Disability Support Services has installed a Video Relay Service phone so students or employees who are deaf or hard of hearing and use American Sign Language can place phone calls during office hours. This tool allows an individual who uses Sign Language to quickly have access to an interpreter for outgoing on- or off-campus calls. The interpreter can both voice for the individual and interpret information back to the individual during the phone call.
If your office receives a call from someone using this type of service, the interpreter will tell you that they are assisting another person with communication through a Video Relay Service; they will then begin to speak the caller’s exact words. In this case, you would talk directly to the individual calling — just as you would with any phone call. (In other words: Don’t say to the interpreter, “they would need to do this”; instead say, “you will need to do this.”)
The interpreters have to follow a strict ethical code that requires all information that they interpret to remain confidential. In other words: The interpreter is simply the conduit through which phone communication can occur. This method of communication is approved and funded by the Federal Communications Commission. We have been excited to see how the Video Relay Service has already improved communication for our students since it was installed in August!
A huge thanks to Donovan Wallace in IT as well as Jilian Rakow, a GRCC Sign Language interpreter, for helping to implement this!
Spread the word to students and employees that it is available in the DSS lobby, Student Center room 368, during our hours — no appointments needed!