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Imagine asking your neighbors to call the doctor for you—or to even call pizza! Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, statewide TTY relay services became mandatory. The NAD played an important role in negotiating with disability advocacy groups for this provision, during the drafting of the ADA.
The NAD fought for multi-vendoring—the right to choose relay service providers. The NAD was opposed by others who believed that multi-vendoring was unrealistic and not feasible.
Deaf and hard of hearing individuals now have the right to choose from numerous relay service providers in different format, whether it is traditional TTY relay, Internet Protocol (IP) relay, or Video Relay Services (VRS). Today traditional TTY relay is now being overtaken by greater reliance on IP relay services and video relay services (VRS).
The NAD continues to work hard to ensure full telecommunication access – what we are now seeing is that VRS is affording Deaf people with near-functional equivalency. Relay access has also provided unprecedented employment choices and advancement opportunities. Numerous issues still surround relay services including quality, funding, technology development and research, and universal access.
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