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AASC Joins Growing List of Virginia Relay Partners

Have you ever wondered how Virginians who are deaf, hard of hearing, Deafblind or speech disabled call a friend, family member or local business?

Years ago, the answer was that they didn’t. All that has changed, however, thanks to the creation of a public service called Virginia Relay, which allows people who have hearing and/or speech loss to communicate with anyone who uses a telephone.

Here’s how the service works: After contacting Virginia Relay, the hearing or speech-impaired user will give the Virginia Relay Communications Assistant (CA) the phone number of the person or business being called. As the call progresses, the CA will voice the words the text or sign language user provides (Virginia Relay users commonly use text telephones or Video Relay Service to make calls) and type or sign the words of the hearing user, thus relaying the conversation back and forth.

Although Virginia Relay was implemented nearly 15 years ago, Relay users still experience difficulties when calling local businesses, often because the person answering the phone is not familiar with the ease of a Relay call. That’s why Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens (AASC) is participating in Relay Partner. The first program of its kind in the nation, Relay Partner is designed to educate businesses and their employees about how to use Virginia Relay to communicate with customers who are deaf, hard of hearing, Deafblind or speech disabled.

For more information about AASC’s participation in Virginia Relay Partner, contact Neva Bryan at [email protected] or call 276-964-4915. To learn more about Virginia Relay and view a current list of Virginia Relay Partners, visit www.VARelay.org.

AASC is one of Virginia’s 25 Area Agencies on Aging designated by the Virginia Department for the Aging to carry out the department’s mission to foster the dignity, independence and security of older Virginians by promoting partnerships with communities at the local level. AASC offers information and services for older adults residing in Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties. Visit the organization’s website at www.aasc.org or call toll-free at 1-800-656-2272.