Make Funding available for IOS devices On our NDIS
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The NDIS doesn’t seam to realise on how important making funding available for IOS devices in a participants NDIS plan.
A spokes person from NDIS said that The NDIS does not generally fund iPhones or other smart phones as they are widely owned and used devices. If there are certain apps that relate directly to a participant’s goals and support needs, and are beneficial to them reaching those goals, the cost of those apps can be funded in an NDIS plan.
I understand that smart phones are widely owned but what the NDIS doesn’t seam to realise that these devices come with many apps, both inbuilt and freely available to download, which greatly assist people who are blind or vision impaired. To name a few examples, an app called “Money Reader” will identify bank notes. Seeing AI by Microsoft for example, will identify print on packaging or signage and automatically read it out in audio format with help from the built in screen Reader named Voice Over which is the operating system that comes with all apple devices.
Its the Developers that Create these apps for these devices to work with the voice over screen reader but these devices are expensive to purchase for someone with a disability on a low income specially for people who are blind or vision impaired.
These devices such as smart Phones can also assist in so many different ways there are a variety of GPS apps, both free and paid, which will give people who are blind or vision impaired turn by turn directions when travelling. This provides an extra sense of security and certainty when travelling on a bus or in a taxi. Public transport apps provide information in an accessible format about the routes and transport methods required to reach destinations. The list goes onn.
The key point to consider however, is that it must be remembered that the unemployment rate among people who are blind or vision impaired stands at four times the national average. While the figure has decreased from the 2012 finding from Vision Australia that 58% of people who were blind or vision impaired are unemployed, the rate still stands at more than 20% and that is just the official figure. Many people do not participate in attempting to find employment because of the huge attitudinal barriers that exist among potential employers across all sectors.
Taking this into consideration, it is therefore difficult to imagine how a person who is blind or vision impaired whose only income is the Disability Support Pension (blind), could easily afford the cost of a smartphone or IOS device.
Thirdly, and most importantly, because of the list of apps mentioned above, these devices have the potential to make people who are blind or vision impaired a great deal more independent and productive than they otherwise might be. Being able to travel, order groceries, access newspapers, manage banking and bills independently is not a luxury. These are tasks which people who are sighted take for granted and expect to be able to complete independently. IOS devices provide the ability for people who are blind or vision impaired, many of whom are unemployed as mentioned, with such capacity. Indeed, these devices can greatly assist people who are blind or vision impaired in becoming more employable.
Given this potential, and what these devices contribute to the lives of many people who are not in a position to afford them, it appears entirely reasonable and necessary to BCA that these devices should be funded under the NDIS. It needs to be stressed that they are not luxury items. They are necessary tools without which in today’s fast paced environment, people who are blind or vision impaired are at a disadvantage
these devices don't only help with employment they will help people who attend back to study
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