A National Assistive Technology Ecosystem: how an AT Passport can support a user-centred model of service and support

Experts / speakers / chairs / moderators that will be involved: 
Siobhán Long, Joan O’Donnell, David Banes and Sarah Boland (some of the authors' participation may be dependent on availability of a virtual link.
Proposed format: 
Abstract / Short Description of the Proposed Session – will be published in the conference programme and the Book of Abstracts: 
Background Enable Ireland and the Disability Federation of Ireland partnered in 2016 to research and publish Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities and Older People: A discussion paper, which made several recommendations towards the establishment of a national AT ecosystem for Ireland. This partnership became FreedomTech in 2017. A key recommendation of the discussion paper was the establishment of an AT Passport. The Assistive Technology passport concept has been developed by Enable Ireland and FreedomTech as a potential solution to address the current absence of control on the part of individuals with disability and older people in navigating a path towards independence through the use of Accessible and Assistive Technologies. What is an AT Passport? The Assistive Technology Passport is a digital record of AT needs that seeks to ensure the provision of assistive technology to people with disabilities and older people in an effective, streamlined and efficient manner. It places the owner or consumer of the assistive technology at the heart of the process. In the AT passport model the accommodations and resources follow the user through life stages and locations without constant requirements for costly and time consuming review of options. The passport is a record of an individual’s AT and allied support needs, some, or all elements of which can be shared with relevant agencies/institutes including healthcare providers, schools, colleges, employers and local authorities. In effect, an AT Passport is a record of what an individual needs to live their best life at home, in education, at work and/or in their communities. The passport seeks to reduce the overhead of administration of provision and undue duplication of services which increase the costs of making AT available. With support from the Health Service Executive, FreedomTech, in partnership with three additional service providers, are currently collaborating on an ambitious project to develop a pilot AT Passport web portal and app. AT users and prospective users will be central to this pilot, contributing to the user interface design, and benefiting through the allocation of funding for the AT they require. This paper will identify current challenges as well as key learnings emerging from a dynamic collaborative process. It will also highlight the key elements required to achieve systemic change, and will point to next steps along an evolving journey. The cost/benefits of a functioning AT Passport process to both the individual and the State will be explored, and next steps will be discussed.