ARATA began as a Committee in 1993 during the first Australian Conference on Technology for People with Disabilities, hosted by the Regency Park Centre in Adelaide. Towards the end of the conference, in a brainstorming session on service delivery, participants supported the formation of a Committee to set up a national association, based on a model similar to RESNA in America.
The original Committee, which became known as the Committee for Rehabilitation & Assistive Technology (CRAT), comprised a Working Group of three people in Sydney and nine Advisors from around Australia. The Advisors’ role as a sounding board provided broad perspectives, essential in achieving the goal of a national association.
ARATA received incorporation status in the state of NSW on 24 November 1994. The first Board consisted of five members whose primary task was to put in place the necessary procedures to call for members and to organise elections in the lead up to the first full Board being appointed at the AGM in October 1995.
Today ARATA is governed by a Board of 10 members, who are each elected for a two year term. ARATA runs a biennial conference, encourages sharing of information through a listserver and represents the interests of its members in issues relating to assistive technology.
ARATA is signatory to two international agreements in the assistive technology arena.
Alliance of Assistive Technology Professional Organisations (April 2016)
This agreement supplants the Tokushima agreement originally signed in 2000.
Fellow signatories include AAATE, RESJA, RESKO, RESNA, TREATS.
The Alliance of Assistive Technology Professional Organizations is a collaboration of membership-based professional societies and associations working to advance the field of assistive technology and rehabilitation engineering to benefit people with disabilities and functional limitations of all ages. Assistive technology is a much needed solution for millions of people, yet we recognise that there are significant global challenges to providing these technologies, especially as our populations age. Some of these challenges are unique, but many more are shared across nations and cultures. We are committed to working towards equitable and reliable access to assistive technology through research, policy advocacy, educating people and organisations within and outside of the field, teaching, training, and knowledge translation. The intent of this agreement is to promote communication and information exchange, support each other's efforts, and speak with a more unified voice on international issues.
The CREATe ASIA Agreement
On 13 August 2015, ARATA signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the formation of the Coalition on Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology in Asia. The Mission is to facilitate the advancement of Rehabilitation (RE) and Assistive Technologies (AT) and promote the adoption of these technologies by the people of Asia. Fellow signatories include AT and RE services in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand