- Recommended Reading
- Esophageal Speech
- Hands-Free Devices
- Text to Speech Apps
- Alternative Communications
- Speech Difficulties
WHO NEEDS ALTERNATIVES?
Anyone who can shape words will almost certainly be better served by a speech method that allows him to shape words and speak as he wishes - and anyone who can shape words but not be heard loudly enough will almost certainly be better served by using a voice amplifier to bring his voice up to a louder level. But what about the person whose words are a little difficult to understand or the person who has intermittent problems with tongue coordination (laryngectomees can also have stokes and aphasia and other speech disorders). Some of these devices, in smaller versions, are good for backup or for phone emergency messages. They definitely should be thought of in a positive light for those who cannot speak any other way. People needing/using these devices should be considered equal citizens in the lary community just as AL users have been for the last few years. (Dorothy Lennox)
TELEPHONE RELAY SERVICES
I live in Pennsylvania and use the telephone relay system that is available here; it may be somewhat different in other locations, but the principles involved are most likely the same. The basic idea behind the relay system is that the laryngectomee, who can't speak, uses a typewriter keyboard unit with a display on it to type a message. The message is then transmitted over the telephone lines to a relay operator, provided by the telephone company. The relay operator then repeats the message that you typed to your party. When the other party responds, the relay operator types the response back to you, which appears on your display. The relay operator in effect acts like an interpreter between you, the laryngectomee, and the speaking person with whom you wish to communicate. For an incoming call, the person calling you dials the relay operator, the operator then dials your number and your phone rings (mine also has a flashing light.). When you answer your phone, you and your party then communicate through the operator. The equipment that you need is a teletype-like device, with a keyboard and a display that plugs into your telephone line (both the teletype device and your telephone can share the same line.) I got mine through a local Pennsylvania agency that provides them free of charge, if you can establish need; otherwise they are commercially available if you can't meet the minimum income requirements. The relay service (the relay line and the operator) are provided by the telephone company. The relay number is listed in the beginning section of the telephone directory, under "Relay".
We have all heard of the text telephone system for the deaf called the TTY, the system is usable in reverse for the voice impaired. If I could not talk at all, I would use it this way to call anyone who is able to talk. I would call the number for the Communications Assistant (CA) and request "hearing carryover (HCO)", using the keyboard to let them know what number I wanted to call. They would call the number for me and tell the person who answered that they were with the relay service and who the calling party was on the line. I would type what I wanted to say, and the CA would speak it. Then the person would answer and I would be able to hear them because of the HCO, so I could immediately start to type in my answer. It is a good product for some of us who can't speak clearly or not at all. In my state the relay service is free, but you must buy the instrument.
I use the TTY phone and it really helps for any business I need to conduct.
I dial 711 and am assisted by an operator that handles the communication.
The TTY phone came with speakers so that I can hear the conversation. When I dial up the 711, I wait until the system asks for the number I am
dialing. I type in the number and add HCO PLS GA which means hearing carry over please go ahead. That keys the operator that you can hear versus a phone call from a deaf person. I type whatever I want to say, the 711 operator reads it and the person I am dealing with responds.
The 711 service is free in my state of Virginia and I believe exists as a
free service in most states. The phone and speakers were made available to me for half price through the local non-profit deaf and hard of hearing organization. If my income was smaller, they would have provided it for free.
An option to using TTY is texting. I text my children all the time. My wife
and I text if I am out running errands and she is home.
I hope this helps.
AT&T RELAY SERVICES
AT&T has announced that starting December 18, 2000, Speech-to-Speech Relay Service, and 900 Pay-Per-Call Relay Services will be available in all AT&T states and nationally, for state to state relay calls. They have refreshed their relay website with new information about Speech to Speech and 900-number calling.
* Speech-to-Speech Relay Service: This service allows a person whose speech may be difficult to understand to communicate over the telephone with the help of a specially trained Communications Assistant. No special telephone is needed for this calling option.
* 900 Pay-Per-Call Relay Service: Now TTY/TDD relay customers can access any 900-service provider by dialing AT&T's 900 Pay-Per-Call Relay.l
* Spanish Relay Service: Now Spanish Relay users can access Speech-to-Speech, and 900 Pay-Per-Call services through a dedicated toll-free number specifically for Spanish-speaking relay users!
OTHER WEB SITES FOR RELAY INFORMATION
ATT - INFORMATION PLEASE?
With all the new voice prompted answering systems, these days, it can get frustrating for us Larys. I have a fairly good voice, but if I call 800 information the computer does not understand me.
I have discovered if one calls 1-800-CALL-ATT (1-800-225-5288), punch 0 (zero) when the computer answers and you get a live operator. Tell the operator that you need a "Special Needs" operator. They will assist you themselves or transfer you to a supervisor who will dial the number for you and use their voice to give the instructions to the computer. This is all done while you are listening so that you can speak with the "Special Needs" operator if there is any clarification needed. This works 24/7. (Kent Smith)
The three digit number 711 can be used as a shortcut to access Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) anywhere in the U.S. TRS facilitates telephone conversations by one or more people who have speech and hearing disabilities. All telecommunications carriers in the United States, including wireline, wireless and pay phone providers must provide 711 service.
COMPUTER ACCESS - SPECIAL SOLUTIONS
Ability Hub will direct you to adaptive equipment and alternative methods available for accessing computers and for augmenting communication.
THIS UNIT TALKS FOR YOU
The Link has a full sized keyboard and a 4 line display, weighs only 2 pounds and will operate on battery power, or from an adapter to use in your car, as well as AC. It talks for you as you type, and you can store frequently used phrases. There is also a choice of 8 different sounding voices. I tried one at the IAL in Reno and was amazed at how easy it is to use. Call for information or a catalog; 1-800-793-9227 or check their website Assistive Technology.
The LightWRITER comes highly recommended by those who need the ability to communicate and have no speech at all. This is the top of the line, with a double screen, choices of methods for setup, memos with up to 250 characters, speedwriting, word prompting.
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