Individual assessment for assistive technology solutions (AT) is often carried out as a specialist consultation in Assistive Technology Centres (ATCs). The SIVA service of the Don Gnocchi Foundation was the ATCs pioneer in Italy: over 30 year of activity it offered about 23.000 individual consultations to clients from all over the country, and developed methodologies and protocols for provision of this service. It also established a national AT information system-first as a local database, then as a web Portal (Portale SIVA) that later was the initiator of the European Assistive Technology Information Network (EASTIN)-and various educational initiatives including a Postgraduate Course and a permanent educational programme composed of monthly Seminars. These activities helped disseminate AT knowledge to end-users, health care professionals, industrialists and policy makers; contributed to the establishment of other ATCs throughout Italy; they also led to a gradual change in the profile of clients applying for individual consultation. As time evolved, the clients' requests tended to be more focused and complex, as answers to simpler problems could be more often found in their community services, or in local ATCs, or even online through the SIVA and the EASTIN portals. This article offers a retrospective look at this thirty-years experience, which in turn is divided into three ten-years phases: the 'pioneer' age (1983-1992, in which the service gradually took shape), the 'maturity' age (1993-2002, in which the service operated as a self-standing Unit with nation-wide scope) and the 'integration' age (2003-2012, in which the service was up-taken by the clinical rehabilitation services of the Don Gnocchi Foundation). Evolutions in the clients' profiles, in the topics dealt with and in the organisational models, are discussed and correlated to the parallel evolution of the information system and the educational activities.