by Joe Naulty
From the Editor: Joe Naulty is the president of the Deaf-Blind Division of the National Federation of the Blind. Currently the division he heads is working hard to influence an important federal program, and here is what he would like readers of the Monitor to know about it:
The Deaf-Blind Division of the National Federation of the Blind has initiated communication with each state affiliate regarding the equipment and services available through the iCanConnect Program. People with vision and hearing loss whose income will qualify them may be eligible to receive equipment, training, and support to connect with family, friends, and the community.
iCanConnect is a federally funded program made possible by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. Project partners are the Federal Communications Commission, Perkins School for the Blind, and the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth and Adults. To be eligible, the individual must:
Many types of equipment are available including, but not limited to, refreshable Braille devices; computers; software; mobile devices; phones, and signalers. There is an assessment component to this identification process. To assist in determining which equipment is right for the individual, an iCanConnect specialist will assist in identifying, installing, and providing training for the equipment that meets the individual’s needs.
A wide range of communications technology—hardware and software—is available to suit the varying needs of those who have combined hearing and vision loss. There is also specialized equipment such as screen enlargement, screen readers, or Braille displays. A program specialist can help identify equipment to meet individual needs. Training is available once the new equipment arrives.
The Federal Communications Commission is currently in the process of making iCanConnect a permanent program. The Deaf-Blind Division of the National Federation of the Blind has information on iCanConnect in large print and Braille. Call (321) 768-9500 or email <firstname.lastname@example.org>; the information will be provided. To access iCanConnect directly, go to <www.iCanConnect.org>. At the top of the page select “choose your state”; then select the state where you live from the drop-down menu. Information pertinent to each state is provided.
Learning more about the iCanConnect program is the key to navigating the application and communicating individual needs. Just get started. This is a wonderful opportunity to get needed technology for those who qualify.
Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, Massachusetts. By phone (800) 825-4595 or TTY (888) 320-2656
New Jersey Affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, Sounding Board, Spring, 2014