Community Services Programs

June 16, 1995
Re: Americans with Disabilities Act Requirements - Effective Communication

The ADA mandates an equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities to participate in or benefit from the goods and services offered by a place of public accommodation (your agency). In order to provide this equal access, a public accommodation is required to make available appropriate auxiliary aids and services for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing or speech impaired are TTY's (telecommunications device for the deaf) and TTY relay systems.

Maine Relay Services, also known as "Dual Party Relay", is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week service, which provides a communication link between those who use a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TTY) and those who use a standard voice telephone. TTY's are special typewriter-style devices used by people who are hard of hearing, speech impaired or deaf to communicate over telephone.

Maine Relay Service communicates simultaneously with each party. When the hearing person speaks, the relay operator voices the typed information to the hearing person.

It is important that you educate your staff regarding the use of the TTY telephone relay system. It is not necessary to dial "1" before the relay numbers in the Augusta area. To access this service just dial: 995-3777 for voice originated calls; or 955-3323 for TTY originated calls.

Because the Maine Relay System eliminates many telephone system barriers to TTY users, ADA requirements relating to TTY's are limited in nature. Agencies with employees who are deaf or hard of hearing, may be required to provide TTY as a reasonable accommodation, particularly if that person's work involves communicating with the public. Also, TTY's must be provided when clients are permitted to make calls on "more than an incidental convenience basis".

If you have any question regarding the Maine Relay System or this requirement, do not hesitate to contact me at 287-4289.

Kathi Lincoln
EEO Coordinator

Office is located on the Augusta Mental Health Institute Campus

Outer Hospital Street, Marquardt Building, 3rd Floor, South

Phone: (207) 287-4399 
TTY: (207) 287-9916 
FAX: (207) 287-4107