Have you ever wondered how someone who has difficulty speaking communicates via phone? For example, what if someone who’s had a stroke and has aphasia needs to phone their doctor’s office to reschedule an appointment, or a person using a communication device needs to call a hotel to make a reservation? You may have assumed that a family member or caregiver makes such calls, or that people with disabilities impacting their communication simply don’t manage their own appointments or do not travel at all! But people with complex communication needs not only have the same needs as people without disabilities to use the phone, it’s also their right! Speech To Speech (STS) Relay is governmental service that facilitates phone calls for people with complex communication needs. STS Relay is a form of telecommunication relay service, like that which is used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Anyone with disabilities impacting communication can use STS Relay by calling 711 (without charge), and a Communication Assistant will assist in completing the phone call. Communication assistants have special training that allows them to understand the speech of people with complex communication needs, and repeat the caller’s message in way that the receiver can easily understand. STS Relay is critical to the independence and safety of people with disabilities impacting communication – so spread the word!

For more information, please visit: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/speech-speech-relay-service.

To see STS Relay in action, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSsxoxk-DsY