Your questions on assistive technology for autism answered
In the ever-evolving landscape of autism support, technology and equipment have emerged as vital tools in enhancing communication, learning, and daily functioning for people living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Assistive technology (AT) caters to the diverse needs of those on the autism spectrum. Various devices and software such as mobile apps that aid in social interaction, and sensory modulation tools that help to manage sensory sensitivities prove the scope of assistive technology for autism is vast and continually expanding.
Assistive technology and equipment are revolutionising the way people with ASD interact with their environment and express themselves. These innovative tools are opening new doors of opportunity and empowerment for those living with autism and funding from the NDIS can help you to access them.
What assistive technology is used for autism?
Assistive technology for autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) encompasses a wide range of tools and devices designed to support communication, learning, and daily functioning for those living with autism. These technologies can be particularly beneficial in addressing the diverse challenges and enhancing the unique strengths of individuals with ASD.
Some assistive technology for autism examples include:
- Speech generating devices (SGDs) help those who are non verbal or have limited speech to communicate effectively. They range from simple button-based devices to complex systems that generate synthesised speech.
- Picture exchange communication systems (PECS) use picture symbols to enable communication. This is especially useful for those who are more visually oriented.
Educational software and apps
- Learning apps are designed to aid in learning and skill development and cover areas such as literacy, numeracy and social skills.
- Visual schedule apps help people with autism to understand and manage daily routines, and reduce anxiety associated with unpredictability.
Sensory integration tools
- Sensory modulation devices such as weighted blankets, noise cancelling headphones, and tactile toys can help manage sensory sensitivities.
- Visual and auditory stimulation tools provide controlled sensory output, such as visual light displays or auditory feedback devices, which can be soothing.
Social skills training tools
- Virtual reality (VR) and video modelling are technologies that offer safe and controlled environments for practising social skills and understanding various social scenarios.
- Social story apps create personalised stories to teach social norms and behaviours.
Mobility and navigation aids
- GPS trackers and apps can provide location tracking and geofencing for the safety of those who might wander or get lost.
- Visual navigation aids provide visual cues and directions to assist in navigating unfamiliar environments.
Behavioural and emotional regulation tools
- Biofeedback devices monitor physiological responses and can help individuals to learn to control their reactions to stress and anxiety.
- Mood tracking apps help to track emotional states and triggers, aiding in emotional regulation.
Assistive writing tools
- Word prediction software can aid those who struggle with writing and help them to communicate more effectively.
- Graphic organisers are visual tools that assist in organising thoughts and ideas and are useful for writing and comprehension.
- Adaptive keyboards and mice help those with motor skills challenges.
- Touchscreen devices can often be more intuitive for people with autism, allowing for direct manipulation of items on a screen.
How to claim assistive technology in NDIS?
If you believe you could benefit from different forms of AT, the NDIS can help you to access funding to cover the costs of these devices. Before claiming any assistive technology, you’ll need an assessment from a professional such as an occupational therapist, speech therapist, or physiotherapist. They will evaluate your needs and can recommend specific types of assistive technology that will be beneficial for you. They can then write a report on how the recommended AT will assist you in achieving your goals in your NDIS plan.
Discuss you need for AT in your NDIS planning meeting to ensure it is included in your plan. The NDIS will categorise AT into different complexity levels which can help to determine how it will be funded.
For low cost and low-risk AT such as simple softwares, you may be able to purchase these directly using your NDIS funding without further approval. However, for more complex or expensive AT, you will need to get approval from the NDIA. Make sure to submit the assessment report from your therapist and any quotes for the AT to the NDIA for approval.
You can purchase the AT either through NDIS registered providers or other suppliers. Make sure you keep all your receipts and invoices for record keeping and auditing purposes. Your funding will reimburse you for the costs involved in different ways, depending on how your plan is managed:
- NDIS managed – the provider will directly bill the NDIS.
- Plan managed – your plan manager will pay the provider on your behalf and claim for reimbursement from the NDIS.
- Self managed – you will be the one to pay the provider and then claim reimbursement from the NDIS through the participant portal.
Our team at Maple is here to guide you through the process of receiving equipment and technology through your NDIS funding. Reach out to us today to find out more about AT for autism.
Learn more about Autism NDIS Support
The Maple Commitment
Whether its a query about the services we provide, or just a general enquiry, we would love to hear from you!