Technology

Aug 6, 2013 6:57 PM by Tech Talk: Technology Connecting the Deaf-Blind

Tech Talk: Technology Connecting the Deaf-Blind

Currently, there are between 45,000 to 50,000 people in the United States who are both deaf and blind, and many of those people are living right in your backyard.
Acadiana has the world's second largest population of people affected by Usher's syndrome, which is the leading cause of deaf-blindness.
The numbers are so high here there is actually an "Acadian" type of the disorder.
With an estimated 300 people in the area who can neither see nor hear, things we take for granted are a constant struggle.
The phones that we think if today normally don't just place calls. They're a Swiss Army Knife of different technologies, from cameras to calendars to cash registers.
But buried deep in those devices are settings many of us ignore, but make the everyday world more accessible for those that need it.
"I have 5 emails", says Jackie Broussard as she checks her iPhone.
She was born deaf, but due to Usher's syndrome, she was also robbed of her sight.
But that doesn't stop Broussard from communicating, and from teaching other deaf-blind individuals at the Affiliated Blind of Louisiana Training Center, to communicate as well.
"Through this equipment people can get an email from their daughter or a text message from their son, "Hey mom how are you today", whereas before people would have to go to your house to check on you", says Scott Crawford with the Affiliated Blind.
Through the iCanConnect program, low income families with the deaf-blind individuals can qualify for equipment so that they too can connect with their family and friends.
"There's different types of equipment that can match each individuals needs", says Broussard.
That equipment has opened up her world, meaning she can now hold conversations with people she had never been able to before.
"Now it's my time and I can do it myself, I don't have to ask a friend to do that for me anymore", says Broussard.
The program offers a number of devices for those with combined vision and hearing loss.
If you're interested in the program, you can call 1-800-825-4595 or visit the iCanConnect website at iCanConnect.org.
For any questions about the program you can also call the Affiliated Blind of Louisiana at 1-800-256-1523.

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