Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A 5 minute request from people with speech disabilities

By Dr. Bob Segalman, President, Speech Communications Assistance by Telephone, Inc.

People with speech disabilities are asking others to help urge the FCC to update technology regulations to improve their telephone access. The FCC is considering whether Speech-to-Speech (STS) should be upgraded to include a video component, called Video Assisted Speech- to-Speech (VID-STS). The information provided by the video component makes them understandable even if their speech is too distorted to use traditional STS.    

Users of VID-STS would make calls using a broadband connection as well as a camera and microphone on their PC.  A trained VID-STS operator, who can help users be understood on the phone, would relay the call between the user and the called party.  During these calls, the VID-STS operator would watch the AAC device (voice output PC) and/or the face of the caller with a speech disability. This operator would observe any gesturing or facial expressions made by the person with a speech disability, and use this combination of information to relay the content of the phone call to the recipient of the call. 

Please let the FCC know that you support improved telephone access for people with speech disabilities. We need input from: potential users, family member/caretakers, disability advocates, allied medical professionals, government utility associates, and telephone industry associates. Many people with speech disabilities have other disabilities which prevent them being activists, so a few minutes of your time is needed to act on their behalf.  

A support statement is available at www.speechtospeech.org: Go to the middle of the home page and click on the "Support Statement for VID-STS", and please complete your contact information. Your responses will go to the FCC.

For additional information, contact:
Bob Segalman, Ph.D., D.Sc. (Hon), President
Speech Communications Assistance by Telephone, Inc. (SCT)
515 P St., #403
Sacramento, CA 95814
Call 1-888-877-5302 and then ask for me at 916-448-5517

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