2002 Conference Proceedings

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Talking on the Phone

Jamie Judd-Wall, Executive Director
Kathleen King, Consultant
Technology and Inclusion
Box 150878, Austin, TX 78715-0878
Phone voice/message: (512) 280-7235
FAX: (512) 291-1113
Email: jamie@taicenter.com 
Web site: http://www.taicenter.com

STAP stands for Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program. The STAP program is managed by the Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TCDHH). It is designed to help all Texans whose disability makes telephone use difficult. There is a similar program in every state.

Through a grant from the STAP program at TCDHH, Technology and Inclusion is helping children and adults with disabilities to get specialized equipment to help them use the telephone more easily. The equipment is FREE to the user, although there is a $35 initial fee. There is no waiting list and there are no income guidelines to qualify. There is also no exclusion if you are the recipient of another program. I know you are thinking that this sounds almost too good to be true. In fact I have been surprised that more people aren't getting equipment from this program! Having seen so many children and adults struggle with agencies and insurance to obtain equipment, I am excited to share the news of this wonderful opportunity.

While most people are aware of basic items for individuals with hearing impairments, many are not aware of the other devices that are available through this program, specifically augmentative communication devices. Many AAC devices have been adapted for use with telephone equipment. These are the devices that are available through STAP, or the STAP equivalent in your state. A fast and easy way to determine if the AAC item is telephone adaptable is the presence of an external speaker jack. If you can plug in an external speaker, then you can plug in a phone adapter. If you can plug in a phone adapter, they the AAC device is eligible to be provided by STAP,or the STAP equivalent in your state.

In the session we'll give a demonstration of how the telephone adaptation works using two popular AAC devices, the LINK and the TechTalk. As time allows, we'll try other AAC devices to see if they meet the 'external speaker' test. We'll explain all the details of the program and provide a state by state listing of agencies in the presentation.

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