The COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed the vital role that accessible telecommunications play in providing access to work, health care, and social connections. Almost overnight, what once was viewed as an accommodation for some is now the norm for all.
Thanks to the Telecommunication Equipment Distribution (TED) program, people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have a speech impairment, can get the assistance they need to communicate during these difficult times (and beyond).
TED training is free to anyone who meets the basic criteria for eligibility (see below). The cost of the equipment is determined by a sliding scale. Equipment may be a reduced cost or free of charge depending on income level.
Types of telecommunication provided by TED include:
- Picture phones
- TTY phones
- iPad Air/iPad Mini (WiFi only, 16GB, w/black Otter Box case)
- iPhones (data plans not included)
TED also provides anything an individual needs to access the equipment (e.g., switches, mounts, and speech generating apps.)
Anyone who lives in Washington State (over age 4) and who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or has difficulty with speech is eligible for help from the TED program. TED helps many different types of people, including those with autism, strokes, Cerebral Palsy, and more. A diagnosis is not necessary to qualify.
How to Get Started
Download and print the application from the TED website at ODHH. Complete as much of the application as you can. If you don’t have the answers to every question, such as the type of equipment you need, that’s okay. Fill out what you can and send it to:
PO Box 45301
Olympia, WA 98504-5301
If the application is for someone with speech and/or physical access needs, and you have additional questions, please send an email to PROVAIL.
TED is administered by the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH). Applications for those with speech impairments will be received by ODHH, and the information then given to PROVAIL for individuals with speech and physical access needs. Visit the TED website to learn more and download an application.