College is in Peter Foster’s future. It may not sound like a tremendous accomplishment, until you learn that this 22-year-old Campbellsville, Kentucky man lives with Asperger and Tourette syndrome as well as combined hearing and vision loss. Since birth, Foster has undergone more than a dozen surgeries to correct facial anomalies. But his perseverance is paying off and Foster is beginning work on a career in medical research. He also received a little extra help from the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program: a new iPad Air tablet.
“It’s been such a blessing,” exclaims Foster.
The program, promoted as iCanConnect, provides equipment such as smartphones, laptops and braille devices to people with combined hearing and vision loss. The equipment – as well as one-on-one training – comes at no cost to people who meet income guidelines.
Thanks to iCanConnect, Foster is using his new iPad to take pre-college courses online, do research and keep in touch with friends and family by email. Through his iCanConnect training, Foster learned to use the device’s magnification system, the voice-to-text feature, as well as other apps sighted people access on their tablets.
“The iPad has really increased his ability to expand his horizons,” says Peter’s mother, Diane.
Eastern Kentucky University Center on Deafness & Hearing Loss administers iCanConnect in the Commonwealth. Dorothy Brame of the Kentucky Office for the Blind helped Foster get his device. She says the iPad was the right choice for him because it’s portable with accessible features. “Peter can communicate with others anywhere and spend time doing his favorite thing, which is medical research.” She says Foster expects the iPad will help him with his education and provide opportunities for employment. Foster hopes to attend Somerset Community College in the future.
iCanConnect is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more atwww.iCanConnect.org. Click on “State Partners” to find each state’s contacts. The website is accessible to users with low vision and those who use screen readers, and it features video that is both audio described and captioned. Information about iCanConnect is also available by calling 1-800-825-4595 Voice or 1-888-320-2656 TTY.