For people, like me, who are living with both significant vision and hearing loss, the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, known as iCanConnect, was established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and signed into law in 2010 by President Barack Obama. The program provides accessible technology and training at no cost to recipients qualified under federal disability and income guidelines. An individual assessment determines the equipment that is granted, which includes smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, and braille displays.
iCanConnect is administered by different organizations across the United States. Helen Keller International (HKI) is one of the administrators, with offices throughout the country. In Florida, the Florida Outreach Center for the Blind issues applications and referrals to HKI. That’s where I first heard about this wonderful program.
Through the program, I received a computer with all necessary software, including ZoomText, a laser printer, and an iPhone 7 Plus. Next came the trainer, who installed everything and taught me how to handle all this great new stuff.
The iCanConnect technology specialist arrived at my front door with a guide dog, a sign language interpreter and a driver. It was amazing to be taught by this skilled trainer, who travels throughout the country, helping others learn, through his experience and by his powerful example.
I can’t expound enough about the ways I have benefitted from this excellent program. It allows me to function as a writer and lecturer. The technology enables me to stay up to date on the latest information and resources that help people living with macular diseases, and to communicate to my readers and listeners. This article is one of those very efforts, intended to inform many more people about the inclusion and equal access afforded by digital technologies.
A heartfelt thank you to President Obama and the FCC, from Jerry Rosenberg.
For more information go to: iCanConnect.org
Or Call: 800-825-4595