I’ve been a regular visitor to the ATSA Independent Living Expos since our early days of navigating parenting a child with a disability. I spent my first visit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of equipment available and displayed at the expo. At that time, I heavily depended on our therapists for equipment recommendations. But with experience comes confidence and curiosity, and I now actively seek out solutions to our equipment needs myself. Hubby and I have found we can combine our skills well in this area and the expos tend to ignite new ideas which is incredibly helpful.
The roll-out of the NDIS means consumers have more choice and control than ever before and the ATSA Independent Living Expo is a great place to explore options, learn from presentations and chat directly to manufacturers and those with expertise with a product. Speaking with manufacturers or stockists of products is also helpful in getting ideas on how people are having items funded through the NDIS. It’s invaluable information to be armed with when going into an NDIS meeting asking to have a piece of equipment funded.
ATSA Independent Expos occur every second year and last year I visited the Sydney expo on both days.This allowed me plenty of time to look at the equipment, take a brochure and then revisit anything I was keen to look at again the next day. Given the event is free, there was no cost involved and with so much to see, I found a few hours on each of the days was just right. I also find ATSA quite social, inevitably running into our previous therapists, families we’ve shared therapy with and sometimes, even members of our Have Wheelchair Will Travel community. Chatting takes time so I always allow for this when planning my visit.
Over the years I’ve seen such a change in the equipment being promoted at the expo. In my opinion it reflects the disability community’s desire to travel, embrace recreational opportunities and live a full life. While manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, shower chairs, car modification specialists and day-to-day options are on display, there’s also a fantastic range of equipment options to optimize travel and recreation pursuits. In 2015 I shared some of my finds at the ATSA Expo in a blog post which you can see
If you’re unfamiliar with the expo I think the diversity of equipment I showcase in that review is a fantastic example of the variety, not only in products but who might find a solution at the event. From something as simple as a kettle or can opener designed to help a person who has low strength in their hands due to arthritis, stroke or disability to an off-road Segway-style wheelchair which may be of benefit if living on a rural property, there’s really something for everyone. I’m always pleased to see the regular companies showcasing their products but it’s particularly exciting to find a brand-new product which is making its debut at the event.
Last year I was introduced to the Loop+ at the expo and we’ve since had the opportunity to trial it. It’s yet to be released but it’s a pad which sits under a wheelchair cushion and records pressure, movement, time in chair and other interesting facts. It’s a great example of how a new product can be found at ATSA.
ATSA DATES 2020
Wednesday 6 May – Thursday 7 May 2020`
You can check out the free seminars running at ATSA Perth here.
Wednesday 13 May – Thursday 14 May 2020
You can check out the free seminars running at ATSA Melbourne here.
TIPS FOR ATSA INDEPENDENT LIVING EXPO
Register online to save time when you arrive at the expo (I didn’t do this first expo and wasted a lot of time in a long line). Register here
Allow time to explore the expo and take a break part way through. Free coffee is provided to perk youup when needed.
Check the ATSA website for information regarding parking and public transport to the event.
If you’re a planner, check out who is exhibiting in advance.
Sydney-siders, our turn comes around again next year.
Although this is a sponsored post,those of you who have been following Have Wheelchair Will Travel for a while will know I regularly attend the event and when I do I always posts photos and informationabout the products that I think may be of interest to our community. From accessible swings, cubby houses, shower chairs, toilets and wheelchairs, I’m always keen to share my favourite finds.