advisor can provide you with basic advice to assist with selecting the appropriate low cost or mid cost AT item

Who is an Assistive Technology Assessor?

  • are specialist assistive technology advisors

  • They need to have a university or equivalent degree relevant for providing assistive technology assessments

  • They also need to be working within the standards set by a professional registration organisation such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

  • Allied health practitioners, nurse continence specialists, orientation and mobility specialists, and professional rehabilitation engineers all meet this requirement for their area of assistive technology expertise

 

An AT Assessor can provide you with detailed advice, assessment and reports to assist with selecting the appropriate mid cost and high cost AT items.

How do I know if I meet the NDIS criteria for funding my support or AT?

AT must meet NDIS criteria for funding.  A support/service must meet the Reasonable and Necessary criteria below:

  • Supports must relate to the goals within a participant's plan

  • Supports must assist a participant in their community and / or economic participation

  • Supports must represent value for money

  • Supports must be effective and beneficial

  • Supports must take into account what is reasonable to expect family members, informal supports of the community to provide

  • Supports must relate to the persons disability and the NDIS be the most appropriate to fund

Who decides the if AT is Reasonable and Necessary?

  • It is not the role of the Assistive Technology Advisor/Assessor to determine whether a support or AT is reasonable & necessary nor to communicate that decision once made

  •  The Assistive Technology Advisor/Assessor’s role is to assess, document, articulate, present the evidence available and manage expectations

So how do we know what may be considered reasonable & necessary and what may not be?

It is determined by the NDIS planners in accordance to the NDIS Act – NDIS Act 2013 and The NDIS Operational Guidelines 

 

https://ourguidelines.ndis.gov.au/supports-you-can-access-menu/equipment-and-technology/assistive-technology

OK it’s been determined I meet the NDIS reasonable and necessary criteria - how do I get my AT funded?

AT is broken down into 3 categories:

  • Low cost (under $1500 per item)

  • Mid Cost (between $1500 - $15,000)

  • High Cost ( over $15,000)

table AT C2.jpg

AT funding still has me confused, can you give me more information?

1. Low cost AT (under $1500 per item)

Low cost items are:

  • easy to set up and use

  • available from local suppliers or general non-disability specific retailers.

Examples include:

  • continence products

  • non-slip bathmats

  • large print labels

  • walking sticks

  • basic shower chairs.

2. Mid Cost AT (between $1500 - $15,000)

Mid cost items may be more difficult to choose and set up on your own to get the best outcome.

You will require the support of an Assistive Technology Advisor before purchasing your AT

Some examples of mid cost items might include:

  • a standing hoist

  • a customised shower chair

  • ankle-foot orthotics

  • alternative communication devices

  • some power wheelchairs

  • pressure care mattresses

  • adjustable electric bed.

So, how do I access mid-cost AT?

The flow chart below will assist you in the process of accessing mid cost AT

AT_diagram_large.png

*General advice includes:

  • the type assistive technology you need

  • why the assistive technology is the best value, over other supports, to help with your disability support needs

  • how the assistive technology will help with your disability support needs and help you pursue the goals in your plan

  • an estimate of how much the assistive technology costs.

The exact type of AT will not be provided to NDIS until all trials have been completed with you and your advisor

**A Letter includes:

  • the type assistive technology you need

  • why the assistive technology is the best value, over other supports, to help with your disability support needs

  • how the assistive technology will help with your disability support needs and help you pursue the goals in your plan

  • a quote of how much the assistive technology costs

  • about your lived experience

  • details of when you’ve used and tested the item during your trials and it meets your needs

  • about advice from peak bodies that indicate the item is right for you

A letter and quote will not be provided to NDIS until all trials have been completed with you and your advisor and the most appropriate AT has been selected.

3. High Cost AT (over $15,000)

For high cost assistive technology, the NDIS must have the following:

  • a recent assessment or report that shows what assistive technology you need

  • one quote of how much the assistive technology costs

The assessment and trials needs to be from a qualified assistive technology assessor.

For high cost assistive technology getting quotes and assessments can take time.

You will need funding for assessments and trials in your plan before the NDIS will fund the assistive technology item.

For further information you can take a look at the NDIS website:

https://ourguidelines.ndis.gov.au/supports-you-can-access-menu/equipment-and-technology/assistive-technology

Or if you still have questions about accessing AT speak to your Allied Health professionals right here at KickStart!