The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is growing and changing the assistive technology (AT) market in Australia. NDIS participants now have greater choice and control over their AT purchases and can buy a wide range of AT products and services with their NDIS budget. Participants can also choose their AT provider.
This shift in power is creating more incentives for providers and suppliers to be more responsive to your needs and preferences.
While this has been a welcome change, the process of shopping around to find the appropriate product and the right relationship with a provider to achieve suitable outcomes can seem overwhelming. But a few simple pointers can make it far easier.
What can you do to make it a smoother process?
- Speak to an AT assessor or AT mentor. Under the NDIS, you can receive AT assessments to determine what AT solutions will help you achieve the goals outlined in your plan. Assessors include an AT mentor (people with a disability or those with lived experience of disability, including carers), allied health practitioner, continence nurse, registered dietician, psychologist, or rehabilitation engineer.
- Join a support group. As is the case with most things NDIS related, your peers are often the best source of firsthand information. Many of them will already have purchased AT products or use AT services – and most importantly, these peers have lived experiences of disability, just like you.
- Attend a trade show. One of the best ways to see what’s on offer is to attend one of the many AT trade shows throughout Australia, where providers show exactly what you can find and even give you a helpful demonstration. This includes the ATSA Independent Living Expo.
What is the ATSA Independent Living Expo?
The ATSA Independent Living Expo can make the process of choosing an AT provider, product and service easier, bringing together more than 200 AT providers and suppliers under the one roof to showcase the latest equipment and services for the disability sector.
One of the most comprehensive events for people with disability, seniors, allied health professionals, rehabilitation providers, and interested members of the public, the 2018 ATSA Independent Living Expo will be held in Melbourne at the Melbourne Showgrounds from 16-17 May, and for the first time in Perth at the Claremont Showgrounds from 30-31 May.
A key feature of the expo is the free conference program which is run in rooms conveniently located next to the exhibition floor. The 2018 programs are also an excellent opportunity for allied health professionals, including occupational therapists and physiotherapists, to broaden their practical and theoretical learning. Seats are expected to book out well in advance of the event.
Speakers in the 2018 program include Dr Lloyd Walker, NDIA AT director; and international guests Barend ter Haar from BES Rehab, Healthcare Innovations UK; Paul Everett, Jenx, UK; Russ Rolt, Active Controls, US; Alli Hyde, Linds, Motion Composites, Canada and Amy Bjornson from Sunrise Medical.
The Melbourne program also includes two panels of therapists from OT Victoria providing a unique Q&A session whilst in Perth, the Independent Living Centre WA will provide a number of speakers on each day.The two programs are available now on the ATSA Independent Living Expo website.
The ATSA Independent Living Expo is free to attend and those who pre-register online will receive free parking and a free coffee voucher to redeem on the day. Click here to register now.