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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Strong calls for assistive technology bring pop-up back to Canberra

Assistive Technology Australia’s pop-up clinic was back at the University of Canberra (UC) today, Tuesday 23 February, after a strong call for its return.

People living with a disability, seniors, carers and occupational therapists called for the Independent Living Centre pop-up to return as assistive technology is vital for thousands of older residents and people with a disability in the Canberra community.

According to ACT Disability Minister, Emma Davidson, there has been a continual increase in demand for disability services across Canberra due to an aging population and an increasing understanding of the products on offer.

“The pop-up is a wonderful opportunity for people to see the technology, see all of the different products and have a think about ‘will this actually work for me?’” Ms Davidson said.

“Everyone’s different and it can be really hard for people to work things out by just shopping from a catalogue or online … The social model of disability really reminds us that disability is something that can be changed by having the right supports and services there to help you.

“The more opportunities people have to be able to do this, the better for our whole community,” she said.

Assistive Technology Australia CEO, Robyn Chapman, said coming to Canberra meant people across the region would have access to improved support for their assistive technology needs.

“Assistive technologies are important for our current and future health care services,” said Ms Chapman.

“These technologies prevent early admission to care, facilitate earlier discharge from acute and subacute health care, and allow more people to remain in their homes for longer. For people with disabilities, assistive technologies are essential to independence and full participation in the social and economic life of the community.”

Andrew Chia, Deputy CEO of Assistive Technology Australia, said the pop-up also provides tools to help both physical and mental health, giving people more power to care for themselves. 

“The demand is always there,” he said.

“The feedback was that the residents in the ACT were disappointed with the closure of the Independent Living Centre and they are really looking forward to us coming up to give them this avenue to discuss the solutions that might be out there for them.”

According to Mr Chia, the bookings to attend the pop-up were filled almost immediately.

“We even had a visitor driving two-and-a-half hours to see us.”

Ms Chapman said the hope is to be funded to have a permanent Canberra Independent Living Centre. 

“We’re grateful to the UC for supporting us to have regular outreach in the ACT via these pop-ups, which will hopefully pave the way for the development of a permanent Assistive Technology Australia centre for the Nation’s Capital.”

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