telephone pole with sunset

Speech to Speech Telephone Relay (STS)

If you have a speech disability and live in the USA (including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands), you can now use a new, free telephone service 24 hours a day. It is also available (fewer hours of the day) in Sweden and Australia. This FCC mandated service, called Speech to Speech (STS), provides communication assistants (CAs) for people with difficulty being understood on the telephone by the public.

STS is provided through the TTY relay in each state. Unlike TTY, STS enables people with speech disabilities to communicate by voice through a communication assistant 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.  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, or muscular dystrophy. Other users stutter or have had a laryngectomy. STS also helps some speech synthesizer users.

Bob Segalman, Ph.D. has cerebral palsy and developed the concept of STS. Now it makes telephone use much easier for him. To find out the number for your state, click here.  Some states also have a separate number for Spanish speakers.  

Dr. Bob Segalman has written a book, Against the Current, My Life with Cerebral Palsy.  Read more about his book by clicking the book title.