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What is a Support Service Provider

What is a Support Service Provider (SSP)?

An SSP serves as the eyes and ears of a person with combined vision and hearing loss. SSPs provide visual and environmental information necessary so the participant can access information in order to make decisions independently. The support provided varies depending on the needs of the individual.

During the Confident Living Program, an SSP may:

 Help orient participants to their room
 Push participant’s wheelchair if necessary
 Help set or reset alarm clocks
 Provide wake-up alert if necessary
 Help pack or unpack clothes
 Help with laundry if needed
 Guide participants to meals, meeting rooms, restroom etc.
 Help get meals and carry meals to table.
 Help get snacks and drinks in the meeting room
 Guide participants to restroom
 Help take meal tray to the dish room, if needed
 Help participants participate in games and activities (serve as their eyes and ears)
 Read printed material
 Accompany participants on any trip. Explain environmental and other information as requested.
 Share your expertise & knowledge with participants
 Have Fun and be a positive support to participants


Melodye May's picture

Hi Mark, From what I heard, Delaware doesn't have SSPs. Our program is beginning to serve more individuals who are deafblind. How does a state attract/retain SSPs? Thank you
Mark Armstrong's picture

Thank you Melodye for your question! To start and/or fund an SSP program, some states use private donations and community dollars whereas some states receive grants from their Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Commission on Deaf and Hard of Hearing, or statewide Interpreting program. Many states provide SSP training to individuals and require volunteer hours prior to being paid as an SSP. Suggested training topics include causes of deaf-blindness, human guide, communication techniques, and deaf-blind culture. Strong community advocacy and community have helped to establish programs. SSPs are recruited from several sources including interpreter programs, Certified Deaf Interpreters, community interpreters, ASL students, and family members of those who are deaf-blind. Recruitment tools in some states have included using their agencies local newsletter, email, class presentations at the local colleges, and word-of-mouth. Consumer eligibility for SSP services is often identified during the initial assessment of client. Many states only offer SSP services to deaf-blind individuals who have and are currently working on a vocational goal. The number of hours per week vary from state-to-state and program-to-program. I hope these comments are helpful! If you have a genuine interest and think an SSP program will be beneficial in Delaware, I suggest you contact Cynthia Ingraham, our HKNC Regional Representative for your area. She will be able to assist you in organizing and getting a program stated in your state.
Melodye May's picture

Thank you so much Mark for providing me with this information.