Update: Processes for provision of AAC AT

During a recent NDIS Provider Update the following information was provided:

  • All items of Assistive Technology that are at Level 3 or 4 on the Assistive Technology (AT) Complexity Level Classification require Providers to complete and submit an AT Request, preferably using the NDIS General AT Assessment Template, and ideally before or during the planning Process so that the funding can be allocated within the Plan without requiring a review.
  • All AAC AT identified in the Assistive Technology Complexity Level Classification is at Levels 3 or 4. There was no AAC AT identified at Levels 1 or 2 on this document.
  • The funding supports under the new process for provision of low risk/low cost AT is provided as up to 3 packages of $500 i.e. up to $1500 per Plan. This is the maximum funding available for purchase of AT, whatever number and type of AT items are being purchased using this process. It is unclear what process would occur if the total requests for low risk/low cost AT for an individual participant would require a budget of more than $1500 in their plan.

This information differs from the information included in the August edition of Speak Out, which came from what we understood to be reliable and informed sources i.e. any AAC AT item costing under $1500 should be provided using the new process.

The classification of AAC AT at Levels 3 or 4 in this document is also apparently at odds with the level of classification in the Participant Fact Sheet – Basic (Level 1) and Standard (Level 2) Assistive Technology. This document lists a range of AAC AT items at Level 1 (see below).

Everyday use products with specific features that address the participant’s communication limitations due to their disability, these can include items such as:

  • low tech communication boards
  • low tech communication books
  • low tech visual schedules
  • Picture Exchange Communication Symbols (PECS) books. Cost varies depending upon the number of symbols that are required
  • replacement only low cost electronic communicator – e.g. BIGmack, LITTLEmack, Step by Step communicator, Step by Step communicator with levels, Talking buttons, Buddy buttons
  • replacement talking brix (First request requires a clinical assessment and justification)
  • replacement only for adaptive switches - Jelly Bean switch is only one example of switches. Switches can vary from Orby switch, through to leaf switch. Jelly Bean switches are probably the most commonly used switch low technology
  • Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (PODD) books.

Given this disparity, it may be possible to arrange for purchase of items such as those listed above using the new more streamlined process, which doesn’t require completion of a request and AT Assessment form, as long as the items can be provided within a $1500 per annum AT budget.

It seems that provision of other AAC AT, including tablets and AAC apps will occur under the ‘old’ process, regardless of whether the item costs less than $1500.

The Association apologises for any inconvenience caused to members who based their actions on our information, only to be asked to do something different or additional by the Planner or LAC.

We are seeking further clarification and confirmation and will keep members updated.