Perth Education Program

Wednesday 26th May

  ROOM 1


Getting It Across the Line:
Tips for Clinicians Submitting AT Applications Through NDIS
 – Lisa Greene – National Occupational Therapy

The introduction of the NDIS has resulted in significant changes in the way that Community Occupational Therapists make applications for Assistive technology for their clients. Following assessment and prescription, Clinicians are required to submit and await AT approvals from the NDIS. Clinicians with a wide range of experience report varying degrees of success with applications to NDIS for Assistive Technology.

This presentation will focus on sharing case studies from clinicians nationally that highlight effective and successful strategies for AT applications. Where applications have not been approved, this presentation will also explore the ‘what next’ for clients and participants, looking at how care teams across Australia were able to problem solve the issues of AT not being approved to ensure clients were still able to meet their functional goals.

There will be the opportunity for participants to submit assistive technology related questions prior to the Clinical conversation and a limited number of questions will be taken during the session.

National OT will seek the endorsement of the NDIA of the assistive technology process information prior to the Clinical conversation.



Engaging in Eye Gaze: Supporting Communication, Education and Recreation – Tanith Brien – Indigo

Eye gaze technology can open doors to communication, recreation and other learning for people with complex physical, sensory and communication needs. Indigo (formerly the Independent Living Centre WA) has been running a series of projects to increase awareness and access to eye gaze technology within schools.

Attendees will:

  • Develop an awareness of considerations for the use of eye gaze technology and the progression of skills involved
  • See a range of examples of the application of eye gaze technology
  • Have access to newly available resources

Have an opportunity to try eye gaze following the presentation or at the Indigo stand





12:00-13:00 LUNCH


Active Controls Center Drive; The Biomechanical Benefits – Lauren Hunter – Linds Rehabilitation Equipment

The Clinical Study completed by Moss Rehabilitation Hospital’s Medical Director, Dr Alfredo Esquenazi, is the basis upon which Active Controls can make claims of both preventing and amending muscular skeletal conditions for power wheelchair drivers. Traditional power wheelchairs use an armrest mounted joystick controller. Such devices force a change in body posture and weight distribution with deleterious effects over time. However, driving from midline can facilitate improved power wheelchair control and body posture allowing seating products to do what they are intended to do. The Active Controls Center Drive System was developed to allow midline mounting for power chair joysticks and alternative drive controls. There are several benefits to operation of PWC at midline, including postural alignment, weight distribution and improved operator intuition and functional position that aligns the visual field with the center of the chair’s travel path.



My technology journey – enabling more control of my life – Eleana Bredemeyer – Technology User & Maria White – OT

Eleana loves to independently communicate with family and friends via her mobile phone and coordinate her life like anyone else. She also loves to listen to music and her favourite TV shows and control her environment.
Eleana has Cerebral Palsy and a visual impairment.
A new level of independence has been made possible for Eleana over the past few years due to the introduction of accessible technology (using a single switch and auditory scanning)
Eleanas’ disability has not stopped her from embracing and learning new technology. She will share with you her inspiring technology journey towards greater independence and control of her life.



AT Chat Assistive Technology Peer Mentoring Program – Kristy Harper – Ila

AT Chat is piloting an AT Peer Mentoring program, which will partner a service user (Mentee) with an expert AT user with lived AT and disability experience (AT Peer Mentor). The pilot program will consult both the Mentee and AT Peer Mentor about their experiences throughout the program and gather their valuable feedback on the program as part of AT Chat’s Living Lab methodologies and commitment to co-design. AT chat will present findings from the co-design methodologies and hear from an Mentor and Mentee about their experiences delivering and receiving AT peer mentoring.




Dragon Naturally Speaking V Apple Voice Control: A Battle for Voice Control Supremacy – Lauren Farrell – Indigo

Speech recognition technology has improved significantly over the past five years and is at a stage now where it can be used with minimal set up time. This session will provide an overview of the most used speech recognition programs, hardware, skills and training required to start the journey to be a proficient user. We will go through the set-up processes and basic troubleshooting tips. At the end you should be able to identify the features of the programs, hardware and resources to support your training.

*Details subject to change

Wednesday 28th October

  ROOM 2


Digital access: where we are and where we’re going Dr Scott Hollier – Centre For Accessibility

In the 1980s assistive technologies were in their infancy, in the 1990s they were bleeding-edge. In the 2000s they became mainstream, and today they’ve become essential. As people with disability continue to benefit from integrated and third-party products, it’s worth asking the question ‘what’s next? Dr Scott Hollier will show how people with disability can benefit from the great consumer technologies of today and highlight the international work that is focusing on the accessibility solutions of tomorrow.



The Abstract and the Creative: Assistive Technology in Non-Traditional Workplaces David Vosnacos – Visability

Assistive Technology (AT) can have a profound impact on the lives of people with vision impairment in their home, community or workplace.  However often non-mainstream AT is difficult to source and can be very expensive.

In Australia financial assistance is available through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) to eligible people to buy work related modifications and equipment.  VisAbility, a registered worksite assessor under the EAF, specialises in working with individuals and their Employers to identify barriers in the workplace and potential solutions.  Sometimes these are in non-traditional workplaces and require an abstract or creative solution.

We will highlight some of the unique and significant applications of AT in creating these solutions and the impact it has had on individual’s lives.



Taking a Stand: Overcoming Obstacles to Improve Outcomes – Rachel Fabiniak – Permobil

As humans we are designed to stand; not just stand occasionally but spend most of our days standing. Over the last several years the media has been littered with articles discussing the negative effects of prolonged sitting and the benefits of standing. Standing desks and terminals now have a presence in the workplace, so why are we still asking our clients to sit? Ongoing studies have continued to investigate the cost of prolonged sitting of our clients and how the benefit of standing may reduce the cost of ongoing healthcare needs. Despite this ongoing research, funding of standing devices continues to be a challenge.  In this session we will review the benefits of standing both medical and functional, the ongoing cost of sitting, and how to decipher the current portfolio of standing devices and how to justify them.

12:00-13:00 LUNCH


The Physical, Social and Psychosocial benefits of playing wheelchair sport – Wayne McNamara – Invacare

Learn how wheelchair sport can improve your life, or that of your clients. Discover the surprising benefits that arise and how what you do on a court or track, transfers to life away from it. Realise the social and physical benefits you achieve being surrounded and encouraged by likeminded people that will give you confidence and improve your life. Learn how in 2020 there are a variety of wheelchair sports grants available, and discover some tips about how NDIS funding can give you access to these chairs.



Restraint or Postural Support – An essential part of the solution or a safety afterthought? – Tracee-lee Maginnity – Permobil

Whilst a generic blanket of “restraint” terminology has been historically associated with the fitting and use of pelvic support belts and harnesses, we will explore the current definitions of restrictive practice and restraint to guide our clinical reasoning processes. How do we differentiate between using a pelvic belt as a support, safety belt or restraint? Why do we need to make this differentiation? How can a pelvic belt assist in providing postural support? These questions and more will be discussed throughout the session.

The session will look at various seated positions and how these impact on function. Attendees will be  empowered to leave with the tools to continue exploratory learning and understanding of how and where pelvic belts are fitted and integrated into the overall seating solution.



Complex mobility solutions for clients with neuromuscular degenerative disorders and high level spinal cord Injuries – Karthik Pasumarthy – Fiona Stanley Hospital

Speciality input devices such as chin operated joystick and head switches enable those with significant physical limitations to operate assistive devices such as power wheelchairs, augmentative communication devices and environmental controls to enable independence over their mobility, communication and immediate environment.

The Rehabilitation Engineering Clinic (REC) has been a pioneer in designing and developing custom assistive and mobility products for over 35 years in WA. The clinic has prescribed and set up complex mobility solutions for over several clients with high level spinal cord injuries, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis etc. and this session outlines clinical factors that need to be considered when setting up this complex technology and demonstrates some of the systems that the Rehabilitation Engineering Clinic has been instrumental in developing.



Manual Wheelchair Scripting – Why Compromise Is a Good Thing – TBC – Ottobock Australia

A contentious statement: A chair that is scripted as stable as possible, as light as possible or with every accessory possible may be a red flag that someone isn’t seeing the whole picture. Scripting a manual wheelchair is unique in that almost everything is a compromise.

The most stable chair is often one that is hard to propel, the most lightweight options are often less robust, and the chair with every feature for functionality can become too heavy to be functional. Using live and pre-recorded demonstrations we will explore manual wheelchair scripting to find the best outcome for your client.




Clinical Instructional Short Session

Clinical Plenary Long Session


Product Innovation

AT Developments

Thursday 27th May

  ROOM 1


Lying and Seating: More Linked than you Think! – Joana Santiago – Medifab NZ & Sarah Spano – Motum

People with motor impairment or movement disorders are at higher risk of developing postural deformities. Prolonged postures can be dangerous for any individual, however, for those with movement difficulties, these may result in contractures and ultimately in structural deformities with life threatening consequences.

Evidence-based research suggests that preferred postures adopted in lying are greatly associated with postural deformities observed in sitting. During the process of planning seating interventions, understanding the similarities between lying and sitting posture is then crucial for long-term success. In fact, it could be argued that successful wheelchair seating outcomes over the long term cannot be achieved unless positioning outside the wheelchair is appropriately addressed. 

With that in mind, with this interactive presentation we will run through the biomechanical principles of lying and sitting as a crucial step to understand client’s postural deviations and we will discuss possible ways of promoting better postures in lying and in seating.



Wearable technology innovations for people with vision and literacy impairments – Rob Drummond – Quantum Reading Learning Vision

Low vision is irreversible for many patients and constitutes a disability. When no treatment is available, technological developments can help patients in their daily lives. NDIS has recently brought about an influx of new vision and hearing technologies. Innovative solutions like OrCam MyEye (portable artificial vision device) for reading and recognising faces and OrCam Hear (first artificial intelligence device for hearing impairments), and the Acesight virtual reality device are being increasingly used in schools, at home, and in the workplace.

Wearable Technologies are, thus, becoming an everyday mainstream tool. The benefits of wearable technologies seem obvious: small, worn discreetly, and store data in the device to respect privacy. Yet, they remain poorly understood and technology innovation often exceeds pragmatic clinical demand. Our presentation will overview the current and emerging wearable technologies, and their use by people with vision and hearing impairments. The awareness of the modern wearable technologies will provide Occupational Therapists with a more complete assessment competency.



OT’s Exploring Assistive Technology – Assessment, Prescription, Process and Funding – Panel of three OT’s and a facilitator (TBC) – Occupational Therapy Australia


12:00-13:00 LUNCH


Prescribing Dynamic Manual Wheelchairs for Function and Independence – Lauren Hunter – Linds Rehabilitation Equipment

Years of research has highlighted the sedentary complications that come to individuals with prolonged wheelchair use; including pressure area development and reduced tolerance to being in the wheelchair due to pain and postural abnormalities. The ability to change the end users position in a manual wheelchair using tilt in space technology to improve posture (20degree tilt) and off load pressure (45degree tilt) is not a new concept; however, therapists now have a range of model options available on the market to select the product for prescription based on the features and end user benefits; instead of defaulting to the familiar. Dynamic wheelchair seating has taken on many forms in recent years, giving end users endless opportunities for movement within their manual wheelchairs to optimise function and reduce complications from sedentary seating. There are dynamic wheelchair components designed to absorb and diffuse force, protecting both the end user and the wheelchair seat and frame from damage. Join us to learn more about dynamic wheelchair prescription for function and independence.



A new approach to transfer – Bruce Gillespie – Transfer Systems

For over 60 years there has been no fundamental change in the way people with disabilities are transferred.  We call them hoists or lifters, but all these machines essentially work the same way. They work like a crane – they lift you from above. The Cantilevered Transfer System (CTS) takes a new approach to the transfer of people with mobility impairments. People are lifted safely, securely and in comfort from below with the assistance of only one person. The insecurity and indignity of being suspended are eliminated. Gone are the slings and riggings in their personal space. The CTS addresses persistent ergonomic challenges for carers by reducing: (a) stress on people supporting the transfer; (b) the number of transfers required; and, most importantly, (c) the number of people required to facilitate the transfer. The same device can also be used for showering and toileting. User-centred design included the voice of people with disability to co-design this innovative approach that will revolutionise the transfer experience for people and their carers.

*Details subject to change

Thursday 29th October

  ROOM 2


Innovations in mobile shower commode chair design – Emma Friesen – Raz Design Inc

Raz Design Inc. has two innovative products: ART (Attendant Rotational Tilt), and Zum folding frame mobile shower commode chairs. The ART and Zum were collaboratively with Inertia Engineering. The designs include innovations to improve functionality, aesthetics, and manufacturing efficiency.

Innovations in the ART include:

  • Patented, dual arc, rotational tilt system to reduce tilt effort
  • Patented tilt locking mechanism to enhance cable management
  • Invertible base for toolless height adjustment

Innovations in the Zum include a low, forward mounted, pivot-point folding mechanism and unique seat locking mechanism. The seat-mounted cross-brace rigidizes the frame to increase stability and usability. features a low, forward mounted pivot-point folding mechanism and a unique seat mount locking system. A seat-mounted cross-brace rigidizes the frame to increase stability and usability. to ensure optimal positioning of the frame over most toilet bowls







How to Choose the Right Personal Alarm. . .And get Nan to Wear It – Lance Stracke – Guardian Safety Pendants

Learn what’s happened. . .

With the 2 primary technologies used by all safety alert systems;

To cause Choice® to stop recommending any personal alarms;

Since Telstra’s announcement that the 3G network will be closing;

Learn why. . .

Size matters – one size does not fit all;

Most mobility and seniors aid retailers don’t sell emergency alert devices;

Models that look alike may be very different on the inside;

Learn. . .

Tips to win over the bah humbuggers to da’ humdingers;

Pendant vs Watch Pros and Cons;

How to choose the Right SIM card.



Assistive Technology Trials: Optimising Outcomes for NDIS Participants – Jane Milne – Emprise Mobility

Many NDIS participants require complex and high-risk AT due to the nature of health conditions and disability.  Equipment trials are required to determine effectiveness and suitability for the participant before the equipment is approved and funded. In many cases, participants are receiving equipment to trial inappropriate to their needs.  The iterations involved in reaching the best-fit solution not only impact upon the participant, but unnecessarily take money out of their Capital Supports budget.

This short presentation aims to support AT assessors to collaborate effectively with equipment suppliers to identify likely “best-fit” solutions for trial, promoting optimal and timely outcomes for their clients.

12:00-13:00 LUNCH


Aquatic Therapy & Transfer Tips for Caregivers – Craig Slattery – Para Mobility & Marlene Stevens – AustSwim

Having appropriate, safe, dignified access to a Pool ensures using correct equipment use: 

  • Manual handling safety for Participant and Carer
  • Access to water for personal, social and community participation
  • Provides opportunities for independence, water therapy and exercise



Bariatric Seating and Mobility Considerations – Nick Reginato – Quantum Rehab

This session will look at the different bariatric body shapes and how these can influence seating and mobility prescription. The associated risks to this population will be outlined, and the importance of utilising a specialised seating assessment tool to address these issues.

We will explore what management techniques can be used to reduce the risk to this population through appropriate wheelchair and seating prescription, as well as review relevant assistive technological advancements aimed at facilitating independent mobility and community participation.

Clinical Instructional Short Session

Clinical Plenary Long Session


Product Innovation

AT Developments