Identifying Assistive Technology needs

Every person with disability has different needs. If equipment/Assistive Technology (AT) is identified as 'reasonable and necessary' and it supports a participant to meet their goals, it may be included in their plan.

Like many technologies, equipment / assistive technology ranges from simple to complex. Often it can be hard to figure out what is the best solution.

At the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), we use four levels to describe the complexity of your AT needs.

The table below explains different AT complexity levels. It can help you identify, find and purchase the equipment/AT you need.

Complexity Level

Description and Examples

Is an assessment required before I can access NDIS funds?

Where can I buy this equipment/AT?

Level 1 – Simple, low-risk equipment/AT

Simple, low risk products and services easy to buy and need no, or very little, assistance to set up and use.

Examples:

  • Non-slip bathmat
  • Large print labels
  • Doorbells

Not required:
These are everyday equipment/AT items you can easily access and test. They don't cost much or need support.

You can choose to buy these from everyday suppliers.

Examples:

  • Your local store (hardware, pharmacy etc.); or
  • Suppliers you find on the internet.

Level 2 – Standard equipment/AT

Equipment/AT you can buy easily “off the shelf”, test and trial before making your final choice. However you might need help to set up.

Examples:

  • Bath seat
  • Hand rails
  • Ramp

May be required: Depending on availability and your individual circumstance, you may need to be assessed.

You can typically find this type of equipment/AT from an AT supplier.

Level 3 – Specialised equipment/AT solutions

Similar to Level 2 equipment/AT, but needs modification or to be tailored to suit your needs.

Examples:

  • Desktop electronic magnification
  • Pressure mattresses

Required: You must have an experienced professional to support you to help identify, buy and set up this equipment/AT before you can effectively use it.

You will need to work with your equipment/AT assessor to identify suitable supplier/s to source the most appropriate equipment/AT solution to meet your needs.

Level 4 – Complex equipment/AT solutions

Custom made equipment/AT specially made or configured for you.

  • myoelectric prosthetic
  • cochlear implant speech processors

Required: You will require specialist and/or ongoing support (including specialised training) to identify, buy and use.

You will need to work with your equipment/AT assessor to identify suitable supplier/s to source the most appropriate equipment/AT solution to meet your needs.

Depending on the risks associated with your disability or the environment where you need to use it, an item of AT may increase in complexity.
Many state/territory government equipment/AT schemes can provide the majority of more complex equipment/AT products. Equipment/AT for people with a sensory disability usually has specialised providers.

For more detailed information and examples, please refer to the NDIS AT Complexity Level Classification document (DOCX 1.4MB)

You should work with your NDIS planner or Local Area Coordinator to identify whether you may need help in selecting and setting up the right equipment/AT for you. Appropriate supports would be included in your plan to assist with selection, setup and equipment/AT training on AT.

Finding the right equipment/AT solution

Several people and organisations can help a participant find the right AT solution.

An AT assessor is someone who can consider a person's needs, their situation and identify the most appropriate equipment/AT which will meet their needs. They may be an AT mentor, allied health practitioner, continence nurse, registered dietician, psychologist or rehabilitation engineer. The appropriate AT assessor will depend on the type of equipment/AT and the complexity of the participant's needs.

Sourcing an AT assessor/mentor

Equipment/AT mentors are people with a disability, or lived experience of disability, like family members/carers, who are certificate trained in assisting in the provision of equipment/AT.

AT mentors can usually assist to identify the appropriate solution for lower complexity equipment/AT. They can also help a participant negotiate more complex equipment/AT assessments, purchases and training.

Depending on the equipment/AT's complexity, a participant, family member or carer can search for AT assessors, using the myplace participant portal or other provider registers. In some cases, searching for AT assessors and mentors on the internet can help identify Australian advisory services.

The NDIA has also developed several resources to help participants find and access providers. It is important to choose the right provider for you. Make sure you understand your plan and supports and decide whether you are going to self-manage the budgets in your plan before you start choosing providers.

This page current as of
9 January 2019