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iCanConnect Helps Maryland Man Regain His Independence

Larry Fauntleroy is a champion user of his computer. At this point, he can help friends and family navigate computer issues. But not too long ago, Larry felt isolated with few ways to keep in touch with the outside world. Learn how the distance communication equipment and training Larry received through iCanConnect helped bring him from a point of isolation to thriving in the community.

Larry (left) and iCanConnect trainer Lisa (right) sit at a table during a training session. Larry is using his laptop and braille display, while Lisa looks on, ready to assist.

Larry Fauntleroy considers himself a champion user of his computer. But he hasn’t always felt this way. The 58 year-old, Baltimore, MD man used to feel isolated as a result of combined hearing and vision loss. And with limited access to the technology that could help him stay in touch with family, friends and his community, Larry felt alone.

Larry has had significant hearing loss since childhood and has experienced diminishing vision over the past decade. As a result, he frequently has appointments at The John Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. During one of these appointments, his therapist encouraged him to apply to iCanConnect, the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program. iCanConnect is a national program with local contacts that provides free distance communication equipment and training to qualified individuals who have significant hearing and vision loss and who meet income eligibility requirements.

Once Larry was accepted into the program, his local iCanConnect representative met with him to discuss his distance communication needs and goals. Through iCanConnect, Larry received a laptop computer with Fusion and a large print ZoomText keyboard, as well as an iPhone and an external Bluetooth keyboard.

After Larry received his equipment, Lisa Howard, his iCanConnect trainer, met with him in-person to train him how to use his new equipment. “Larry took some time to learn and needed a lot of repetition, but I can’t think of anyone who tries harder or wants to learn more than Larry,” says Lisa. “Before iCanConnect, Larry had never used a computer, but he demonstrated that he could type using a keyboard and follow instructions. Now, he is not only sending and receiving emails, but he has folders to organize the emails as well!”

Larry uses the equipment he received through iCanConnect to stay in touch with family, friends and his community. “It was like a Christmas gift,” says Larry. “I was a grown man acting like a little boy when I got my computer. It woke me up. It keeps me busy and gives me a purpose. It took a while, but I’m a champ now. I’ve mastered a lot of tasks on the computer like email and Facebook,” continues Larry. “As a matter of fact, I’ve taught someone else how to shut down their computer using the keys. I’ve taught a few older people how to use the computer too – like how to download documents and send email. I’ve even told some of my buddies how to do stuff on the computer. They ask me how I know how to do so much and I tell them I learned through iCanConnect. I’m almost there with my iPhone too. I’m still learning to master the VoiceOver function – I’m so close.” 

“With Larry, it started with learning how to use a computer, and then a world of possibilities seemed to open up for him,” says Lisa. “He’s a different person now than the person I first started working with. Larry is a pleasure to know and work with, and I hope his world keeps getting bigger as he becomes more confident and independent.”

“I love iCanConnect,” says Larry. “It worked for me. The process was straightforward and Lisa really helped me. She trained me and she makes sure I do it right. I didn’t know anything about computers before iCanConnect and now I know so much. I recommended iCanConnect to anyone with hearing and vision loss.”


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