Kansas Dual Party Relay System
Kansas Deaf Blind Equipment Distribution Program (iKAN Connect)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that Kansas received one of 53 federally funded Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Programs. The new DBEDP program, iKAN Connect, was awarded to Assistive Technology for Kansans (ATK), the statewide AT program with five regional access sites operated by the Life Span Institute at Parsons, University of Kansas.
Kansans who are deaf-blind and income eligible can receive communication equipment and software that helps access the Internet or use other telecommunications systems such as Skype, video relay, or messaging. An AT specialist provides an assessment at no cost to the individual to review their equipment and software needs so they can achieve their telecommunications access goal. The Kansas ATK iKAN Connect program has funds to purchase recommended equipment and software, but cannot pay for services such as phone lines or Internet access.
Assistive Technology for Kansans, coordinated by the University of Kansas, monitors the operation of the Kansas Dual Party Relay System (DPRS). The program is funded through the Kansas Universal Service Fund and is administered by the Kansas Corporation Commission. Through the DPRS persons who are deaf or hard of hearing are able to use an interpreting service to access telecommunications. DPRS interpreting services are provided through a contracted vendor, Hamilton Relay of Aurora Nebraska. The management of the DPRS/TAP reviews billing and performance information regarding the relay system and addresses concerns and complaints regarding interpreter services. ATK Access Site staff provide outreach services and help consumers troubleshoot CapTel phones as needed. DPRS program oversight is conducted by the Director of ATK. The ATK Director, TAP Coordinator, and Financial Accounting Specialist review program eligibility, provide training to demonstration and installation sites, order and manage inventory, and review and process invoices. Public awareness activities are directed by the Communications Manager of ATK; outreach campaigns are conducted by all ATK staff. The Director of the DPRS provides quarterly data to the ATK Advisory Council regarding usage of the relay system, applications, equipment provided, on-site installations, training, and troubleshooting/conflict resolutions conducted. The ATK Advisory Council is comprised of 13 individuals who have disabilities and represent all regions of the state and 7 individuals representing disability agencies and organizations and are well positioned to review performance and provide suggestions to strengthen the operation of DPRS.
Kansas Corporation Commission
Northwest Kansas Educational Service Center
Resource Center for Independent Living
Southeast Kansas Independent Living