Giving people without speech new ways to talk

How does the program work?

In partnership with service providers, the Open Access Resource Centre (OARC) lends equipment to Manitobans on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals may borrow any single piece of equipment free for a ten-week loan period. 

At the start, OARC's staff helps in selecting the right equipment by matching the person's physical and language abilities to the equipment's mode of operation and vocabulary. When the loan period begins, OARC trains individuals and service providers in the operation and programming of the equipment so that the equipment keeps pace with the ongoing communications' needs of individuals. The equipment may be used at home, in the community, at school or at a place of work. During the loan period, OARC staff is available to help with any problems that might arise. After the ten weeks are up, the equipment is returned to OARC. Subject to equipment availability, the same equipment may now be reserved for another ten-week loan period, or another piece of equipment may be borrowed for another ten-week trial. 

Some pieces of equipment are readily available at the OARC, but others demand a waiting time of several months. In the case of popular devices, the waiting time may be up to one year.

If the trial has been satisfactory, individuals may decide to purchase their own equipment. If outside funding for the purchase is needed, OARC can often help in the task by verifying that the equipment chosen suits the individual's communication needs and if requested can provide a quote of the cost of equipment.