The SSP program at CDR assists Deaf-Blind Individuals in the Community!

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Catherine Stutzman

In July of 2015, a Deaf-Blind individual in her mid-20’s named ‘Ashley’ had lived with her parents before deciding to move to Rochester, NY. Initially, she feared living on her own because of the barriers in the community she was aware of as a Deaf-Blind person. The resources and services in her hometown were very limited for Deaf-Blind individuals. Previously, ‘Ashley’ had to rely on her parents for transportation and various tasks such as getting necessary paperwork completed. Prior to moving to Rochester, she was informed of the Support Service Provider (SSP) program at the Center for Disability Rights (CDR), and how it can help her gain her independence.

Since moving to Rochester, ‘Ashley’ achieved a lifelong dream of getting her own apartment and using SSP services to maintain her independence; grocery shopping, buying furniture, going to the bank and getting involved and better acquainted in the Rochester community. The ability to get more involved in her community has helped not only increase her independence, but also her self-confidence by gaining responsibilities and becoming less dependent on her parents. She is currently developing her long terms goals for the program, which are finding employment and going to school for her Bachelor’s degree.

I want to give the readers a bit more background on the SSP program at CDR! In the early 2000’s a group of Deaf-Blind advocates, who wanted to increase their independence in the community, worked together with their  allies to establish a program entitled Support Service Provider (SSP). Their home base being at CDR in Rochester, NY. This program was started by Deaf-Blind individuals who wanted freedom and independence in the community! We are proud to report that the SSP program has met the needs of Deaf-Blind individuals for over ten years, and continues to be available for anyone living in Monroe County.

The SSP program is entirely designed for Deaf-Blind individuals to help maintain their independence. For members of the Deaf-Blind community, SSP gives you the means to be able to live on your own and do things such as shopping, attend events in our community, go to doctor appointments and even work. Transportation is also addressed in this program to allow for a Deaf-Blind individual to get from place to place. SSP services are not limited to the scope of being a guide and driver, or any of the examples listed above. Contact us to learn more!

CDR’s SSP program has been primarily funded by grants because it is not recognized by the state of New York as a Medicaid funded program. It is our goal in the next few years to continue to grow our program and demonstrate to the state that there is a real need for these services in our community and all across the state! We do not want to continue to rely on funding that is not guaranteed in order to assist in keeping Deaf-Blind individuals in the community; happy, independent and successful!

Are you interested in learning more about our SSP program? Do you wish to apply for the program? If so, please contact our Manager of Deaf Services, Catherine Stutzman at