The TinyEYE Team met Dr. Bob Segalman, Ph.D., (President of Speech Communication Assistance by Telephone and pictured to the left) at ASHA 2007 and was impressed with what he’s doing for people with speech disabilities. He helped develop a service called Speech-To-Speech which gives telephone access to those with speech disabilities. Below is a fact sheet for your information. You can also visit the Speech-To-Speech website at http://www.speechtospeech.org
TELEPHONE ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WITH SPEECH DISABILITIES
Do you have a speech disability and live in the USA (including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico)? If so, you can now use a free telephone service 24 hours a day. This service, called “Speech to Speech” (STS), provides communication assistants (CAs) for people with difficulty being understood by the public on the telephone. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates relay service: STS is a form of relay service. STS is also available in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Sweden.
STS is provided through the TTY relay in each state. Unlike TTY, STS enables people with speech disabilities to communicate by voice through a CA as many people with speech disabilities have difficulty typing. People with speech disabilities can dial toll free to reach a patient, trained CA who is familiar with many speech patterns and has excellent language recognition skills. This CA makes telephone calls for them and repeats their words exactly in a 3-way calling environment. Every month users make about 12,000 calls nationally. STS is the only way for many people to telephone others not accustomed to their speech. Many STS users have Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, ALS, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy or stroke. Other users stutter or have had a laryngectomy.
STS also helps speech synthesizer users, users of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC.) AAC users can set their device next to a speakerphone. They ask the STS CA set up the call, negotiate the menu, introduce the call explaining AAC and then go into the background. This enables AAC users to communicate independently once the other party is on the line.
Bob Segalman, Ph.D. has cerebral palsy and developed the concept of STS. Now it makes telephone use much easier for him. To try out STS, report problems or get more information: Call 800-854-7784 and ask for Dr. Bob Segalman (direct 916-448-5517). You may also visit the STS website: http://www.SpeechtoSpeech.org. A list of U. S. Speech-to-Speech access numbers is at that website. You can also access STS by dialing 711 and asking for Speech to Speech. If the communications assistant can not place an STS call for you, please let Bob (firstname.lastname@example.org) know stating your name, date and time of call, location, and telephone number.
Marnee Brick, MSc
TinyEYE Technologies Co-Founder