National Deaf-Blind Telecommunication Program: iCanConnect - Oregon

Finding the Right Tools to Enable Independence

Amazing as it may sound, there are some citizens who are deaf-blind in Oregon and across the country that receive less service than Helen Keller did when she was born in 1880. The good news is that a pool of federal money is available to provide modern communications equipment at no cost to low-income residents living with severe hearing and vision loss.

The goal of the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) is to ensure that every qualified person with combined hearing and vision loss has access to modern telecommunication tools and the training necessary to use them, granting every individual the opportunity to interact with the world as an involved, contributing member of society. 
In 2012, the Federal Communications Commission certified Access Technologies Inc. to implement the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) in Oregon and spread the word through a campaign called iCanConnect.


Outreach - Spreading the news! 

On behalf of iCanConnect – Oregon, Access Technologies, Inc. conducts a variety of outreach activities to increase awareness about this new Program. Perhaps you’ve seen the advertisement in our newsletter Tech It Easy, or wondered, “what is that advertisement I just saw in the newspaper?" Our staff exhibit at a variety of conferences, conduct presentations to businesses, agencies, and service organizations, and have hosted special awareness events such as the SEE – TOUCH – LEARN Helen Keller Awareness Day.

Assessments – Explore Telecommunication Solutions

Our staff believe the ability to communicate is a right for all to enjoy. After reviewing an individual’s application, our Specialists meet with the individual in the comfort of their own home to talk about and demonstrate technology designed to reduce telecommunication barriers. See – Touch – and Learn about possible solutions to your telecommunication barriers. What
better way to know if the technology is right for you.

We live in a world of rapidly changing technology, so if you, or someone you know hasn't been able to easily understand conversations over the telephone, access the Internet, use email, or chat with friends on Facebook, last year or even last month, please don't be discouraged. There may be some simple technology solutions available to make this happen.

Telecommunications Technology

Learning about possible solutions is only the beginning. iCanConnect is about getting the right technology solutions to you!

Following the assessment, our Specialist prepares a report justifying the possible telecommunication solutions you explored and discussed. Then, when the recommendations are approved, the technology is purchased.

iCanConnect-Oregon provides a permanent equipment loan program. During this time, the title of the equipment remains with Access Technologies, Inc.; allowing for flexibility in the sense that as AT changes, or your vision or hearing changes, you may be able to upgrade your AT to accommodate these changes.  At the conclusion of the pilot program, Oregon will adopt a policy that allows ownership of the AT to transfer to you after five years of using the technology.

Training – A little training goes a long way!

Our Specialists provide hands-on training with you on your new telecommunication equipment free of charge. While training is not required, it’s a great way to “get to know” your new technology. Trainings are designed at your pace. We know learning to use new technology, no matter how simple it may seem, is exciting, but at the same time it can be scary. So whether you need one quick setup and overview training, or a few lessons spread over a period of time we are here for you. Because just getting the equipment into your hands isn’t enough satisfaction for us – we want to see the joy in your face when you - connect with Family and Friends, and yes - your Community and World independently.

Is this program for me?

If you are a person who has combined vision and hearing loss, and you cannot afford communications technology that enables you to use a telephone, send an email, access the Internet, or use other communications technology, you may be eligible for this program.

Download an application from the bottom of this page, contact Access Technologies, Inc. by phone 503.361.1201 or by email to request an application.

Then, identify a professional who can attest to your condition in writing. It can be an educator, healthcare provider, vision or hearing professional, speech pathologist, vocational rehabilitation counselor, and more.

Submit your completed application to Access Technologies, Inc. at 2225 Lancaster Drive NE; Salem, OR 97305. Then an Assistive Technology Specialist will schedule an assessment to determine what equipment will best suit you communication preferences and distance communication goals. Then your equipment will be installed, and training will begin.

Oregon NDBEDP APPLICATION January 2020 (Word)
Oregon NDBEDP APPLICATION January 2020 (PDF)
NDBEDP Application January 2020 (Braille Format)
NDBEDP Application Spanish January 2020 (Word)