NDSU Extension - Sargent County

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Game Changers for Connecting and Communicating

12.21.20 phone keypadDuring COVID times, “keeping in touch” with family and friends has been challenging for many of us and folks are noticing how the lack of social connection takes a toll on emotional and mental well-being.

But outside of COVID, staying connected and in touch with family and friends is a big challenge for lots of people, day in and day out, and the reason is often due to physical or mental challenges.  If you or someone you know faces those kinds of challenges, ND Assistive may be able to help.

ND Assistive is a non-profit organization that strives to bring assistive technology devices and services into the lives people of all ages.  Their goal is to help bridge the gap between ability and disability by using assistive technology.  They believe that all people should be given the opportunity to learn about, try, and afford assistive technology devices.

Following advances in the field of assistive technology, ND Assistive services cover a broad range of needs including assistance in the classroom, the community, and at work, as well as technology to allow those experiencing the effects of aging to safely remain living in their own homes.

Since 2003, ND Assistive has administered the Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Services (TEDS), which is also known as the Specialized Telephone Program for the State of North Dakota. The goal through the TEDS program is to find the right phone that has the right features for each client’s needs so they are able to successfully use the phone to speak with their families, friends, and other types of essential communications. 

ND Assistive contracts with the ND Department of Human Services, Aging Services Division, to implement TEDS. Funds for equipment, client services, and administration are provided through a telephone access line surcharge paid by all North Dakotans with a phone line.  Through the TEDS program, free specialized phone equipment is provided to qualifying North Dakota residents who have a severe hearing, speech, physical, vision or cognitive impairment.

Some of the specialized phone equipment includes amplified phones, captioned phones, cellular devices, TTY phones, mobility phones, big button phones.  Under certain circumstances, iPads have been utilized for making phone calls and other communication.

Smart video calling devices also qualify as specialized phone equipment under this program. 

Individuals who are experiencing difficulty using their current telephone equipment are encouraged to contact ND Assistive and apply to receive assistive telephone equipment through TEDS. 

To learn more about the North Dakota Assistive or the TEDS program, visit https://ndassistive.org/ or call (800) 895-4728.

 Adapted from:  ”Staying Connected with Video Calling is a Gift,” Acacia Stuckle, NDSU Extension FCW agent, Emmons County.

Photo Credit:  ZenOctober from Pixabay (Downloaded 12.21.20)

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