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TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICE FOR THE HEARING-IMPAIRED TO BE DEMONSTRATED AT INDIANA SCHOOL OF THE DEAF

 TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICE FOR THE HEARING-IMPAIRED
 TO BE DEMONSTRATED AT INDIANA SCHOOL OF THE DEAF
 INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T (NYSE: T) will demonstrate a new telecommunications service Wednesday, Nov. 27, to students at the Indiana School for the Deaf (Indianapolis) and its teachers and parents.
 Called Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS), formerly known as Dual Party Relay, it enables a deaf or hard-of-hearing person to make and receive telephone calls to hearing and speaking people. The deaf or hard-of-hearing person uses a text-telephone, the keyboard device formerly known as a TDD or telecommunications device for the deaf, and the speaking person uses a regular telephone.
 "We believe that this service significantly increases the independence of a deaf or hard-of-hearing person," said Bob Veneck, AT&T assistant vice president in Indianapolis. "It makes it easy for that person to do all those things over the telephone that hearing and speaking people take for granted -- ordering theater or plane tickets, making reservations, calling for information, having conversations with friends."
 To use TRS, deaf or hard-of-hearing persons type a message on the text-telephone to be transmitted to the communications assistant, who translates it from written to spoken form. Then the message is relayed to the speaking person who is being called, and that person's response is translated from spoken to written form and relayed back to the caller.
 The presentation will be given in American sign language by an AT&T employee, Andy Lange, who is deaf. Live service will be demonstrated, with the communications assistant in the room. (Normally the communications assistant works in a relay center that serves an entire state or several states.)
 Communications assistants are trained to translate both written English and American sign language into speech. They are also trained in typing, spelling and vocabulary skills, and in sensitivity to the culture of the deaf. They are prohibited from changing the content or context of a conversation.
 AT&T was the first private company to offer Telecommunications Relay Service and now provides it in 13 states. There are no special charges for TRS. Where it is available, the state Legislature or public utilities commission has established a mechanism to cover costs above the charges for an ordinary telephone call.
 Some states make heavy use of Telecommunications Relay Service. For example, New York and Illinois both record hundreds of thousands of calls per month; other states show tens of thousands per month.
 "Providing TRS continues AT&T's century-old tradition of offering special products and services that help people with various types of impairments to communicate fully," said Veneck. "We hope that one day this service will be universally available."
 -0- 11/26/91
 /CONTACT: Mark Trierweiller of AT&T, 313-262-4960 or 313-229-0092 (home)/
 (T) CO: AT&T ST: Indiana IN: TLS SU: PDT


SB -- DE027 -- 7536 11/26/91 17:34 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 26, 1991
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