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What is an Assistive Technology Assessment?
Autism SA Speech Pathologists and Occupational Therapists provide Assistive Technology (AT) Assessments and advice for individuals on the autism spectrum of all ages.
An assessment will assist in determining an individual’s AT needs, and how that technology can best be used to provide support to achieve the goals set out in their NDIS Plan. The scope of assessments can include both Low Risk and/or Higher Risk assistive technologies.
Low Risk assistive technology products can generally be used with only limited need for advice or set up support from assistive technology advisors to use them safely.
Higher Risk technology products will usually require advice from an Autism SA qualified assistive technology practitioner (e.g., a Speech Pathologist or Occupational Therapist) to select the right equipment to achieve positive outcomes.
Assistive technology is any device or system that allows individuals to perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to do, or increases the ease and safety with which tasks can be performed.
What are the benefits of an Assistive Technology Assessment?
Assistive technologies (AT) are physical supports that help users to do something more easily or safely, or to do something they otherwise cannot do.
An Assistive Technology Assessment will determine an individual’s AT needs in a range of areas:
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to forms of communication other than speech and can include AAC systems and assistive technologies. AAC can support autistic individuals in the development of communication skills when their speech is slow to develop, is limited, or is difficult to understand.
An Assistive Technology Assessment can determine whether an individual on the spectrum would benefit from using assistive technology, such as:
- Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
- Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (PODD)
- Aided Language Stimulation (ALS)
- Voice-output communication aids (VOCA), or
- Mainstream electronic computer technology, e.g., iPad.
Mealtime assistive technology
A mealtime assessment is undertaken by Autism SA Speech Pathologists and Occupational Therapists may lead to assistive technology being included as part of an Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plan.
Mealtime AT can include modified eating and drinking utensils that are weighted or have grips, non-slip plates and bowls, and height-adjustable tables, for instance.
Sensory based AT items and equipment
Individuals with autism can experience sensory inputs in significantly different ways. They can be hypersensitive to stimuli like light, temperature, textures and clothing, or undersensitive and so do not respond to stimuli such as heat or cold. An individual can be both oversensitive and undersensitive to different stimuli.
Likewise, individuals on the spectrum can have difficulty with sensory modulation (the ability to filter out less important sensory information) and so can feel overwhelmed by too many inputs. This sort of sensory overload can be painful for some.
Sensory assistive technology can help autistic children and adults to engage their senses, such as touch, smell, sight, taste, hearing, movement and balance, and/or can assist in reducing any feelings of discomfort or fear that may be associated with some sensory inputs.
Sensory assistive technology can help autistic children and adults to engage their senses, and/or can assist in reducing any feelings of discomfort or fear that may be associated with some sensory inputs.
Adapted seating items and equipment
It can sometimes be the case that children and adults with autism require additional seating support and positioning assistance. In addition, they may benefit from active seating, which enables them to move, encouraging flexibility.
An AT assessment can determine an individual’s adapted seating needs, and whether the use of technology and equipment will enhance comfort and health, and support independence.
Self-care and independence items and equipment
Autism SA occupational therapists and speech pathologists can assess and determine whether self-care and independence assistive technology will support an individual to achieve the goals set out in their NDIS Plan.
This can include both Low Risk and Higher Risk at supports, which help users to live independently or assist a carer in supporting them. It can also include assistive technology for an individual’s care or safety and personal mobility equipment that enables users to move around their home or in the community with greater independence.
Autism SA provides AT assessments for children aged 0-6 years to determine whether technologies can be used that will to support them and their parents/carers to achieve the goals set out in their NDIS Plans.
For school-aged children, an assistive technology assessment can provide advice on technology that can be used at school, at home and in the community to enhance capacity and support self-care and independence.
School leavers and adults
A wide variety of assistive technology can be included in NDIS Plans for adults if it meets the reasonable and necessary criteria and fulfilling an individual’s needs and helping them to pursue their goals. This includes both Low Risk and Higher Risk items and equipment.
How can I get an assessment?
For more information about supports and services at Autism SA, please contact My Pathways on 1300 288 476 or email@example.com.
Autism SA is accredited and registered as a provider through the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). This means that you can pay for services at Autism SA with your NDIS funding, or you may pay yourself, through fee for service.