The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) administers iCanConnect.
DRS is on a mission and its motto says it all: “Opening doors to independence and cool jobs with benefits for people with disabilities.” DRS vows to expand job opportunities as well as create financial and independent living and iCanConnect is one of the ways it is doing that. The program is providing communications devices such as laptops, tablets and braille devices to low-income people with combined hearing and vision loss. Those who qualify can receive the equipment and one-on-one training free of charge.
Meet the Program’s Manager
Jeri Cooper works as a deaf-blind specialist and rehabilitation teacher for the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. Cooper, who is blind with extremely low hearing, also manages iCanConnect. She assesses and trains clients who have significant hearing and vision loss ensuring they receive the right equipment and training to remain connected to family, friends and community.
Cooper says you never know what one device will open up a person’s world and help them communicate, but she says the technology breaks down barriers and restores independence, confidence and self-esteem.
“The biggest impact of the program is being able to communicate. It’s been a huge, huge door opening.”
Cooper says she owes her compassion to her late mother’s faith. She is a grandmother who holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation teaching for the blind.