Discussion paper

What is assistive technology?

The agreed World Health Organisation definition is "Assistive technology can be defined as “any piece of equipment, or product, whether it is acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities” (WHO, 2011)

The array of possible assistive technology products and solutions reflects the diversity of the needs of people with disabilities – ranging from digital technologies that can support social engagement, communication, employment, learning, memory, planning and safe guarding services through to products and devices that support mobility and personal care requirements. Typically as the complexities of assistive technology solutions increase, so do the costs and potential risks (if not appropriately set up or maintained).

This document is primarily focused on the Assistive Technology solutions derived from aids and equipment. Home and vehicle modifications and prosthetics have not yet been explored in the same level of detail and will be subject of further work.

Proposed approach

The proposed assistive technology service approach has been developed in line with the strategic goals of the NDIA. It is one aspect of a broader strategic approach the NDIA has to using technologies to enhance its engagement and management of relationships, services and supports with suppliers, providers, participants and the Australian community. The NDIA’s goal is to use technology in its various forms to ensure that services, supports, and communications between all stakeholders are as streamlined as possible and services are timely and effective.

This document outlines the elements of a proposed service delivery approach for individuals to access assistive technology solutions and is based on the three key objectives outlined above.

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