• This page, Virtual Information Session: Independent Living & Assistive Technology Programs via MCB Stakeholder Organizations, is offered by
  • Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

Virtual Information Session: Independent Living & Assistive Technology Programs via MCB Stakeholder Organizations

Wednesday, February 16, 2022
12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Overview of Virtual Information Session: Independent Living & Assistive Technology Programs via MCB Stakeholder Organizations

Virtual Information Session: Independent Living & Assistive Technology Programs via MCB Stakeholder Organizations 

Presented by Bay State Council of the Blind and National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

12:00 to 1:30 p.m. ET

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84926867239?pwd=anhCMWUxMmZKSzRGWTJwSmxJVjRodz09

Meeting ID: 849 2686 7239

Passcode: 021622

Phone: 1-646-558-8656

Are you legally blind and registered with Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, MCB? Find out if you are eligible to be a part of innovative independent living and assistive technology programs before the end of June!

Recently, MCB received state funding to work with several organizations including The Carroll Center for the Blind, Massachusetts Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired, The POLUS Center for Social & Economic Development, New England Low Vision & Blindness, and Lowell Association for the Blind to provide timely services for our community in response to COVID-19.

If you are in need of technology assistance or support to live independently, please join a virtual information session on Wednesday, February 16th from noon to 1:30 pm ET to learn more.

Moderated by members of MCB leadership, along with representatives from Bay State Council of the Blind and National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts, the session will include presentations from participating partner organizations to share program information, including details about enrollment and eligibility.

Don’t miss your opportunity to receive services now for increased independence in 2022!

Learn more at Mass.gov/MCB, call 1-800-392-6450, or email MCBinfo@mass.gov.

We hope to meet you virtually on February 16th at noon!

ASL Interpreters and CART requested for this meeting. 

This meeting is being recorded. The recording made by MCB is a public record and will be posted in the near future on MCB’s YouTube Channel.

If you require an ADA accommodation, please contact MCB ADA Coordinator by February 2nd at MCBADARequest@mass.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Social Rehabilitation (SR) component of MCB services and who is eligible?

Social rehabilitation services are provided to individuals who are registered with MCB and qualify for assistance to become more independent in the community and at home. MCB works with individuals to help them navigate their environments and learn to use technology to improve their skills. Many individuals served by MCB may be eligible including children under 14 years of age and seniors who receive SR services.

For this fiscal year which extends until June 30, 2022, MCB and select partners have an increased ability to offer dedicated center-based training on assistive technology to more individuals who receive SR services than in previous years. Why is this increased capacity so important for eligible individuals?

Visual impairment is one of the most prevalent disabilities among children under 13 and older adults. Approximately 65 percent of individuals served by MCB are over age 65, and seniors are the fastest growing blindness community.

Why is Assistive Technology training important for individuals who receive SR services?

Vision loss often occurs later in life and requires individuals to learn to adapt to their changing vision. Initially, many individuals rely on family and friends to assist with tasks and activities. However, after individuals engage in skills training and learn to use adaptive devices and accessible technology, many can live independently in their homes without relying on external supports. From simple low-tech devices to state-of-the-art technology, the use of assistive technology devices leads to a higher quality of life for many individuals who are visually impaired by offering access to information and removing barriers to complete tasks. The use of smart phones and tablets with accessible apps can enable greater independence. For example, some apps can read currency, describe objects, and provide GPS orientation. Accessible computers can be used to compose documents and emails, keep records, attend remote meetings, and search online. Some of the most important assistive technology devices are low tech and promote independence such as talking watches, thermometers, scales, and prescription labels.

Which organizations are currently providing Assistive Technology training services and equipment under the SR program?

This year, five organizations have been approved to provide assistive technology training services, including:

  • The Carroll Center for the Blind
  • The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Lowell Association for the Blind
  • New England Low Vision & Blindness
  • The Polus Center for Social and Economic Development

MCB is responsible for distributing assistive technology equipment, including hardware and software to eligible individuals.

What types of Assistive Technology training services can be provided?

A wide range of assistive technology training services are available with flexible schedules to fit individual needs. Examples include refresher courses in using screen reader programs like JAWS and screen magnification programs like ZoomText and Fusion; beginner and intermediate courses on the use of smartphones and tablets; lessons on the use of assistive equipment like magnifiers and CCTVs; website navigation classes; tutorials on the use of Braille devices; and much more.

What types of equipment and software can be provided?

Assistive technology equipment and software is eligible for distribution if the technology is specialized for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. Mainstream technologies may be eligible on a case-by-case basis.

How do I get started?

The first step is to contact your MCB counselor to reopen your case if it is not already open. If you are unsure who your counselor is, call MCB at (617) 727-5550, or toll free at (800) 392-6450. Provide the operator with the town that you live in and ask to be connected to the social rehabilitation supervisor covering that area to begin the process. Discuss your needs with your MCB counselor, and they will suggest which organization and program is the best fit. Then, contact the appropriate service provider or providers yourself for more information or request assistance from your MCB counselor to make the referral after your case has been opened for services. A purchase order will be issued by your MCB counselor to the vendor to pay for the training services.

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