iCanConnect is administered in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Office for the Promotion of Independent Living, which administers several programs for people with disabilities. The iCanConnect program brings assistive technology to people with significant hearing and vision loss throughout the state.
In 2017, DHS partnered with the Center for Deaf-Blind Persons and the Wisconsin Deafblind Technical Assistance Project (WDBTAP) to administer iCanConnect Wisconsin.
The Center for Deaf-Blind Persons is Wisconsin’s only agency specializing in services for people who are totally deaf and blind or who have varying degrees of dual sensory loss. The Wisconsin Deafblind Technical Assistance Project is a federally funded technical assistance project which serves as a resource to families, agencies and schools to support infants, children, and youth from birth to age 21 with combined vision and hearing loss.
Through iCanConnect, these partner agencies provide the technology and training needed for distance communication with equipment such as smartphones, tablets and braille devices free of charge to those who qualify.
Program Impact. (Please note names/genders have been changed.)
Once Terry received his iPad, he immediately set out to find his friends from high school and college. He was so successful that several of them decided to take a group trip to Las Vegas. Terry had a great time and continues to stay in touch with these friends.
Lucy started out learning Facebook and then wanted help with video chats and utilizing iBooks. Lucy became frustrated with these tasks since she was trying to learn them on her own and had disconnected all of her technology. This included the iPhone, speakers, and braille display. An instructor from the iCanConnect program met with Lucy to conduct additional training. Lucy feels she needs to master this technology since it is her lifeline to the world. She wants people to know she exists!
As one consumer noted, now that he has his own equipment to access various forms of communication – email, internet, Facebook, LinkedIn, the “playing field has been leveled.” Like everyone else accessing the internet and social media, he is anonymous. No one knows he is deaf-blind.
Jolene Gruber (608) 356-0091
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Center for Deaf-Blind Persons, Wisconsin Deaf-Blind Technical Assistance Project
Center for Deaf-Blind Persons, Inc.
8306 West Lincoln Avenue
West Allis, Wisconsin 53219-1763
Phone: (414) 481-7477
For state-specific inquiries, please reach out to your local program contact listed above. Otherwise, please submit your general iCanConnect question through the Contact Us form.