Adriana Antoci is a highly accomplished young woman. With total hearing loss and only 20 percent vision, she communicates expressively through sign language and teaches others at the Helen Keller National Center in New York.
Still, she has struggled to communicate with friends and family from afar, and found her herself frustrated by how hard it was to use her smartphone and computer.
"Distance communication can be a problem for me because I can’t depend on my vision and I can’t depend on my hearing," she said, signing through an interpreter. "I was able to use my vision before, but navigating my iPhone was difficult and reading on the computer was very difficult. I was not familiar with programs that could help, for example ZoomText."
Then she learned about iCanConnect, also known as the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, which provided her with equipment that gave her direct access to her loved ones and the world.
"There were challenges for me before I got the equipment," she said. "Learning to use the new technology was also challenging," she added. "But it helped me reach the outside world. I can communicate with friends and family, and now I will not be missing anything."
The ability to communicate easily and privately, via email and text using her new iPhone and iPad, has given her more autonomy and direction in her life.
"Before, I was very frustrated," she said. "I wasn’t sure about my goals, I wasn’t able to access printed information. I wasn’t aware of what I could get visually." Now, she easily communicates via email using her Apple MacBook.
"Asking others to read my emails or my mail, I felt a lack of privacy," she said. "Now, I can communicate directly. I can be private with my texts when I’m connecting with family and friends, and that has given me a lot of freedom."