Text Relay for Deaf Blind Users

Featured Image: 
Smiling student standing in a hall of student lockers holding an iPad displaying a relay conversation on her iPad.

Students are taught what to do in case of an emergency.  Preschoolers and kindergarten students learn their address and phone number.  They also learn about fire safety and how to call 911 for help.  Have you thought about how a deafblind student can call for help? 

Traditional text relay services help people with hearing losses or speech impairments to access the telephone system.  A live relay assistant acts as an intermediary to convert speech to text and vice versa between two people over the phone.  With the advancements in technology mainstream texting and video conferencing (between two people that use sign language) are now normal ways for people with hearing impairments to communicate via a smart phone or device.  

In May 2017, Sprint released a new update to the Sprint IP Relay app.  This release provides a reliable solution that enable people who are deafblind to access the relay with their mobile device paired with a braille display.  The deafblind user can type messages using a braille display, the relay operator will speak the message to the other person on the phone.  That person can respond by telling the relay operator, the relay operator will type the message and the deafblind user will read the message on his/her braille display.  

Teachers/Family Hint:  Be sure that your deafblind student is familiar with using the Spring IP Relay app and that he/she understands what to do in case of an emergency.

For details about how to use the Sprint IP Relay app with a braille display, view the AppleVis blog, Deafblind Individuals Now Have a Way to Use Text Relay on iOS with Braille.

Sprint IP Relay in the App Store

Spring IP Relay in Google Play