Girl using ipad with help from therapist

Funding assistive technology through the NDIS

There are so many kinds of equipment and assistive technology that are designed to make life easier for people with a disability. Some are cutting edge and high tech while other items are more basic but potentially just as life changing.

To purchase equipment or assistive technology through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), you will need to have Assistive Technology (AT)  included in your NDIS plan or your therapist can write a report recommending that your plan is reviewed to include necessary/appropriate AT. When you first access the NDIS or review your plan, talk to you NDIS Planner about what equipment you need, as well as, how the equipment will help you to participate in your community.

Your  NDIS plan can include funding for an Assistive Technology assessment. This assessment can help both a participant and the NDIA to understand what the most appropriate Assistive Technology solutions are. Your Montrose therapist can help complete the assessment.

What can I access?

A wide range of disability related equipment and assistive technology can be accessed under the NDIS. The process varies according to the type and cost.

Level 1 (basic): This tends to be simpler, cheaper equipment that does not need to be customised. It can usually be bought ‘off the shelf’.  Examples include: nonslip bathmats, large print labels, doorbells, etc.

Level 2 (standard): These also tend to be ‘off the shelf’ items that participants can test and trial before making a final choice themselves. Examples include: handrails and walkers, PODD books.

Level 3 (specialised): Equipment in this category will usually require some modification to suit your needs. Examples include,  PODD books, home or bathroom adaptions, pressure mattresses, etc.

Level 4 (complex): The top level is for items that have to be custom designed or built and/ or heavily modified to suit the individual. This can include more complex home modifications that require major structural change, speech generating devices etc.

Level 1 items Do not need specific approval from the NDIS before purchase, Level 2 items may require an assessment while items classified under levels 3 and 4 will require trial, assessment, approval and specialised support. More details about these levels can be found on the NDIS website here. You can also check the latest NDIS price guide for more information.

How does the assistive technology process work?

Some of this might be sounding quite complicated already so let’s break it down a bit.

1 – Talk to your therapist  

In most cases you’ll need help from one of our therapy team. They can assess your need for the equipment and help you find the right solution as well as getting quotes. We can also help you approach the NDIS to ensure you have the required funding. If you don’t want to interrupt your therapy schedule, you could book a special meeting to discuss equipment.  If you have therapy in your NDIS plan, the NDIS will fund the appointments to do this. An AT assessment report may be required regarding the successful trial of a level 1 or 2 AT item – your therapist can help you to schedule the trial of the AT item.

2 – Get quotes

Your therapist can support you to get a quote or multiple quotes as required. Providers must be registered with the NDIS.

3 – Submit your quote

You’ll need to submit your quote and any relevant AT assessment/trial reports that have been completed by your therapist to the NDIS. Your therapist can help with this.

4 – Get the invoice approved and paid by the NDIS 

Once the NDIS has approved your quote, ask the supplier for an invoice. This can be paid just like any other NDIS invoice. Talk to your Plan Manager if you have one.

5 – Get your equipment delivered

After the invoice is approved and paid, you will need to order the item from the manufacturer/ supplier. Again, your therapist may help with this process. Delivery times can vary so make sure you check this. In some cases, the NDIS can fund hire of equipment if there is a long wait for delivery.

Don’t forget maintenance costs

The NDIS can fund repair and maintenance costs but you need to ask! It may not be automatically included so don’t forget to request this at your planning meeting.

What is Assistive Technology?

The NDIS definition of Assistive Technology is based on the World Health Organisation definition of “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”.

It’s easy to focus on the word “technology” as meaning electronic or computer related. In reality though, it can be anything that makes life easier and can include anything from the very basic to high tech.

Young girl using an IpadHow Montrose therapists can help with equipment and assistive technology

Our therapists can help with prescription and selection of equipment. Depending on your needs, you may require input from one or several of our therapy team.

How can Occupational Therapists help with Assistive Technology?

  • Use of ‘low’ technology – this includes assistance with typing at school, alter switches, keyboards, computer mouse, tracking devices, apps to help classroom work
  • Prescribing equipment within the home – Shower commode, hoist, pressure mattress, continence aids (nappies), ramps, activity chairs, wheelchair attachments (Mounting systems for IPad and Eye Gaze), assistive technology for dressing, assistive technology for eating and drinking
  • Prescribing equipment for vehicles (If the customer is a passenger) – Specialised car seats, wheelchair accessible vehicles, ramps, hoist
  • Training in use of prescribed equipment
  • Minor home modifications – rails, small ramps (1-2 steps) and removal of shower screens
  • ‘High’ Tech items – computers, laptops, tablets/IPads. Please discuss these options with your therapist as their use needs to be specifically related to your disability.

How can Speech Therapists can help with Assistive Technology?

  • Low tech and high tech alternative communication methods – Key word sign, picture exchange communication systems, switch access, PODD Books, text to speech devices, Core Vocabulary board, IPad/tablet communication software (E.g. PODD, Proloquo2go, SNAP + core, LAMP words for life, Eye Gaze)
  • Communication equipment trials, prescriptions and training

How can Physiotherapists help with Assistive Technology?

  • Equipment applications for – Powerdrive wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, buggys, strollers, pressure relief cushions, beach wheelchairs, standing frames, modified tricycles, walking aids etc.
  • Training in use of prescribed equipment
  • Advice about appropriate physical supports and equipment to promote skills development including toys, orthotics etc.

Assistive Technology for autism

Assistive technology can support communication for people with autism, whatever their level of speech ability.

In particular, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) has benefits that can benefit people with autism by expanding their communication abilities. With the support of your therapist, appropriate AAC options can have significant benefits – such as facilitating social interactions with others and increasing independence.


You can access Montrose Physio, OT and Speech Pathology using TeleTherapy

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