Assistive technology for all

Assistive Technology (AT) for All: Exploring the benefits and challenges of timely access to AT when ineligible for the NDIS

Research Team:

Michael Davern, Professor of Accounting & Business Information Systems Department of Accounting Faculty of Business & Economics

Tom Frick, Industry Research Assistant Department of Accounting Faculty of Business & Economics The University of Melbourne

Partner Organisation:
Council on the Ageing Victoria

Assistive Technology (AT) plays a vital role in supporting the lives of Australians with ABS figures showing more than 2.3 million individuals with a disability use some form of AT. Access to an AT is however challenging for those with a need but for age or other reasons are ineligible for National Disability Insurance Scheme support for obtaining necessary AT.

The purpose of this report is to investigate the impacts of challenges to timely access to AT for individuals who are ineligible for NDIS support. Through a survey of 92 such individuals, this report documents the widespread potential positive impacts of AT, and the consequent negative economic, social and wellbeing impacts of challenges to timely access.

Notable findings include:

* Evidence of no meaningful difference in need between those who have acquired AT and those who are still seeking to acquire AT. Suggesting that challenges to timely access are not simply due to the prioritisation of individuals with greater need.

* Lack of funding commensurate with the costs of AT, together with wait times in acquiring AT continue to challenge the individuals ineligible for NDIS support.

* While the some are able to “self-fund” (e.g., by drawing on personal or family resources), others are left with unmet needs and/or are required to draw more heavily on informal supports or other funded formal supports.

* Acquiring an AT appears to not only lead to social and wellbeing benefits for the individual with a disability, but also leads to reduced need to draw on informal or other funded supports.

Access the report here:
Assistive Technology for All