A third edition of the General Assistive Technology assessment template was released over a month ago.  I felt rather nervous when I first heard about it.  NDIS has been a whirlwind of constant changes to say the least.  This form has been revised 3 times in 2.5 years!

However, I have now used it for the 3rd time and I must say the new form is a definite improvement compared to the last ones albeit taking at least twice as much time to do!  Here are a few of my personal learning points:

* Part 1 – About the participant – The answer to “How much information is enough?” lies in its RELEVANCE to the AT of that the application.  You DON’T need to give away details about the AT here yet.
* Part 2 – Functional assessment – Again, relevance is the key. Remember one’s disability is the result of one’s functional deficits. Disability is not automatically the same as a functional deficit. They are not the same although similar terminologies may be used across the two E.g. when considering communication, in the sensory section, Physiotherapists may forget to include all the senses like hearing, vision as well as light touch, proprioception, etc.
* Part 3 – Recommendation and evidence of clinical / practical reasoning – This is the section where the biggest changes are and it highlights the assumptions that I have made in the past – Come on, I am a physiotherapist with 25 years of experience.  If I am prescribing an electric hi-lo bed, of course I know a bit more physio, some bed raisers, etc will not do the job!  Surprise, surprise, NDIS can’t read my mind nor assume that I know best!  So, do include not just comparable options, but the basic capacity building alternatives especially if they are cheaper.  (Cost is supposed to be one of the considerations when approving an AT application).

Another couple of significant changes are the specification of behavioural and restrictive practice considerations as well as whether the AT meets Australian or other standards.  The supplier usually has the info, otherwise, you can look it on on the ARTG register.  https://tga-search.clients.funnelback.com/s/search.html?query=&collection=tga-artg
All in all, adjusting to the disability model after being so ingrained in the medical model has been a steep learning curve. Paperwork such as this assessment template can be extra challenging (Clinicians do often complain!) but hopefully these pointers will help make for a less bumpy ride.