Support Service Provider (SSP)


Support Service Providers (SSPs) are specially trained professionals who enable people who have combined vision and hearing losses to access their environments and make informed decisions. SSPs provide them with visual and environmental information, sighted guide services, and communication accessibility.  SSPs make is possible for you to function as an independent person.

SSPs may be hearing, deaf, or hard of hearing. They must be familiar or know a wide range of communication methods and techniques used by deaf-blind people, including American Sign Language, Protactile Sign Language and even haptics.

It's important to note that SSPs are not interpreters. Assistance with communication can occur for short periods and quick exchanges, but communication assistance is limited. SSPs additionally do not facilitate communicative information for important interactions such as the explaining a lease agreement, a medical appointments, or legal court proceedings; this would require a professional interpreter. The emphasis of SSP work is on visual and environmental (not verbal) information. SHEP recruits SSP’s for both paid and volunteer activities.

Learn more here on how to become and SSP.

To request for an SSP, please email us at:


Examples of SSP Duties:

  1. Provides access to the community by making transportation available (by car, bus, or other conveyance), and serves as a human guide while walking.

  2. Interpret/Summarize phone calls for you – VP or voice calls

  3. Provide visual and environmental information which can take several forms: describing who is in a room, the activity and mood; reading the menu if the print is not legible and voicing/interpreting that to the person who is deaf-blind; or locating food items in a grocery store.

  4. Provide support to individuals who are deaf-blind in their homes, at their place of employment, in their own community or elsewhere.

What an SSP can't do:

  1. SSPs do not make decisions for the person who is deaf-blind.

  2. SSPs do not run errands alone for the person who is deaf-blind.

  3. SSPs should refrain from formal interpreting in medical, legal, business, or other settings. An SSP who is also a professional interpreter should be careful to differentiate which role they are assuming in any particular situation.

  4. SSPs cannot provide personal care, e.g., bathing and grooming.


Apply to be an SSP today! - Becoming an SSP