STRATEGIC GOAL 1 Influence policy and sector development to ensure access to AT products and service for those who need it
ARATA President Dr Natasha Layton was elected Independent Chair of the National Assistive Technology Alliance at the second strategy day held in Melbourne on 30 April, 2018, one year after NATA first commenced. Modelled on the successful National Aged Care Alliance, this growing number of national organisations across AT, disability, aged care and allied heath meet regularly to inform each other, share resources and strategically influence sector reforms. Read more at http://www.arata.org.au/access-&-funding/towards-a-national-assistive-technology-alliance/
STRATEGIC GOAL 2 Support and develop assistive technology education and research by promoting specialised skills and knowledge
The Self-credentialing project is a longstanding, evidence-based project ( see Summers, M., & Walker, L. (2013). Options Paper for a National Accreditation System for Assistive Technology Prescribers and Suppliers http://www.arata.org.au/index.cfm//access-&-funding/ndis/ ) Current policy changes such as NDIS and the Aged Care Reforms make it even more essential to have tools to inform and to support user choice within individualised funding contexts. The intent is to enable AT practitioners (this includes professionals, expert AT users, AT suppliers and other stakeholders with expertise) to identify their skillsets against a set of ‘good practice’ dimensions and make this information available via the ARATA membership directory. Based on extensive work by the Credentialing Committee, the ARATA Board are currently identifying feasible online options to pilot this; evaluating the data capture and search requirements; and considering the legal and organisations impacts of such a directory. We are examining similar initiatives (https://clickability.com.au; mycarespace.com.au; www.yourchoiceau.com) and will be working with the Credentialing Committee, led by Rachael Schmidt and Liz Nade, to evaluate the best way forward.
STRATEGIC GOAL 3 Develop strengthen and support local and global assistive technology communities
Recent work in Africa by ARATA members Natasha Layton and Rob Bingham has generated interest in forming an assistive technology community of practice within Southern Africa. An email list and resource dropbox have been established for interested African and other AT practitioners, run by Natasha Layton and by Diane Bell of Stellenboch University, South Africa. Current projects include a sustainable seating project in the Rift Valley, and an audit of African disability research. ARATA members with an interest in supporting Low and Middle Income Countries, or with connections to Africa, are invited to join this international group to stimulate its development and share knowledge. For more information see https://committee.iso.org/sites/tc173/social-links/events.html or contact Natasha.
STRATEGIC GOAL 4 Ensure ARATA’s sustainability, financial viability and relevance.
ARATA members will have noted the renewal cycle for membership has commenced. This year, the hardworking Board (particularly our Treasurer) are benefitting from the services of our professional administration company, Association Professionals. We welcome your feedback on these new processes – and remind you to check your SPAM filter for any automated reminders. Organisational membership is now an option and this is strongly recommended to ensure your company becomes an ARATA member, and connection to ARATA does not therefore rely on one individual. See https://www.arata.org.au/membership/join-now/