The Independent Living Centre WA (ILC) has released a new free app, Equip Myself, that aims to empower Australians with disability by supporting them to identify assistive equipment and technology options that could assist them in their lives.
Officially launched by Innovation Minister Bill Marmion today, Equip Myself provides users with easy access to information about the range of equipment and technology options available that could assist with their independence, safety and wellbeing.
Through a virtual world, people can explore assistive equipment and technologies in the environments in which they would be used such as the kitchen, bathroom, garden, at work, in the study, at the beach or out and about in the community.
People are also able to read real life stories about how Western Australians with disability use innovative assistive technology in their lives.
Speaking at the launch event, Anna, who features in the app, spoke about how a range of technologies and equipment enables her to live independently, be safe, get out and about in the community and stay connected with family and friends.
“I live independently in my own unit. I have a disability that changes and my muscles get weaker. I also have an intellectual disability. To keep active I like to go swimming, bowling and sailing and do yoga.
“My bathroom has been renovated to make it easier and safer for me to use. It has a sliding door, rails next to the toilet and in the shower and a smooth floor so I can move around freely. I can now use my bathroom more independently and there is less of a chance that I may have a fall.
“Just in case I do fall, I wear a pendant around my neck so if I need help I can press the button and I know someone will come and help me,” said Anna.
“To get around, I use a manual wheelchair. I could not easily access my house until my front door was made automatic and a ramp was installed. My favourite activity is taking the train into the city.
“Being able to use the computer is very important for me because I have family overseas who I keep in touch with via email. I use a trackball mouse which is more stable for me to use and the keyboard has big “sticky” keys, which means they are less sensitive to touch and require more pressure to press down than a regular keyboard.
“I also use my tablet to read and send emails and I can take this with me everywhere I go so I can keep connected to my family and friends,” said Anna.
ILC Chief Executive Officer Gerri Clay said she hoped the app would provide people with disability with easier access to information about the wide range of equipment and technology options available.
“Equipment and technology can make a big difference to people’s lives, whether it is helping them to better manage daily tasks or enabling them to achieve their goals.
“With such a wide range of products available on the market and with new technologies continually emerging it can be difficult for people to be aware of options that are available and what the best choices for them may be,” said Ms Clay.
“We hope that people find Equip Myself to be a useful tool to help with their decision making around equipment and technology options and that it gives them ideas about the types of products that could help to make a difference to their lives.”
Equip Myself is an initiative of the Independent Living Centre WA and is supported by the Disability Services Commission of WA. The app has been designed by a team including people with disabilities, health professionals, coordinators, and digital design specialists.
The ILC is a not-for-profit organisation that helps people to choose and access equipment, technology and services for their independence and wellbeing.