Assistive technology enables Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing, and Late-Deafened people to live more independently and safely. A wide variety of technology is available to accommodate a person's need for communication access, such as a personal assistive listening device to hear the television better, or to help with completing everyday tasks, such as a vibrating or amplified alarm clock. Equipment can have amplified sound, flashing or vibrating signalers, or all three. The Independent Living (IL) program at DEAF, Inc. provides assistance to individuals to identify the appropriate assistive technology that best fits their needs.
Several sources for obtaining assistive technology are available, depending on the individual's income status, type of disability, type of housing, health insurance, and services received from other state agencies (i.e., MRC or MCB). IL staff will work with individuals to identify all possible options available and guide the individual through our intake and screening process.
In some cases, a third party is legally responsible for providing assistive technology as a form of reasonable accommodation. For example, if a new Deaf tenant needs a flashing doorbell signaler and requests it, the landlord may be required either under the Americans with Disabilities Act or Massachusetts General Law to provide that equipment at no cost to the tenant or to allow the equipment to be installed. IL staff will work with the individual to identify whether or not a third party is responsible for providing the equipment, and provide guidance and advocacy to the individual through the process of requesting reasonable accommodation.
DEAF, Inc. receives funding from the federal government through the Title VII, Part B (7B) program for the purchase of assistive technology for qualified individuals. After a thorough evaluation of an individual's eligibility, financial status, and assessment of other possible options, full or partial financial assistance may be available for purchasing assistive technology.
Examples of accessibility equipment that can be obtained through the programs that are currently available, including the 7B program, include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Hearing aids
- Baby cry signalers
- Doorbell signalers
- Wake-up alarm clocks
- Carbon monoxide alarm signaler
- Smoke alarm signalers
- Assistive Listening Devices (ALD) including FM, infrared, and loop systems, pocket talkers, and more
- Telecommunications equipment (TTY, CapTel, CaptionCall, videophones, amplified telephones)
Individuals applying for assistive technology grants are required to show proof of income. Individuals receiving public assistance (i.e., SSI or welfare) must provide proof of their current status as a beneficiary. All others are required to complete financial verification forms and provide documentation of income or the most current year's tax statement. All income and financial information are kept confidential and are strictly used to determine eligibility according to federal standards.
To request more information about obtaining assistive equipment, please contact us.