New web site connects deaf-blind people worldwide

David Kirkwood
November 18, 2012

WATERTOWN, MA—A web site has been created to give people with both hearing and vision loss access to technology that can connect them with deaf-blind people around the world. offers a wealth of advanced communications technology, including video that is both audio-described and closed-captioned, screen-enlargement software, and videophones.

The new web site is part of the iCanConnect campaign mission designed to raise awareness about the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established to ensure that every American with combined hearing and vision loss has access to modern communications tools and the training necessary to use them. Nearly 1 million people in the United States have some combination of vision and hearing loss.

Assessment, training, and equipment are available free of charge to those who meet federal eligibility guidelines. Information about equipment, assessment, and training is available at or by phone at 800/825-4595

The iCanConnect campaign is overseen by Perkins, the first school in the U.S. for students with visual impairments, and by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The two organizations are closely linked, as Helen Keller, famous for overcoming deafness and blindness, was a student at Perkins.

Since its founding in 1829, the Watertown-MA based school has provided education and other services to more than 600,000 children and adults in the U.S. and more than 60 other countries.

The Helen Keller Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults, in New York City is committed to enabling each person who is deaf-blind to live and work in his or her community of choice.

Steven Rothstein, president of Perkins, said, “The launch of the iCanConnect web site is a major step forward in the effort to enable people with disabilities to interact with the world as involved, contributing members of society.”

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