Understanding Assistive Technology

Understanding Assistive Technology

Having an iPad, headless headphones, or smart-home accessories can be incredibly useful. For those who experience disability, these tools can be critical for accessing healthcare, performing daily tasks, and increasing quality of life.

In some cases, participants may be able to use their funding to purchase assistive technology items. Knowing what is and isn’t covered, though, isn’t always straightforward.

We’ve created this guide to take out the mystery and help you discover if you’re eligible.

What is assistive technology?

The definition of assistive technology includes items, equipment, products, or software programs that are used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability.

Assistive technology can be beneficial for a range of reasons. It may also reduce the need for formal health and support services, long-term care, and the work of caregivers.

Examples of assistive technology

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, some of the common examples of assistive tech include:

  • iPads and tablets: tablets are increasingly a common way for participants to gain access to remote healthcare services.
  • Headphones: noise-cancelling headphones can be useful for people who experience auditory challenges by blocking out distracting background noise and helping reduce sensory overload.
  • Smartwatches: smartwatches come loaded with many features that can make life easier for people who experience disabilities, including GPS, fall detection, and heart rate monitoring.
  • Apps: many apps provide a range of disability-related services. These include text-to-speech, communication, and healthcare apps.
  • Smart-home accessories: various smart-home devices can assist with daily living––whether it’s assistance turning on the lights, making calls, or locking the doors.

To find a more complete list, view the NDIS Assistive Technology and Consumables Guide.

What’s covered by the NDIS?

It’s important to recognise, not all assistive technology is covered by the NDIS. It may be included in your plan where it is ‘reasonable and necessary’.

To be funded, the NDIS needs to know that the assistive technology is:

  • appropriate for the participant’s needs
  • is safe for the participant to use and meets Australia’s safety standards
  • will help the participant do all the things they need it to
  • will work in all the places needed to use it

Generally speaking, if the equipment costs less than $1500 and can be bought off-the-shelf, then the NDIS considers it to be low-cost assistive technology. This falls under the Core support category Consumables, which can be purchased using Core funding.

If the item costs more than $1500, it’s regarded as NDIS assistive technology, which is a Capital support.

Gaining access to assistive technology

To have assistive technologies added to your plan, your NDIS planner or the NDIS needs to first understand how it will help you to pursue your goals.

Depending on the equipment, an additional assessment or a recommendation letter from your service provider may be required.

Keep in mind: all supports must relate to a disability and to the goals in the NDIS plan.

We’re here to help

Have a question about assistive technology? We’re on hand to offer assistance.

Contact us on 1300 60 33 89 or at [email protected] and we can help.

Contact us