Assistive Technology Funding Process
1. Pre planning for the NDIS meeting
Where possible, have documentation from the speech pathologist. If an assessment and trial of a communication device have been completed, the speech pathologist should provide a completed General AT Assessment Template with quotes. If assessment or trial are yet to be completed, the speech pathologist should provide documentation requesting Assistive Technology be included within the plan pending assessment as well as the inclusion of extra assessment hours to support the trial process. Refer to pages 15-16 of the AT and Consumables Guide for support items, for example; dynamic display dialogue units, eye gaze system, head pointer.
A representative from Liberator can attend planning meetings in order to advocate for communication needs and Assistive Technology. Contact your local consultant for further information.
2. NDIS plan contains AT pending assessment
Participants will require AT supports in their plan in order for it to be considered for approval. The plan may specify that the AT is pending assessment while some AT will not require assessment. The NDIS AT Complexity Level Classification document details the levels of complexity and provides examples of AT under each level. The majority of communication device options are considered Level 4 - complex AT solutions which dictates that an assessment and trial must be completed.
If there is no AT noted in the plan the funding has not been considered or the funding is inadequate the participant can:
- wait until their next plan review to request the AT using the AT Assessment Form,
- request an early plan review under Section 48 of the NDIS Act – “Review of a Reviewable Decision”, and request the AT using the AT Assessment Form.
- A participant can request an internal review of a decision within 3 months of being informed of the decision, using the NDIS form: https://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/reasonable-and-necessary-supports/decision-review
- Attach all documentation available, to make the situation and request as clear as possible.
- An internal review may spark an entire plan review. Be specific if wanting review of specific supports only; but a full plan review may still occur
- A participant can request a change in circumstances if needs have changed: https://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/understanding-your-plan-and-supports/change-circumstances.html
You can download a summary of the NDIS Review Process, including the importance of a “change in circumstances” here: NDIS Review Process
3. Complete assessment
Assessment of current functional communication skills and device requirements should be completed in order to determine hardware and software options suitable for trial.
Refer to Assessment and Evaluation for further information.
4. Complete device trial
Contact Liberator to receive a free device trial. During the device trial Liberator offers a multitude of free support including unlimited phone calls and personalised virtual training. More than one device trial should be completed or considered in order to demonstrate that the option requested is the most suitable and meets Reasonable and Necessary supports criteria.
When a trial is being completed it is crucial that a clear set of goals are being targeted to ensure that outcomes can be obtained. Goals should target more than one communicative function and reflect the areas of communicative competency in AAC (Light, J.C., Beukelman, D.R., & Reichle, J., 2003). Data logging is a way to obtain high technology data for analysis. Liberator devices have access to the Realize Language System that gathers information regarding word frequency, time used and performance against target vocabulary for analysis and interpretation.
5. Complete the NDIS General Assistive Technology Assessment Template
The General Assistive Technology Assessment is crucial in determining the outcome of an AT request. The following are some guidelines to follow when writing the assessment form;
- Use language that focuses on building the participant’s capacity and independence and explicitly link the AT request to the goals within the NDIS plan. Clearly indicate that the AT support will assist the participant to pursue their goals, objectives and aspirations.
- Explicitly note all AT trialled and considered to distinctly demonstrate why their features did not match the participant’ s AT requirements. It cannot be assumed that the NDIA delegate reading the application will know what has been considered, it is imperative that it be stated clearly.
- Present objective outcomes across environments. Use examples to further highlight the functional outcomes achieved including participation and independence.
- Discuss value for money, in particular the comparative cost relative to alternative equipment, taking the lifetime cost of the equipment into account including repairs, maintenance and availability of spare parts; the cost, compared to the long-term cost of alternative supports which provide a similar level of independence and function. Liberator provides unlimited phone and email support (hardware, software, troubleshooting, implementation questions) for the life of the device, a free initial training session and ongoing free support to update device software in order to receive latest software features & keep device running at optimum capacity for all devices.
- Specify how the use of AT is effective and beneficial in regards to current good practice. This includes reference to published literature and the lived experience of the participant (the goal outcomes will reflect this).
- Highlight the features/ considerations that a device offers which are unavailable with less expensive options such as an iPad. For example; durability, amplification, battery life, software options and purpose of device.
- Individually discuss each relevant area of the Reasonable and Necessary supports and how the AT requested meets them.
6. Send documents to NDIS
The General Assistive Technology Assessment Form, quotes and any other supporting documentation are required to be sent to the NDIS for consideration. Contact the local NDIS region in order to determine the appropriate email address to send the documentation.
Refer to the following further information;
NDIA AT Operational Guidelines https://www.ndis.gov.au/Operational-Guideline/including-4
Assessing AT https://ndis.gov.au/providers/at/assessing-at
Reasonable and Necessary Supports https://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/reasonable-and-necessary-supports
Approved Assistive Technology Funding Process
The inconsistencies with NDIS processes have been well documented. In order to ensure that Liberator is aware of any AT approval it is paramount that the local Liberator Consultant be kept up to date with the progress of AT requests. As a participant, it is also crucial that any AT requests are followed up to ensure they have been received and processed by the NDIS. It is recommended that any contact with the NDIS be documented in case this information is required in the future.
When AT supports are approved and funding is provided, contact the local Liberator Consultant to ensure the AT has been ordered.
Once a Liberator device has been purchased, the following free support is available;
- For the life of the device:
- Unlimited telephone & email support
- Access to scheduled online trainings, when available
- Access to device-specific support documents (please see the included USB Memory Stick) o A 60-90 minute virtual training session (max 1 per year) at service transitions (e.g. transition to school, change of service provider)
- Within 2 months of receiving the new device, upon request:
- A 60-90 minute on-site (or virtual) set-up/training session with your local consultant
- On-site: free for customers within 60km of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or Perth CBD
- Additional costs: Travel greater than 60km (one way) and accommodation where required
- A 1-year subscription to the AAC Language Lab resource website
- A 1-year subscription to the Realize Language online data analysis tool