Assistive communication devices

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What is an assistive communication device?

RAP Schedule number

BA04 [refer to RAP Schedule]

Definition of ‘assistive communication device’

DVA defines an assistive communication device as one which assists clients who have complex communication needs. Devices may include:

  • Dedicated speech-generating devices
  • Computers (personal computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones) with augmentative and alternate communications (AAC) applications (software must be additional to standard product operating system)
  • Voice amplifiers

DVA will only provide one assistive communication device per client, unless there is an assessed clinical need to the contrary.

Note: Computers are provided solely for the purpose of running speech pathology applications. Provision for any other purpose will not be considered. A smart phone will only be supplied where the client has a particular need that cannot be fulfilled by a tablet.

DVA does not fund additional software, accessories (e.g. cases, screen protectors, headphones, additional chargers), antivirus applications, mobile phone plans or internet access. This is the responsibility of the client.


The DVA client must have an assessed clinical need and a:

  • Gold Card; or
  • White Card with an accepted condition relating to the clinical need for the equipment.

The client also needs to have complex communication needs, and sufficient physical and cognitive abilities to operate the device.


How to prescribe an assistive communication device

Suitably Qualified Health Provider

Assistive communications devices must be prescribed by a suitably qualified assessing health provider. For this item, these include:

  • Speech Pathologist (SP);
  • Specialist (S) (includes all medical specialists in relevant field); or
  • Audiologist (A) — may assess for a speech processor.

Prior Approval

Prior approval is required for the supply of all assistive communications devices and apps/software.

Deciding on the most appropriate item

An assessment needs to be conducted by a suitably qualified assessing health provider to determine the clinical need for the assistive communication device.

Request for item

The suitably qualified assessing health provider should complete and email the D1382 — Request for assistive communication device and/or speech pathology applications form and any supporting documentation as detailed below to DVA rapgeneralenquiries [at] (RAPGeneralEnquiries[at]dva[dot]gov[dot]au) for consideration through the prior approval process.

Supporting documentation for prior approval request

Supporting documentation must be attached with the prior approval request and should include:

  • clinical information to support the need for the assistive communication device;
  • information about options for alternative equipment trialled or considered to meet the clinical need; and
  • the quote including support and training required if approved.

Additional information

More information about assistive communication devices

Australian Standards and legislative requirements

There are no Australian Standards for assistive communication devices. If Australian Standards are developed, compliance would be required.

Health Provider Hotline

Health Providers can contact DVA for any enquiries by calling the Provider Hotline:
1800 550 457
(Please press Option 1 when prompted for RAP, or Option 3 for prior health approvals).

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