“I love technology!” declares Lori Wyke. Last summer, the Chattanooga, Tennessee mother of three received new communications equipment through the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, which is promoted as iCanConnect. Wyke, who is 49 years old, has Usher Syndrome, which has left her deaf with extremely limited vision.
She’s become a whiz using her iPhone 5, fourth generation iPad and MacBook Pro to communicate with family and friends. And, now Wyke is using those skills, working as a trainer with the program, helping others with combined hearing and vision loss reconnect with their world.
“I just can’t wait for other deaf-blind people to learn more with the technology,” says Wyke. “They realize they don’t have a limit. They can do anything.”
Now in its second year, iCanConnect provides wide range of modern communications technology and one-on-one training to people with significant hearing and vision loss. Familiar equipment such as iPhones and laptops, as well as braille displays, phone amplifiers and specialized adaptive software are available at no cost to people who meet income guidelines.
Monique Brazelton, who manages iCanConnect Tennessee through the Tennessee Regulatory Authority in Nashville, says, “We have a phenomenal outreach and training team who are spreading the word and making people aware of what we have to offer our deaf-blind population.”
When asked how the program impacts her personally, Wyke says, “It really does help me to help other people.”
iCanConnect is changing lives across the United States. The program is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. You can learn more at http://www.iCanConnect.org: click on “State Partners” to find each state’s contacts. The website accommodates users with low vision, people who use screen readers and features video that is both audio-described and closed captioned. Information about iCanConnect is also available by calling 1-800.825-4595 | TTY: 1-888-320-2656.