Next month, we’ll be celebrating International Day of People with Disability. This is a United Nations observed day that is celebrated internationally on 3 December. It is an opportunity to promote public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability around the world.
COTA Victoria is very committed to issues relating to disability rights, access and inclusion. These matters are critical to our work, as disability becomes more common as people age. In fact, around 50% of people over the age of 65 have a disability or long-term health condition that impacts on their everyday lives.
We know that when provided with the appropriate support, most people with disability can continue to live full and active lives; living independently and participating in their communities. That’s why we are committed to making sure the right support is available. And over the past few years, we’ve been focusing on access to assistive technology.
“Assistive technology” sounds like a fancy term, but the concept is actually quite simple. This term refers to any aid, piece of equipment or home modification that can help someone overcome the impact of aging or disability. Some common examples include:
- Hearing aids
- Mobility scooters
- Artificial limbs
- Home modifications such as grab rails or ramps
- Specialised computer software, such as voice dictation software
All of these assistive technology solutions can be fully funded under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). You need to be under the age of 65 when making an access request for the NDIS to be eligible though, which means a lot of older people with disability miss out. Unfortunately, they can’t always get the support they need elsewhere as it either costs too much, or they need to wait too long to receive it.
You may already be aware that COTA Victoria is leading a national campaign called Assistive Technology For All, or ATFA. Through this campaign, we are advocating for the establishment of a national assistive technology program to meet the needs of the many people with disability who are excluded from the NDIS.
In the lead up to International Day of People with Disability, we are launching a Facebook group to support the work of the Assistive Technology For All campaign and are calling on anyone who is affected by this issue to get involved. The purpose of this group is:
- To provide a space for people to share information about barriers to accessing assistive technology outside the NDIS.
- To create a community that is dedicated to advocating for improved access to assistive technology for people who are excluded from the NDIS.
- To ensure the Assistive Technology For All campaign continues to be informed by the lived experience of consumers.
We believe that all older people who could benefit from assistive technology should be able to access it when they need it. If you agree with us, then please join our online community and help us advocate for change!
ATFA website: https://assistivetechforall.org.au/
ATFA Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/assistivetechforallatfa/