July 26, 2017 marks the 27th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  On July 26, 1990 President George H.W. Bush signed into law the ADA to give civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities.  This legal acknowledgment provides an equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications.

One section of the ADA I want to focus on is Telecommunications.  The ADA requires the establishment of telephone relay services for individuals with hearing and speech disabilities to communicate over the telephone.

Relay North Dakota is a free service that provides full telephone accessibility to these individuals.  This service allows text-telephone (TTY) users or assistive equipment users to communicate with standard voice telephone users through specially trained relay operators.  Relay North Dakota is provided by North Dakota telephone companies collectively through a contract with Sprint.  Relay users can simply dial 7-1-1 to connect with Relay North Dakota.

Almost every day at Assistive we are identifying a wide variety of telephone options for individuals to address severe hearing loss, speech impairment or additional physical disabilities.  Assistive contracts with the Aging Services Division, ND Department of Human Services, to provide the North Dakota Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Service (TEDS) program.

The TEDS program provides free specialized telecommunications equipment to individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or have a speech disability. For example, there are some phones that amplify sound, contain ring signalers like a lamp flasher or bed shaker, or have extra-large dial buttons.  Please visit ndassistive.org or call 800.895.4728 to learn more about the program requirements and the options available.

The ADA Anniversary is a time to reflect on a law that has made a great impact on the lives of people with disabilities over the past 27 years.

The ADA’s mission is “make it possible for everyone with a disability to live a life of freedom and equality”.  Here at Assistive we couldn’t agree more!



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