5 ways Assistive Technology (AT) can Provide Independence
Assistive technology, sometimes referred to as assistive tech or AT, is any sort of technology or tool that a person with a disability might use to be more independent at home, in their community, or at work. Some examples of AT include cognitive aids, computers, and computer software and hardware (like voice recognition or screen reader).
There are four levels of Assistive Technology including Level 1- Basic Assistive Technology (which doesn’t require an assessment and is under $1500), Level 2- Standard Assistive Technology, Level 3- Specialised Assistive Technology, and Level 4- Complex Assistive Technology. For an in depth dive into these categories, Inform has put together a comprehensive Assistive Technology guide .
There are many ways a person you might be able to use AT in your daily life, but it’s important to remember that AT should be reasonable, necessary, meet your needs, and help you achieve your goals. If you’re wondering how AT might help you with your own independence and goals, here are five ways you might be able to use assistive technology to be more independent.
‘Hearing supports’—assistive technology that might be useful if you’re Deaf or hard of hearing
One common assistive technology device is hearing aids. There are other devices for Deaf or hard of hearing people, including assistive listening devices that flash or vibrate. Auslan interpreting sometimes falls under assistive technology under the NDIS, too. Whether you’re at home, at work, or out in the community, there are ways technology can help you communicate with others and have tools you need to navigate the world a little bit easier.
Using assistive technology if you’re blind or vision impaired
Screen reading software is one very useful form of assistive technology that blind or low vision individuals might find particularly helpful. There are also more specialised options, like electronic Braille displays. If you’re blind or vision impaired, you might want to give some thought into what sort of tools might be helpful for you.
Some NDIS participants might be eligible for an assistance dog, if having an assistance animal would be a reasonable and necessary support. Even though a dog isn’t really technology in the traditional sense, an assistance animal does fall under assistance technology. Having an assistance animal might be helpful in moving around the world more freely and independently.
Remember that not every dog can be an assistance dog. Assistance dogs must perform tasks that help with a disability. A funded assistance animal must pass your state or territory’s Public Access Test.
Using assistive technology to make it easier to get around
If you use mobility aids, you might be able to use your NDIS funding to get a wheelchair, walker, cane, or other another mobility device that you personally find helpful. Even though this is another tool that might not sound like ‘technology’, mobility devices do fall under the category and so do things like prosthetics.
Modifying your home
If you’re struggling to move around your home safely and easily, you might be able to use your NDIS funding to modify your home. Some home modifications include rails, ramps, or changing the size of walls or doorways. Modifications are specific to each person and each home, so you’ll have to consider what you need.
There are many other ways you can use assistive technology
The five types of AT listed above are only a handful of ways you might be able to use in your daily life if you’re a person with disability. Since all people with disability have different needs, it’s a good idea to think of what devices and tools might help you with your own personal independence and goals.
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This article is sponsored by Independence Australia, a social enterprise that provides choices for people living with a disability or other personal need, enabling them to regain and retain their independence within a supportive community.