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Independence at home: how do NDIS participants access and use AT?

24 August 2023

Assistive technology in the home is still a winner in NDIS supports, and at Indigo, we’re glad to hear that the NDIS is researching and developing the ways in which their participants access the tech that they need.  

Indigo, the Independent Living Centre of WA, has a national reputation of over more than 40 years as a leader in providing expert advice and an extensive range of services relating to assistive technology that helps people maintain their independence.  

As part of their home and living capacity building report, “Having a go: Making individualised living a reality”, the NDIS identified how participants access the supports that help them in their home and living goals.  

The home and living survey, consisting of NDIS participants, family, and carers, revealed that 71% of NDIS participants either receive or would like to receive support relating to technology and independence in the home.   

Some participants listed equipment such as doorbell cameras and other security options, as well as smart home devices, like Alexa or Google Home, as they are easy to use and make them feel safe and secure.  

Assistive technology like this, and other forms of AT, such as shower chairs and adaptive cutlery, are still relevant and useful to people with disabilities, and help individuals maintain their independence at home. 

Using assistive tech is one aspect of accessing home and living supports. Another key aspect is learning and improving the skills that are needed in daily activities around the home. Nearly half of the survey participants indicated that they would like to have access to more supports that develop these skills – something that Indigo can help with through our specialist occupational therapists, or via the National Equipment Database, which is the ‘one-stop shop’ for customers to find the right assistive technology to meet their needs.  

The combination of developing key life skills, and learning how to use assistive technology, is where Indigo’s occupational therapists can make a big difference. Ongoing development of skills such as getting dressed, brushing teeth and using hygiene facilities, or cooking food, when paired with assistive technology, helps people to increase their independence and continue to do the things they love. 

The variety of needs across the disability sector is reflected in the variety and range of options available to provide assistance, and sometimes it can be confusing and overwhelming to sort through all of the products. According to the NDIS survey, some participants felt intimidated by the number of options, and found it difficult to not only know what equipment was available, but how to use and adapt products to their needs.  

The survey also noted that some participants and their families used OT services to help them identify assistive tech that was right for them. Indigo’s experienced team of professionals can help clear some of the confusion around suitable technology and guide you through options available to find the right solution.