online occupational therapy

Online Assistive Technology (AT) Assessment

Carla Minnican, Occupational Therapist

What is an Assistive Technology Assessment?

Assistive technology encompasses all products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working and daily living for a person with disabilities. AT can be low-tech, high-tech, customised, or basic. An AT assessment is the process you undergo with one of our expert OTs to explore the best AT solutions for you.

Can an Assistive Technology Assessment be completed via telehealth?

Yes! A growing body of evidence shows that online delivery of therapy can be as effective as face to face. Online therapy has many other benefits too, including being convenient and accessible for people in regional and rural areas.

At Umbo, we listen to your story and lived experience in your own words. We wholeheartedly agree that you are the expert in your own life and that you understand your disability better than anyone.

How long will it take?

A typical assistive technology assessment lasts between 1-3 hours, depending on the complexity of the participant’s situation and the capacity of the client. Multiple sessions may be required to trial equipment and explore alternatives. Further time is then required for report writing and follow-up as needed.

What does it involve?

In the first appointment, you and your therapist will discuss any difficulties you may be having and goals you would like to achieve. They will consider things like whether there are any environmental challenges that can be altered, whether there are any portable AT solutions to assist you in the community and discuss any safety and security considerations of AT solutions. We will then collaboratively go through all your options in detail and decide which AT solutions will best suit your needs. From there, we work closely with you to arrange trials. Our experienced therapists will develop a report providing clinical evidence to assist you to access funding for the equipment.

Your OT will provide you with an estimate of when to expect your report. Time will vary depending on the complexity of the AT solution. For example, a report for an AT solution considered high-risk will take longer to write as it requires in-depth reporting and analysis for approval.

After the AT report has been submitted, the NDIA will process the request and advise the participant and their OT of the outcome. Upon approval, your OT can assist you with training and ongoing support.

Common AT assessments completed via telehealth can include:

  • Aids for daily living, such as dressing aids, modified cutlery etc
  • Aids to assist personal hygiene, such as shower chairs, over toilet frames and specialised commodes.
  • Aids to assist with transfers, including small threshold ramps and lift recliners
  • Mobility aids, such as basic wheelchairs
  • Seating and positioning aids, such as pressure cushions, mattresses, and electric beds
  • Specialised adaptive equipment to enable you to meet your recreational goals, such as adaptive controls for video games, adapted golf clubs etc

Not all AT assessments can be completed via telehealth, such as electric wheelchair assessments and complex mobility aids. However, as your AT solutions are as unique as you are, our OTs will take the time to find out what will work for you.

Do I need to bring anything/have anything ready?

Providing your therapist with relevant information/documents will help them get a good understanding of your situation and write the best report they can! This might include your current NDIS plan, and any reports/letters from other health professionals including allied health, general practitioners, or specialists. As we are an online service only, it is best to upload these to our secure online client information form. Please know, that providing this additional information is completely voluntary and we ask that you only share documents that you feel comfortable sharing.