D-START (Disability - Support, Training and Resource Tool) and START (Support Training and Resources Tool)


D-START (Disability - Support, Training and Resource Tool) is a comprehensive assessment tool for the support needs of adults (16+ years) with different types, levels and combinations of disabilities living in different environments. D-START is a unique assessment tool has been developed to enable not for profit disability organisations and government institutions to provide their clients with appropriate disability related services that most effectively and efficiently allow them to achieve individual goals and quality of life outcomes.


In contrast to existing disability assessment tools, which typically assess disability in terms of lack of abilities and adaptive behaviours, locating disability to the individual, D-START assesses the support required by a person with a disability to function as independently as possible in the community, and as such, considers disability as an interaction between the person and the environment. An important implication of this kind of assessment is that the assessment focus shifts from one of classification in terms of what the person cannot do, and the aspects of community life that they consequently appear unable to participate in, to a focus on the support the person needs to participate in the community and achieve independence and quality of life outcomes in line with their personal goals.


A D-START assessment is completed online using a trained interviewer in consultation with the person with a disability and / or with a family member or carer and utilises both quantitative and qualitative information, allowing for personal comments and opinions that facilitate a more individual assessment that reflects the unique aspects of the person rather than just information about their type and level of disability.


Importantly D-START is an online assessment that generates a report that automatically presents the relevant disability information, including calculated levels of support and planning issues, in a format designed by professional staff working in the disability sector. This report not only saves a considerable amount of time that would be otherwise spent in writing reports, but it also ensures that all relevant information is provided in the report and in a format that is easy to understand and use for funding and the allocation of appropriate services.


D-START has been trialled by staff of the SA government assessing school leavers as part of their intake into disability services. Positive feedback has been received from assessors in government disability services concerning the usefulness of D-START in those services.


Commercial Applications

We are now seeking to engage disability organisations and government institutions who are interested in implementing the D-START system within their organisation to assist in the delivery of services to achieve independence and quality of life outcomes for people with disabilities. D-START can be accessed with a user licence from the Wellbeing Research Unit of the University of Adelaide.  



START (Support Training and Resources Tool) is an assessment instrument designed to:  (a) identify the support needs of secondary school students with a disability and other students who are considered to be at risk of not completing school and / or not making a successful transition to post school options; and (b) determine appropriate support services required to facilitate the progress of these students at school. Comments from teachers and students using START have indicated that it is helping the students concerned to benefit from a mentoring program designed to facilitate their progress at school. It has also been found to be very useful for counselling students and parents concerning school related difficulties experienced by students.


START provides an assessment for completion by both the student and the student's teacher which seeks relevant quantitative and qualitative information about the student in their school and home environments, including learning strengths and challenges. Importantly START is an online system that generates a report that automatically presents both quantitative and qualitative information (including verbatim comments from the student and / or teacher) and is designed to facilitate the planning and provision of individual support to help students with a disability or other students experiencing difficulties to finish school and make a successful transition to post school options.


START has been successfully trialled within Public, Catholic and Independent schools. Positive feedback concerning its usefulness has been received from assessors, students and staff.


Commercial Applications

We are now seeking expressions of interest and enquiries from schools and organisations from across Australia that are interested in implementing and evaluating the START tool and in the further development of START. It is available with a user licence from the Wellbeing Research Unit of the University of Adelaide.


Contact details for further information

Kylie Ellis

Commercial Development Manager

Adelaide Research & Innovation

e: kylie.ellis@adelaide.edu.au

Ph: +61 8 8313 6806

Patent Information:
Computer Software
For Information, Contact:
Kiara Bechta-Metti
The University of Adelaide
Neil Kirby