There is nothing more heartwarming during the holiday season than being
connected to those we love. For thousands of Americans who suffer from
combined hearing and vision loss, the simple act of human connection is
often just out of reach. Not so anymore, thanks to a new federal
initiative - the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program
(NDBEDP) - which grants technology, to those who qualify, for free.
There is a vast array of equipment available that can be tailored to
individual needs: be it a grandmother who can no longer read the letters
on her computer and is struggling to hear the sound of her grandchild's
voice on the phone; or, a college student who was born deaf and is now
losing his sight but still dreams of pursuing a degree; or, a grade
school child, born deaf-blind, who wants to be able to communicate with
her siblings-this program makes connecting to the world a lot easier.
The program has an outreach component called iCanConnect. The Website www.iCanConnect.org
contains information about eligibility, state contacts, news and
equipment options and links to connect with specialists who can help
with the process.
"Modern telecommunications have changed the world, connecting people in
ways that were previously impossible. For a person who is deaf-blind
these advances provide valuable connections," said Steven Rothstein,
President of Perkins in Watertown, MA. "There is no better gift,
especially this time of year."
The iCanConnect campaign was developed by Perkins
Keller National Center to raise awareness about the NDBEDP. Mandated
by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility
Act (CVAA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established this
new program to ensure every person with combined hearing and vision loss
has access to modern communications tools and the training necessary to
"iCanConnect furthers Helen Keller National Center's mission to enable
each person who is deaf-blind to live and work in his or her community
of choice," said Executive Director Joe McNulty. "The program also helps
transcend disabilities and connect families."
Additional information is available by phone at 1-800-825-4595,
or through the FCC at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/national-deaf-blind-equipment-distribution-program.
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