IPAT strives to work with others in our field because it is the best way to assure we deliver the best services possible. It is very simple – the more we put our heads together the better AT solutions we provide!
Two specific entities we work with often are the ND School for the Deaf/Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adult Outreach services and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Older Blind program.
If you are not familiar with the programs, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adult Outreach services help people age 18 years and older (and out of high school) remain independent in all aspects of life. They connect the people they serve to services throughout the state that will help them reach their goals, or live life more independently and with ease. For example, a typical person they serve may be an older adult with hearing loss who, because they cannot understand what others around them are saying, is no longer doing things love like going to church, playing cards, or talking on the phone. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adult Outreach services will work one-on-one with this individual to find ways to them get back to what they love through learning new skills, assistive technology, other services, or a combination of all three. (Side note: they are looking for someone in western North Dakota to be part of their team!)
The VR Older Blind program is very similar to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adult Outreach services. They share the same mission, but specialize in serving people with low vision or blindness. They also use a combination of learning new skills, assistive technology, and other services to assure the people they serve can achieve their goals for independence. One difference between the two programs is they serve people age 55 and older with vision loss. For example, the typical individual who benefits from their service may be an older adult with Macular Degeneration who can no longer read the newspaper or other print. VR Older Blind services might help this person adjust the lighting in their home to see better, or they might suggest the use of a magnifier to better read the print.
As often as we can IPAT, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adult Outreach, and VR Older Blind program hit the road together to travel to people’s home and assess their needs. This is especially helpful when we are serving someone with both a vision and hearing loss. Not only is this a lot of fun, but we always leave knowing we did better than our best to serve those individuals.