“Catch you on Skype!” “Email it to me.” “I will fill you in when I call you later.” These are many of the phrases we use in today’s digital age indicating the multiple ways we now stay connected. If you have a dual hearing and vision loss, though, these methods can be impossibilities if one does not have the right accommodations.
Laura Jane from North Dakota, who has significant hearing and vision loss, was being left out of communications with family and friends due to this very issue. She contacted IPAT to see if we were up to the challenge. The IPAT iCanConnnect Program fit her needs to a T.
The goal of IPAT’s iCanConnect Program, North Dakota’s National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP), “is to ensure that every person with combined hearing and vision loss has access to modern telecommunication tools and the training necessary to use them, granting every individual the opportunity to interact with the world as an involved, contributing member of society.” IPAT’s program “provides outreach, assessments, telecommunications technology and training free of charge to those who meet federal eligibility guidelines.”
Laura’s communication needs were assessed, and she received a specialized telephone with significant amplification and large talk-back numbers. In addition, this helpful phone had memory buttons, so she could use one push dialing to contact most people including doctors and emergency personnel.
To allow for communication via email, Skype and other Internet methods, Laura was provided with an iPad with built-in vision accessibility features, apps for telecommunication, and a large monitor to extend the view of the iPad . She was also provided with training to help use the system. During this training, it was discovered that Laura did much better using the iPad in conjunction with her video magnifier (as seen in the picture), which she had been using for years. This cut down on the learning curve significantly.
Laura Jane indicated that she was very happy with her new equipment and the fact she can now connect with family and friends again!
Do you know someone who is being left out of communication connections and has a dual sensory loss? Contact IPAT to see if they qualify for the iCanConnect program: 1-800-895-4728 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can download the application here.