Making better disability tech

Whether permanent, temporary or as result of age, millions of Australians will experience a form of disability. How do we make tech more inclusive? Meet some of the innovators with lived experience of disability driving tech innovation in Australia.

Commonwealth Ombudsman says National Disability Insurance Agency needs significant change if it is to stop delays

The report, released this week by Ombudsman Michael Manthorpe, focuses on the agency’s handling of requests for assistive technologies and is part of several reviews by the Ombudsman into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Since the NDIS was rolled out in 2013, the number of complaints about the agency received by the Commonwealth Ombudsman has increased each year.

Improving interactions and communication  with people with little or no speech

This was the third session of the Advocacy Sector Conversations forum held on 30 July 2020. People with complex communication needs are often denied the right to make decisions about things in their lives that affect them. Just because a preference is expressed non-verbally doesn’t mean that communication isn’t happening. There are many ways to communicate other than speech and many ways we can support those who do not use speech to communicate. Dr Sheridan Forster and Dr Meredith Prain are both speech pathologists and researchers with many years experience working with people with complex and profound disabilities, including deafblindness. Both are accredited Video Interaction Guidance practitioners through the Association of Video Interaction Guidance UK , and both  have used this approach to foster improved interactions and relationships between people with complex disabilities and the family members and staff who support them.

Former Melbourne model and ballerina with rare ‘cocoon syndrome’ has NDIS claim rejected

Ms Clabassi said she had finally been granted a disability support pension last month after a long battle with Centrelink. However, after applying to the NDIS to get extra help and equipment around the home, Ms Clabassi said she was rejected last month. “They are saying they can’t classify it as being a permanent disability. Then what the hell is it? Is it the cold? Is it the flu?” she said.

Why much of the internet is closed off to blind people

As our everyday world moves increasingly online, the digital landscape presents new challenges for ensuring accessibility for the blind. A recent court challenge against Domino’s pizza may be a watershed case guiding the rights of disabled people on the internet. 

It’s designers who can make gaming more accessible for people living with disabilities

If you’ve been following recent buzz in the gaming industry, you might be under the impression that video games are more accessible than they’ve ever been. Popular talking points include how video game audiences are increasingly large and diverse.

But despite the celebratory discourse around gaming’s increased accessibility, serious efforts to make gaming accessible to people living with disability remain rare.

Report: Need for regulation of mobility scooters, also known as motorised wheelchairs

The inquiry has determined that there is considerable agreement around the need to develop less complex, nationally consistent rules and regulations relating to the use of motorised mobility devices. Based on evidence provided to the committee during its inquiry, the committee suggests that there is a high level of agreement amongst stakeholders in relation to…

ANZ rolls out new debit cards for vision impaired

ANZ has today started rolling out its new Visa debit cards, which include a range of accessibility features to assist vision-impaired Australians with their everyday banking needs. The bankannounced the cards back in November 2016 and was the first Australian financial institution to offer cards for vision-impaired customers.

Assistance dogs for hearing impaired seniors at risk

Hearing dogs have improved the quality of life for seniors who are deaf or hard of hearing, minimising the impediments that often accompany those living with hearing impairments. However, planned cuts to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may result in limited access for those who require a hearing dog.