What is an SSP?




SSP Overview

Maricar Marquez

Video Transcript


Hello.  My name is Maricar Marquez.

What is an SSP?      

A Support Service Provider, commonly referred to as an SSP, is a specially trained individual who provides access to the community for people who are deaf-blind.  This empowers the deaf-blind person to make decisions for themselves based on the visual, environmental and social information provided by the SSP.  Human guide assistance is another responsibility.  Additionally, the SSP is responsible to facilitate communication for the deaf-blind person.

Role of the SSP:        

We will now discuss the role and responsibility of an SSP. Please understand that not all programs are identical, but that there are commonalities among the guidelines and expectations we will present.  It is critical to remember that the primary role of the SSP is to empower the deaf-blind person to make their OWN decisions. The SSP is not there to “help” you, but rather to empower you to make decisions on your own.  The SSP can do a number of things.  The  SSP can provide human guide, escort throughout the community.  They may perhaps assist you walking on stairs, elevators, across level playing fields etc. The SSP is responsible for providing visual and environmental information to the deaf-blind person.  For example, if shopping, the SSP may tell what an area looks like, they may notice a sign that says “50% off” and relay that to the deaf-blind person, they might convey who the people are who are milling about the store, or if by chance bumping into a co-worker sharing this information or facial expression, the way something or someone looks.  In some cases the SSP could provide transportation to the deaf-blind person.  Again, programs may have specific guidelines about providing transportation vs. the use of public transportation such as a cab, bus, train, or paratransit.  SSPs can provide access to printed materials such as reading mail, accessing bills, clipping coupons from a weekly circular, etc. SSPs are responsible facilitate communication or provide “light interpreting” in the community.  One example might be if a deaf-blind person goes to the bank, the SSP can facilitate communication between the bank employee and the deaf-blind person which is similar to interpreting between the two parties. 

SSP’s are there to provide access and to empower an individual to do for themselves.

There are a number of things that SSPs cannot do.  The SSP cannot teach the deaf-blind person to “do” things like cooking or gardening.  The SSP cannot assist with activities of daily living such as showering, bathing, grooming, getting dressed and the like. The SSP cannot only provide transportation between locations.  An example of this would be for the SSP to arrive at the persons home, drive the deaf-blind person to the store, wait in the car while the person shops and then drive them home.  This is not acceptable.

The SSP provides access to transportation ONLY when the individual requires other services such as:

  • Sighted guide
  • Communication facilitation
  • Access to visual information

If the individual does not require access to these services he or she should be able to other forms of transportation independently.

Maricar using an SSP to grab lunch at a local pizzeria.

Narrator: Maricar is guided into a pizzeria by an SSP.  The SSP explains that the restaurant is not that busy.  She informs Maricar that the man at the counter is looking at her and smiling.  She explains that to her left there is a beverage refrigerator with an assortment of waters and sodas and ahead of them is a display with various pizzas and calzones.  She then goes on to describe the various items.  Once Maricar has made her choice for lunch the SSP facilitates communication between Maricar and the restaurant employee.  She also shares information that the employee is smiling at her and placing the pizza in the oven.

To learn more about SSP’s please contact HKNC at pld@hknc.org