How can the Assistive Living Training and Skills project (ALTAS) help citizens? – a blog by Steve Barnard

Published: 26 October 2016

How can the Assistive Living Training and Skills project (ALTAS) help citizens?

Service providers supporting people with disabilities all state their aspirations to enhance or increase independence, safety, increased mobility, community inclusion, communication opportunities, access to employment among other things for the people they support. Recent advances in technology make these opportunities far more accessible than ever before. So why don’t service providers embrace technological solution – be they specialist or mainstream?

Currently much of the specialist technological solutions (referred to under the umbrella term of assistive technology) is available on ‘prescription’. This puts the price up and is prescribed because there is something ‘wrong’ with the individual. It is not generally made available in the support package offered as part of service provision.

People have a right to benefit from technology, whoever they are and whatever their level of need. We should see these solutions as an investment to help people achieve the aspirations mentioned above and not as a cost to society, although many of the solutions are cost-effective. Achieving something as fundamental as being able to remain living in your own home or manage your own medication shouldn’t depend on cost.

What difference will it make to citizens?

ALTAS is a project to map out the training needed to help people deliver and support technological-based solutions. There is a clear need for this type of training across the UK and Europe as there are no standards that everyone adheres to. The success of the project will depend on a wide range of stakeholders supporting the concept. This includes commissioners, regulators, providers, individuals and families.

Steve Barnard, Strategic Director of Innovation at Hft.