Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing Launches
Support Service Provider Program
PHOENIX (July 16, 2018) – The Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) has launched its Support Service Provider (SSPs) program for individuals who have combined vision and hearing loss (CVHL). The $192,000 program goal in this first year is to serve 35 citizens on a state-wide level. SSPs are specially trained professionals who assist people who are deaf-blind to do activities like grocery shopping, banking, essential housework and other errands independently.
Previously, ACDHH worked as an intermediary to match state government services to these individuals to no avail. ACDHH determined that the CVHL community would benefit from a specialized service not currently covered with existing government programs. ACDHH approached the legislature for funding to serve this unique population. By offering their own SSP service program, ACDHH will deliver expanded access to communities, goods and services that these citizens deserve.
“Each person is an individual with their own abilities and challenges and we wanted to create this service program to help deaf-blind individuals with an unmet, and essential need,” said Carmen Green Smith, deputy director of the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing. “We are also excited to continue supporting partner organizations that provide important services to these communities.”
In order to offer this service directly, ACDHH implemented a training program to certify individuals who wish to become an SSP for this population. Julie Stylinski, deaf-blind services consultant, trains, mentors and then matches SSPs with a deaf-blind consumer for their individual need. The match process starts by an initial assessment of the CVHL individual and they are then made aware of the program guidelines. From there, Julie works with the schedules of the SSPs and matches them with a combined hearing and vision loss individual based on task, date, location and time. The consumer is allotted 20 hours per month for this service and are asked to provide ACDHH with a two-week notice upon their SSP request.
“SSPs are very important for outings,” said CVHL consumer, Marsha. “If I go to the mall, the Hallmark giftshop, I want to buy my friends a birthday card so I’ll search and search to find a card, and then the SSP will tell me what it says and I can decide if I like them. The SSP was very helpful.”
The program is free of charge and several activities are available such as going to the grocery store, the mall, doctor’s appointments, etc. Consumers use Ubers, the Light Rail and other available transportation methods.
“I’m really excited about the program,” Stylinski said. “It’s been a challenge and I have a great passion for this program, as it’s an exciting and much needed direct service for consumers.”
For more information or to receive the service, contact Julie Stylinski at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 602-726-4109.
Consumer Clip: https://youtu.be/HMlULLhM0As
Established in 1977 to improve the quality of life for deaf and hard of hearing residents, ACDHH serves as a statewide information referral center for issues related to people with hearing loss and aspires to be a national leader in communication access, support services and community empowerment throughout Arizona. The purpose of the organization, and its commissioners, is to ensure in partnership with the public and private sector, accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing to improve their quality of life.