Today I represented FARA to the California Community Colleges as they kicked off their Employee Charitable Giving Campaign. I was offered this opportunity by a close family friend, Michelle Ellis. Thanks Michelle! I gave my presentation and heard from 3 other non-profits who were invited to speak at the meeting. One of the other speakers was Dr. Bob Segalman who is the founder of a service called Speech-to-Speech (STS). STS provides communication assistants (CA's) for people with difficulty being understood by the public on the telephone. Speech-to-Speech is of relevance to the FA community because many FA patients have difficulty communicating on the telephone due to our progressive speech disability. STS is available for business, medical, and personal communication. STS is available in all 50 states, plus the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Australia, New Zealand Sweden. STS is easy to use and available from every phone and does not require registering to use. Just pick up the phone and dial 711 and request a Speech-to-Speech Operator. Your family, friends and business acquaintances can call you and use the STS services just as easily.
I was totally unaware of this service before today and it is a free service that anyone can use anytime we pick up the phone. Dr. Bob said it is Sacramento's best kept secret aside from the amount of money the legislators receive from lobbyists. Here's how it works: Call 711 and ask for Speech-to-Speech or in California dial 1-800-854-7784. You will reach a communications assistant who has specialized training in listening and is able to understand speakers who have problems speaking loudly or clearly. The trained communication assistant repeats the exact conversation you request to the person you are calling. All conversations are private and confidential, there is no censorship. Callers can use this service as often as they want - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - conversations have no time limit. Find out more about STS at speechtospeech.org.
After we all gave our presentations, Michelle invited me to lunch with her and Dr. Bob. I found out that there is a lot more to Dr. Bob than just being the founder of a national phone service for disabled people. Dr. Bob is the only person with Cerebral Palsy to hold two PHDs and he wrote a book about his life with a disability. We had a great time at lunch and I am going to start reading Dr Bob's book tonight! Find out more about Dr. Bob Segalman at drbobsautobiography.com. Me, Dr. Bob, LaCandice (Dr. Bob's CA), Michelle