Independent Living Assessment (ILA) has launched a free assistive technology portal designed to provide information and peer support about AT for people with disability.
The portal is an initiative of ILA’s AT Chat, a community of over 5000 PwD around Australia who can use the platform to share their lived experience and knowledge of AT.
ILA, established in 2020 by Indigo (formerly Independent Living Centre WA), says it can be difficult for people to find impartial information to help then make decisions about AT.
AT Chat co-designed the portal with members of the disability community to help them navigate and select AT.
The federally-funded initiative was designed over three years with support from AT Chat research partner Dr Natasha Layton from Monash University.
The portal offers a central hub where PwD can search through more than 15,000 products via the National Equipment Database (NED) and store the information about the make, model, and service schedule of each piece of technology.
Users can also connect with AT navigators who can answer questions, research information and provide solutions.
Navigators are AT users with specialised training from a health professional who can use their lived experience with disability to support their peers.
AT Navigator, Martin Duff says working with AT Chat is an opportunity to share his experience with others.
“AT has made such a big impact on me, so guiding people to find the right ‘AT fit’ that suited them, was a challenge I was excited to be a part of,” he said.
Together, with the AT Portal, the new e-Learning platform AT Discover provides the community with a place to learn from peer-led modules.
The e-Learning tool provides users with the opportunity to learn more about a range of AT topics at their own pace.
AT Chat is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services through an Information, Linkages and Capacity Building Grant.