Thousands of Americans who have combined hearing and vision loss may soon connect with family, friends, and community through the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program. Mandated by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the new program to provide support for the local distribution of a wide array of accessible communications technology.
The FCC is also funding a national outreach campaign to educate the public about this new program. The iCanConnect campaign will be conducted jointly by Perkins School for the Blind, the Helen Keller National Center, and FableVision.
iCanConnect will seek to ensure that everyone knows about the free communications technology and training that are now available to low-income individuals with combined hearing and vision loss. From screen enlargement software and video phones, to off-the-shelf products that are accessible or adaptable, this technology can vastly improve their quality of life.
iCanConnect aims to educate people about the availability of communications technology for this underserved population so they can remain safe and healthy, hold a job, manage a household, and contribute to the economy and the community.
“With the right technology, people with disabilities can link to information and ideas, be productive, and move ahead,” said Steven Rothstein, president of Perkins. “Perkins’ most famous student, Helen Keller, exemplified the potential of a person who is deaf-blind. We are proud to have a role in this transformational program.”