Project Summary

Try to imagine life without a telephone. The phone is our connection to family and friends. It's a way for us to summon help in emergencies, contact businesses and co-workers, share the events of the day, or even order a pizza. Telephones are everywhere: we carry them, drive with them, and take them with us on airplanes. We take telephones for granted. Yet many children and adults in Iowa are not able to use standard telephones. Some have great difficulty hearing, speaking or being understood by others. Others have significant problems lifting, carrying, dialing or getting the phone. Still more struggle to remember what numbers to dial or who to call in case of an emergency. Many of these children and adults rely on a statewide program called Telecommunications Access Iowa (TAI) to help them gain access to the phone system. TAI provides vouchers to help individuals with limited income pay for specialized telephones; however, it only provides vouchers to Iowans who are hearing impaired, speech impaired, deaf, or deaf/blind. Iowans who have only physical and cognitive impairments are not eligible to receive funding. The University of Iowa Clinical Law Program was asked by the Iowa Program for Assistive Technology to study and compare telephone equipment distribution programs. The goal was to determine how TAI can provide Iowans who have manipulative, movement, mobility and cognitive impairments the same access to equipment vouchers that people with hearing and speech impairments enjoy. This report explains how TAI can serve core and core-plus customers and maintain the quality and level of services currently provided. The report resulted in a campaign to change Iowa law and expand the program, without success.

Project Reports and Documents

Equal Access To TAI Report Cover Letter to the Utilities Board doc

Equal Access To TAI Complete Report doc

Equal Access To TAI Report Final Cost Projects xls

Closing Letter for Telecommunications Project doc

Closing Letter for Telecommunications Project pdf

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