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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Resources for Wounded Service Members and Their Families

Source: Department of Defense (DoD)

Wounded Service Members, Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are returning everyday from deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yet, many of them are not returning to their duty assignments, instead, they are recovering at various Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) because of injuries they sustained in the Global War on Terror.

CAP is committed to providing assistive technology and support to returning wounded service members. Accommodations are available for wounded service members with vision or hearing loss, upper extremity amputees as well as persons with communication and other disabilities to access the computer and telecommunication environment. CAP is available to provide accommodations to service members in the following phases:

Phase 1: Recovery and Rehabilitation

CAP has been working closely with key staff at MTFs to provide information and assistive technology to wounded service members and their families. By working directly with staff in the intensive care units, physical and occupational therapist, audiologist and ophthalmologist, they can begin to introduce service members to assistive technology and accommodation support, reducing frustration and providing encouragement. One example of this technology is an augmentative communication device which enables easy communication between the patient and medical staff as well as family members.

Phase 2: Transition

In their efforts to ensure a smooth transition from patient to independent living, CAP is working to integrate assistive technologies into housing facilities and employment training centers at the MTFs to support the reemployment process. This technology includes alternative pointing devices, assistive listening devices, voice recognition software and Closed Circuit Televisions. The technology is being introduced to wounded services members to use at their living quarters, allowing them to email family and friends, improve their quality of care and begin the process of finding employment opportunities.

Phase 3: Employment

CAP is working with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans' Affairs to assist in the "reemployment process." If a service member remains on active duty or becomes a civilian within DoD or another Federal agency, CAP can provide the work related accommodation to the agency free of charge for internship and/or permanent employment.

The CAP staff is dedicated to ensuring all resources and assistive devices are available to assist our nation's service members in their rehabilitation process, successful treatment outcomes and future employment opportunities.

More information on CAP is available at: Government workers whose agencies have an agreement with CAP can apply for assistance online.

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