Tyler Barnes, Jr. is a small business owner from Rainbow City, Alabama. The 71-year-old spent his career in health care in hospital administration as a grant writer and as the owner of a medical consulting business.
Mr. Barnes has bilateral hearing loss but when he developed macular degeneration at age 60, he felt he could no longer productively run his business. With significant hearing and vision loss, Mr. Barnes found it difficult to keep up with emails and effectively respond to his customers or maintain and manage the business.
Mr. Barnes learned about iCanConnect, the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program through his Vocational Rehabilitation counselor. iCanConnect is a national program with local contacts that provides free distance communications equipment and training to qualified individuals who have significant hearing and vision loss. Once Mr. Barnes filled out an application and was accepted into the program, his local iCanConnect representative met with him to evaluate his distance communications needs and goals.
Through iCanConnect, he received an iPhone, iPad, laptop, ZoomText magnification software, and an amplified home phone. Once Mr. Barnes was able to effectively communicate using his new equipment and technology, he decided to return his focus to what he does best – grant writing and consulting. Mr. Barnes started a grant writing consulting business and uses his equipment every day to help him communicate with customers as well as keep in touch with family and friends.
“The equipment and technology I received through iCanConnect changed my life. I couldn’t function without it. I use it everyday. I’m able to connect with my friends and family and run my business successfully. I’ve been able to work from my office and broaden my work network. From phone calls, to email, Zoom meetings, and Facetime, I’m able to maintain my business and my personal connections. I couldn’t survive without my equipment,” says Mr. Barnes.
“iCanConnect has helped me stay independent and I have no intention of stopping or slowing down,” he continues. “iCanConnect saved my life. The connection I have through my computer is my lifeline. I tell anyone who will stop and talk to me about iCanConnect.”