With Your Northside enabling a person-centred approach to care, we are also spreading our wings towards Assistive Technology to provide cutting-edge solutions for people living with a disability and their carers.

What Is Assistive Technology?

Assistive technology is used as an umbrella term for both assistive products or devices and related services. The World Health Organisation defines assistive devices and technologies as ‘those whose primary purpose is to maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence to facilitate participation and enhance overall well-being.”

assistive-technology-computer

5 Aspects of Assistive Technology

During our Community Circle’s ‘Service Meet-Me Series with NDIS participants, carers touched upon 5 aspects of assistive technology:

Accessibility- Many families did not have access to assistive technology funding in their first year stint with NDIS. With Community Circle’s information session, carers were able to have an OT assessment and submit an application for approval to access assistive technology from the NDIA.

Adaptability –Your Northside Carers provided feedback about assistive technology. During the discussion, safety was ranked over privacy especially with usage of CCTV cameras; we could prevent abuse by family and support workers, threats and dangers of trip, fall, fire and robbery.

Awareness -Many families did not know they could access technology through the NDIS prior to our sessions and some felt that their LAC (local area coordinator) and support coordination did not provide clear information. With Your Northside’s community Circle information session, carers learnt from others’ experiences – what support is available and how they might go about getting this type of support.

Ability – At your Northside we believe in working with challenging behaviours and disabilities to deliver a positive outcome for all parties involved. With a session from Stayput Safety seatbelt system, Carers were given information on how assistive technology could help with restrictive practice and challenging behaviour.

Assistance – With NDIS reform being relatively new and service providers looking to adapt, it can take anywhere from 1 month to 1 year to get assistive technology items approved for an individual’s NDIS plan and to find an assistive technology solution that can help with customised needs of each person.

With direct feedback from our NDIS participants and their families, Your Northside has been able to fill the gaps and break the barriers to assistive technology. In our Community Circle sessions, families were able to communicate the issues they’re facing and come up with solutions with support from their peers. Carers were able to advocate their needs to the NDIA to get adequate support and access the products and services within a very short timeframe.

Current Partnerships – Mobility Equipment and Daily Living Aids

We know how important and life-changing this assistive technology can be in the lives of individuals living with disability and their carers. That’s why since the inception of the NDIS, we have partnered with Independent Living Specialists (ILS) to help our clients access various assistive technology products and services.

mobility-scooter

Genie Plus Travel Mobility Scooter – Automatic Folding, from Independent Living Specialists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For example with mobility scooters from Independent Living Specialists, we will work with you to tailor a model to suit your needs, whether it be a compact travel scooter or a robust heavy duty mobility scooter for country areas or long distances. This Genie Plus Travel Mobility Scooter from ILS is perfect for someone who likes travel as it automatically folds and can fit into a hatchback plus is airline-friendly. We offer you flexible options of hiring/renting or buying to suit your needs.

Looking Forward – Speech Recognition Software, Environment Modifications and Virtual Reality

Currently we are also working to form other partnerships with a speech recognition software provider which will assist with linguistics for enabling people living with speech disorders.

Another breakthrough is our partnership with  a provider of home modification products to make each living space and work environment suitable to disability needs. They offer, for example, height adjustable work tables, kitchen cabinets, and wardrobes which lower or raise with the touch of a button.

In addition to these technologies, we are strategically focusing on partnering with other providers in the virtual reality product space as we believe these will bring about great change to people living with intellectual disability, mental health and palliative care.

With virtual reality it is possible to alter perceptions, emotions and physiological states as part of exposure therapy for PTSD and anxiety disorders. With distraction and flooding sensory techniques we can create positive experiences in pain management, such as in palliative care. Virtual reality also might be used to enable a person with an intellectual disability to lead an independent life with virtual reality stimuli. It’s exciting to think of the possibilities of where VR might take us.

Apart from the NDIS, we also look forward to supporting our clients who access mental health respite and dementia information and training with the latest innovations using gaming technology and hardware platforms. virtual reality experiences can offer perceptually realistic scenarios that can be observed in a therapy context and VR can provide experiences that increase self-compassion or empathy from an observer or care worker.

Forming Partnerships To Benefit You, Our Valued Clients

With bigger and better creative ideas and products in the assistive technology space, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future! We are always keeping our eyes out to form partnerships to bring these devices to our valued clients and empower them to live a better life each day.

 

If you are interested in learning more about assistive technology products and services and how we can help, please contact our friendly customer care team at 1300 134 332 or email customercare@yournorthside.org.au

 

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