picture of video calling devices

Since 2003, ND Assistive has administered the Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Services (TEDS), also known as the Specialized Telephone Program for the State of North Dakota.

ND Assistive contracts with the ND Department of Human Services, Aging Services Division, to implement TEDS. The funds for equipment, client services, and administration for TEDS are provided through a telephone access line surcharge paid by all North Dakotans with a phone line.

Through the TEDS program, we are able to provide qualifying North Dakota residents who have a severe hearing, speech, physical, vision or cognitive impairment with free, specialized phone equipment.

The range of phone equipment available for individuals through this program has expanded tremendously over the years.  Some of the specialized phone equipment have included amplified phones, captioned phones, cellular devices, TTY phones, mobility phones, and big button phones.  Even under certain circumstances iPads have been used utilized for making phone calls and other communication.

Now smart video calling devices will qualify as specialized phone equipment under this program!  This addition to qualifying clients will truly help transform communications and give more options to individuals who are hard-of-hearing or have a physical disability.  This will include Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Grand Pads who all have smart devices with screens for video calls.

Video calling is readily available on most devices.  One example is Amazon’s, Echo Show.  An Echo Show can be set up from any smartphone which will give the Echo Show access to your contacts list. After that, you will be able to make calls by saying “Alexa, call David”.  Alexa can also call most numbers that are not in your contacts list if you spell them out (“Alexa, call 7 0 1 2…).

Our goal through the TEDS program is to find the right phone that has the right features for each client’s needs so they are able to successfully use the phone to speak with their families, friends, and other types of essential communications.  These newly added smart video calling devices will be based on the assessment and needs of each client by an assistive technology consultant.

Individuals who are experiencing difficulty using their current telephone equipment are encouraged to apply to receive assistive telephone equipment through ND Assistive’s Specialized Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Service Program (TEDS).

Here are a couple of other blogs I posted for you to learn more about the TEDS program:

For more information or for a TEDS application please visit ND Assistive’ s website or by calling 800-895-4728.

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