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From Isolated to Thriving: How iCanConnect Helped a Texas Man Overcome Isolation

Jack Zimmerman knows the challenges of feeling isolated. Read more to learn how iCanConnect has been a lifeline for him.

A man sits at a desk and uses a braille display and smartphone.

Jack Zimmerman, a 58-year-old Texan living with significant hearing and vision loss, knows all too well the challenges of feeling isolated. But thanks to iCanConnect, the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, Jack’s life has undergone a dramatic transformation.

iCanConnect is a national program with local contacts that provides life-changing resources to those like Jack who have significant hearing and vision loss. This FREE program equips qualified individuals with the equipment and training they need to overcome distance communication barriers.

“iCanConnect has been like a dream come true,” Jack says. “Before the program, even basic communication was a struggle for me. At the time, I still had some hearing left but unfortunately it wasn’t of much use. I could hear environmental sounds but not understand speech, so keeping up with friends and relatives was a considerable challenge,” he recalls. While Jack has always been tech-savvy, affording the necessary equipment that would help him communicate was impossible.

After Jack applied and was accepted into the program, his local iCanConnect representative met with him to review his distance communication needs and goals. Through iCanConnect, Jack received a free braille display, smartphone, and laptop computer, as well as training on how to use his new equipment. 

“iCanConnect has been my lifeline!” Jack exclaims. “I use my equipment for everything. I am deaf, so text messaging is very important to me. Email is also a big part of my life, as well as the daily tasks I do online, like shopping and communicating with merchants.”

Receiving the equipment wasn’t the only crucial element that helped change Jack’s life. “The training provided by iCanConnect was equally important,” Jack emphasizes. “It was absolutely necessary for me to be able to use my equipment successfully.”

Jack reflects on how different his life is today. “It is now much easier for me to communicate with folks,” he shares. “I’m living something approaching a more ‘normal’ life.” He acknowledges the ongoing journey of navigating being deafblind, but the isolation that once loomed large has significantly diminished.

“As a deafblind person, it is easy to feel isolated,” Jack acknowledges. “Using the equipment I received through iCanConnect to stay in touch with family, friends and others helps me feel less isolated. No man should feel like an island.”

Jack’s message is clear. “Without reservation, I recommend iCanConnect to others with hearing and vision loss,” he declares. “I’d love for more folks to benefit from the program. I simply cannot understate its value!”


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