Becoming tech savvy with assistive digital technology

7 September, 2020

For the August meeting, the Central West (Bendigo) Regional Network were empowered to learn about  assistive digital  technology with Jeff from OneStep Education Network.

Jeff explained that he and his team works closely with individuals and their OT to identify assistive digital technology that meets their needs and enables them to live more independently.

A few members had already incorporated digital technology in their everyday life, so it was a good opportunity to share their experiences of learning how to use technology and becoming more independent. The Network was amazed to learn different types of simple and complex technology currently out there, which includes:

  • A complete voice control system integrated in iPhones operating iOS 13+ . Jeff demonstrated through video how voice is used to navigate the phone's apps, surf the web, and accurately dictate emails. The system is found in the Accessibility settings, does not depend on internet connection, and has more functions than using Siri on its own. The Apple Watch is also part of the voice control system, and can be linked to iPhones through bluetooth.

  • Using a smartphone to control the home environment, for example to open doors, close blinds, or manage indoor temperature.

  • An anti-tremor device that connects to mouse or joystick and enables smooth cursor movements when using a computer.

  • A flexible stylus that securely wraps around the hand for individuals unable to grip.

  • A specialised earphone that uses voice control to access the smartphone or computer.

  • A device that enables people to use a computer by tracking eye movements. This can be used from the bed, or in combination with voice control and other methods.


The Network then heard examples of how assistive digital technology has helped people to live and work independently:

  • A school-aged boy with SCI independently controlling his wheelchair and using his computer through lips control.

  • A farmer with SCI managing and overseeing his farm with drones.

  • A couple, who are both hearing impaired, with sensor mats place around the house so they are always aware of where their young child is.

  • A teacher with SCI using a variety of technology to teach his classes.

  • A young girl, who is legally blind, able to socialise with friends confidently, while her parents are aware of her location.

Funding bodies (NDIS, TAC, My Aged Care) are recognising the importance of assistive technology, especially during these challenging times. The Network agreed that it can be useful to find an organisation that can assist you with finding technology which you would actually use and fit your needs, potentially reduce a few hours of carer support, to help educate the funding bodies, and to help build the evidence to support your case to your funding body.

It was an informative and inspiring meeting with Jeff. Many Network members are now interested in becoming more tech savvy, and finding out how assistive digital technology can help them.

Details of our next event

Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020

02:00 PM

Zoom - online

From the comfort of your home

Meet with Ryan, Physiotherapist from Bendigo Health's Pain Rehabilitation Clinic, to discuss pain management.

Spire at 9489 0777 (toll free 1800 999 128) or [email protected]

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