CODI: Cornucopia of Disability Information

ACCESS RELATED FIRMR BULLETINS

		  STATUTORY AND REGULATORY INFORMATION

			       APPENDIX H
		     ACCESS RELATED FIRMR BULLETINS


Two FIRMR Bulletins specifically address accommodation:

FIRMR Bulletin C-8: Information accessibility for employees with disabilities

FIRMR Bulletin C-10:  Telecommunications accessibility for hearing and speech 
impaired individuals

Republication of these bulletins specifically regarding accommodation is in
no way meant to imply that other sections of the FIRMR or other bulletins may
be dismissed or ignored.  Their inclusion in this document is only intended
to make them easier to find and use as a reference.

For more information on the FIRMR and FIRMR Bulletins in general, or to
obtain a copy of the FIRMR, contact the GSA Policy and Regulations Division:

General Services Administration
Code: KMPR
18th & F St., NW
Washington, DC 20405
202-501-3194
FTS 241-3194


GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
Washington, DC  20405


FIRMR BULLETIN C-8

TO:  Heads of Federal agencies

SUBJECT:  Information accessibility for employees with disabilities

1.  Purpose.  This bulletin provides information and guidance regarding
agencies' responsibility to meet the special Federal information processing
(FIP) resource accommodation needs of individuals with disabilities.

2.  Expiration date.  This bulletin contains information of a continuing
nature and will remain in effect until canceled.

3.  Contents.

    Topic                                              Paragraph

   Related material                                          4
   Information and assistance                                5
   Definitions                                               6
   Acronyms                                                  7
   Public Law 99-506                                         8
   COCA                                                      9
   General                                                   10
   Agency responsibilities                                   11
   COCA services                                             12
   Cancellation                                              13
   Functional Specifications                            Attachment A

4.  Related material.

   a.  FIRMR 201-18.001
   b.  FIRMR 201-20.103-7
   c.  GSA handbook, - "Managing End User Computing for Users with 
	Disabilities"
   d.  FIRMR Bulletin C-10 - "Telecommunications Accessibility for Hearing and
	Speech Impaired Individuals"

5.  Information and assistance.

   a.  Technical

       General Services Administration 
       Clearinghouse on Computer Accommodation (KGDO)
       18th and F Streets, NW
       Washington, DC  20405

       Voice or TDD:  FTS 241-4906 or 202-501-4906.

   b.  Policy

       General Services Administration
       Regulations Branch (KMPR)
       18th and F Streets, NW
       Washington, DC  20405

       Telephone:  FTS 241-3194 or (202) 501-3194.

6.  Definitions.

"Computer accommodation" means the acquisition or modification of FIP
resources to minimize the functional limitations of employees in order to
promote productivity and to ensure access to work-related information
resources.

"Information accessibility" means the application or configuration of FIP
resources in a manner that accommodates the functional limitations of
individuals with disabilities so as to promote productivity and provide
access to work-related or public information resources.

"Handicapped individuals" or "individuals with disabilities" means qualified
individuals with impairments, as cited in 29 CFR 1613.702(f), who can benefit
from electronic office equipment accessibility.

"Special peripheral" is defined in Section 508 of Pub. L. 99-506 as "a
special needs aid that provides access to electronic equipment that is
otherwise inaccessible to a handicapped individual."

7.  Acronyms.

   COCA     Clearinghouse on Computer Accommodation
   DSO      Designated Senior Official
   FIP      Federal Information Processing

8.  Public Law 99-506.  In 1986, Congress reauthorized the Rehabilitation Act
of 1973, as amended (Pub. L. 99-506, 29 U.S.C. 794d).  Section 508, as
incorporated into the Act, mandates that guidelines be established to ensure
that handicapped individuals may use electronic office equipment with or
without special peripherals and that agencies comply with these guidelines in
acquiring electronic equipment.

9.  COCA.  In 1985, GSA's Information Resources Management Service (IRMS)
established an information resource center called COCA, to assist Federal
agencies in providing information accessibility to individuals with
disabilities.

10.  General.

a.  Accessibility.  Workstations for Federal employees with sensory,
cognitive, or mobility impairments may be equipped with special peripherals
or software that provide access to computer technology, primarily
microcomputers.  This accessibility is a necessary link that enables
handicapped employees to function efficiently and effectively on the job.

b.  Equivalent access.  Disabled individuals and non-disabled individuals
should be provided equivalent access to electronic office equipment.  FIP
resources, particularly microcomputers, provide enhancement features, such as
text enlarging and speech input and output, allowing disabled individuals to
accomplish tasks previously impossible for them.  For example, the inherent
flexibility of microcomputers permits their adaptation to meet the specific
needs of disabled individuals through the use of braille printers, spoken
screen review, and keyboard replacement devices.

c.  Functional specifications.  Attachment A presents specifications that are
organized by functional requirement into three categories: input, output and
documentation.  These specifications reflect the major areas that need to be
considered during planning and acquisition.

d.  Accessibility alternatives.  Accessibility solutions range from
third-party hardware and software add-ons, such as "layered" solutions, to
hardware "built-ins" and operating system enhancements.  Agencies should
attempt to provide the same equipment to all of their employees, whether or
not they are disabled.  For that reason, "built-in" accessibility solutions
are preferable to "layered" solutions.  Layering involves adding layers of
software between the end-user and the operating system or application
software.  While this often complex solution may have advantages, such as
increased function and performance, it can also have serious disadvantages.
Disadvantages include increased costs, greater difficulty in maintaining
software updates at the operating system level, and increased costs to train
employees to utilize dissimilar equipment at different sites within the
agency.  For these reasons, layering should be selected as an accessibility
solution only after careful analysis of its merits relative to that of
"built-in" solutions.

11.  Agency responsibilities.

a.  DSO.  The agency DSO for Federal information processing resources
   is the individual primarily responsible for ensuring electronic
   office equipment accessibility for current or prospective employees
   with disabilities.  This responsibility also includes providing
   access to Federal public information resources for individuals with
   disabilities.  The DSO or an authorized representative should monitor
   progress toward achieving electronic equipment accessibility goals.
   The Federal Information Resources Management Review Program is one
   means of monitoring this progress.

b.  FIRMR requirement.  The FIRMR requires that agencies shall
   provide FIP resource accessibility to individuals with disabilities
   and that agencies consider the guidance contained in FIRMR bulletins
   concerning this subject.  This action is essential to enable
   handicapped employees to perform as productive employees.
   
c.  Coordinated effort required.  Agency management and technical
   personnel need to work closely with contracting officials when
   contracting for new or additional FIP resources to ensure
   accessibility to FIP resources by individuals with disabilities.
   Acquisition, management and technical personnel should:

   (1) Provide to contracting officials, for inclusion in the
      solicitation, an inventory and description of any accommodation
      hardware or software currently being used with the resources
      scheduled for replacement or modification.
   
   (2)  Specify the need for a plan from prospective offerors that ensures
      functionally equivalent or better access to and use of proposed 
      replacement resources.

   (3) Specify the need for technical assistance in resolving problems
      in providing computer accommodation resources.

   (4) Specify the need for the Government to be permitted to install
      additional accommodation devices, peripherals, or software that may
      be acquired from a third party, without voiding the maintenance and
      warranty agreements of the contract, provided such devices or
      peripherals conform to the electrical specifications of the system
      and can be connected through standard expansion slots or peripheral
      ports.

   (5)  Develop functional specifications to meet the access needs of 
      individuals with disabilities (see Attachment A).

d.  Consult GSA handbook.  Agency managers determining accommodation
   strategies for FIP resource accessibility should consult the GSA
   handbook "Managing End User Computing for Users with Disabilities"
   for guidance. This handbook is available from COCA.

12.  COCA services.  Upon request for assistance, COCA will:

a.  Respond to requests for general information on frequently used
   hardware/software and workstation furnishings to accommodate individuals 
   with disabilities.
b.  Assist agencies with researching specific hardware, software and
   communications problems associated with an employee's computer 
   accommodation requirements.
c.  Provide on-going consultative/technical assistance to agencies during
   planning, acquisition, and installation of individual and agency wide 
   officeautomation systems; and
d.  Conduct workshops on computer accommodation procedures.

13.  Cancellation.  FIRMR Bulletins 42, 48, and 56 are canceled.


Original signed by:
   Thomas J. Buckholtz
   Commissioner
   Information Resources
   Management Service


FIRMR Bulletin C-8
Attachment A


FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATIONS

These specifications are organized by functional requirement into three
categories: input, output and documentation.  This organization
reflects the major areas that need to be considered during planning and
acquisition.  The capabilities set forth in these specifications are
currently available from industry in various degrees of functional
adequacy, except for access to screen memory for translating bit-mapped
graphic images.

GSA will update this attachment to keep pace with technological
advances and to address other types of FIP resources.

1. Input alternatives.  Access problems concerning the input interface
   to a microcomputer differ according to the type and severity of an
   employee's functional limitation.  Some users with disabilities are
   capable of using a keyboard, if it can be modified slightly.  Others
   require an alternative input strategy.  The following is an overview of
   common input alternatives and other input functional requirements that
   should be considered:

      a.  Multiple simultaneous operation.  Microcomputers have
      many commonly used functions that require simultaneous
      striking of multiple keys or buttons.  Sequential
      activation control provides an alternative method of
      operation by enabling a user to depress keys or buttons
      one at a time to execute the same function.

      b.  Input redundancy.  Some programs require a "mouse" or
      other fine motor control device for input.  Some users
      with motor disabilities cannot operate these devices.  An
      input redundancy feature permits the functions of these
      devices to be performed by the keyboard or other suitable
      alternative such as voice input.

      c.  Alternative input devices.  The capability to connect
      an alternative input device can be made available to a
      user who is not able to use a modified standard keyboard.
      This feature supplements the keyboard and any other
      standard input system used.  The alternative input
      capability consists of a port (serial, parallel, etc.) or
      connection capability allowing an accommodation aid to be
      connected to the system to augment or replace the
      keyboard.  For example, an alternative input device, such
      as a switch, eye scan, or headtracking system, may be
      customized to provide the most effective method of input
      for a user while supporting transparent hardware
      emulation for standard input devices, such as the
      keyboard and the mouse.

      d.  Key repeat.  A typical microcomputer generates
      repetitions of a character if the key for that character
      remains depressed.  This is a problem for users without
      sufficient motor control.  A key repeat feature can give
      a user control over the repeat start time and rate by
      allowing the timing parameters to be extended or the
      repeat function to be turned off.

      e.  Toggle key status control.  Microcomputer toggle keys
      provide visual indications of whether they are on or off.
      A toggle key status feature provides an alternative,
      non-visual means of showing the on or off status of a
      toggle key.

      f.  Keyboard orientation aids.  To orient a visually
      impaired user to a particular keyboard, a set of tactile
      overlays should be available to identify the most
      important keys.  The tactile overlays can be in the form
      of keycap replacements or transparent sticky tape with
      unique symbols to identify the various keys.

      g.  Keyguards.  To assist a motor-disabled user, a
      keyguard should be available to stabilize movements and
      help ensure that the correct keys are depressed.  A
      keyguard is a keyboard template with holes corresponding
      to the location of the keys.

2. Output alternatives.  Some users with disabilities need an alternative
   output to be able to functionally use FIP resources.  The following is an
   overview of common output alternatives, and other output functional
   requirements, that should be considered:

      a.  Auditory output.  The auditory output capability on
      current microcomputers is sufficient to beep and play
      music.  However, some users with disabilities may
      require a speech capability.  A speech synthesizer is
      required to generate speech on today's computers.  The
      capability to support a speech synthesizer should
      continue to be available in future generations of
      computers, or this capability may be internalized
      through an upgrade of the computer's internal speaker.
      The speech capability should include user-adjustable
      volume control and a headset jack.

      b.  Information redundancy.  Currently, several
      programs activate a speaker on the microcomputer to
      provide information to the user.  Some programs do not
      have the capability to present this information
      visually to the hearing-impaired user.  An information
      redundancy feature presents a visual equivalent of the
      auditory information provided.

      c.  Monitor display.  The requirement to enhance text
      size, reproduce text orally or in braille, or modify
      display characteristics is crucial for some users with
      visual disabilities.  To ensure that this access
      continues, the following capabilities are required:

	 (1) Large print display.  There should be a means for
	 enlarging a portion of the screen for a low-vision
	 user.  This process uses a window or similar mechanism
	 allowing magnification to be controlled by a user.  A
	 user can invoke the large-print display capability from
	 the keyboard or control pad for use in conjunction with
	 any work-related applications software.  If
	 applications software includes graphics, enlargement of
	 graphic displays should also be available.

	 (2) Access to visually displayed information.  The
	 capability to access the screen is necessary to support
	 the speech or braille output requirement of many blind
	 users.  Currently, blind users are able to select and
	 review the spoken or braille equivalent of text from
	 any portion of the screen while using standard
	 applications software.  Third-party vendors should have
	 access to the screen contents in a manner that can be
	 translated and directed to any internal speech chip, a
	 speech synthesizer on a serial or parallel port, or a
	 braille display device.  Information presented
	 pictorially also needs to be available in such a manner
	 that, as software sophistication improves, it may
	 eventually be translated using alternative display
	 systems.

	 (3) Color presentation.  When colors must be
	 distinguished in order to understand information on the
	 display, color-blind end users should be provided with
	 a means of selecting the colors to be displayed.

3.  Documentation.  Access to documentation for computer technology in a 
   usable format should be provided for Federal employees with disabilities. 
   Braille, large print, or ASCII disk equivalents of standard manuals are 
   options to be considered.


GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
Washington, DC  20405


FIRMR BULLETIN C-10

TO:  Heads of Federal agencies

SUBJECT:  Telecommunications accessibility for hearing and speech impaired
individuals

1.  Purpose.  This bulletin provides guidelines for acquiring products and
services that provide telecommunications accessibility for hearing and speech
impaired individuals for communication with and within Federal agencies.  This
bulletin also provides general information regarding responsibilities for
accommodating the needs of those with hearing and speech impairments.

2.  Expiration date.  This bulletin contains information of a continuing nature
and will remain in effect until canceled.

3.  Contents.

     Topic                                              Paragraph

     Related material                                          4
     Information and assistance                                5
     Acronyms                                                  6
     Definition                                                7
     Background                                                8
     General                                                   9
     GSA responsibilities and actions                          10
     Agency responsibilities                                   11
     Cancellation                                              12
     Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS)             Attachment A
     Federal Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf
       (TDD) Directory                                    Attachment B
     Agency Telecommunications Accessibility Planning     Attachment C

4.  Related material.

   a.  FIRMR 201-18.002
   b.  FIRMR 201-20.103-7
   c.  FIRMR Bulletin C-8

5.  Information and assistance.

a. General inquiries about the contents of this bulletin or information
   concerning updates should be directed to:

      General Services Administration
      Regulations Branch (KMPR)
      18th and F Streets, NW
      Washington, DC  20405

      Telephone: (202) 501-3194 or FTS 241-3194 (v).
		 (202) 501-0657 or FTS 241-0657 (tdd).

b.  For technical advice and assistance regarding accommodation strategies for
    employees with disabilities, contact:

      General Services Administration
      Clearinghouse on Computer Accommodation
      18th and F Streets, NW
      Washington, DC  20405

      Telephone: (202) 501-4906 or FTS 241-4906 (v/tdd).

c.  The FIRS staff may be contacted regarding information on FIRS or the 
    Federal TDD Directory at:

      General Services Administration
      Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS)
      National Capital Region
      7th and D Streets, SW
      Washington, DC  20407

      Telephone: (202) 708-6100 or FTS 458-6100 (v/tdd).

6.  Acronyms.

   ATBCB     Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board
   COAT      Council on Accessibility Technology
   COCA      Clearinghouse on Computer Accommodation
   FIRS      Federal Information Relay Service Pub. L.   Public Law
   TDD       Telecommunications Device for the Deaf

7.  Definition.

"Information accessibility" means the application or configuration of FIP
resources in a manner that accommodates the functional limitations of
individuals with disabilities so as to promote productivity and provide
access to work-related or public information resources.

8.  Background.  The Telecommunications Accessibility Enhancement Act of
1988 (Pub. L. 100-542, 102 Stat. 2721) charged the General Services
Administration (GSA) with assuring that the Federal telecommunications
system be fully accessible to hearing and speech impaired individuals.
Included among the provisions of this law is the requirement that GSA
prescribe regulations to help assure such accessibility.  In consultation
with COAT, GSA has developed these guidelines as well as related
regulatory provisions in the FIRMR to comply with this statutory mandate.
This bulletin will be revised periodically to keep pace with technological
advancements and as dictated by agency compliance with FIRMR policies and
procedures.

9.  General.

a.  Individuals with hearing and speech impairments should be provided
access to Federal telecommunications services and facilities.
Technological advances, such as the TDD, make this possible.  A TDD is a
machine that uses typed input and output, usually with a visual text
display, to enable individuals with hearing or speech impairments to
communicate over a telecommunications network.

b. Technological advances for non-disabled individuals may have an even
   greater long-term effect on improving telecommunications accessibility for
   those with hearing and speech impairments.  Such advances include
   electronic mail; facsimile; teleconferencing; LAN-based video imaging;
   text-based information services and messaging; and remote, real-time
   transcription/translation capabilities.  Many of these services are
   available to agencies through FTS2000, GSA's long-distance
   telecommunications service.  GSA's TDD relay service will also improve the
   ability of those with hearing and speech impairments to access Federal
   agencies.  The flexibility inherent in these new telecommunications
   capabilities makes it possible to accommodate the special requirements of
   speech and hearing impaired individuals.

10.  GSA responsibilities and actions.

a. In accordance with Pub. L. 100-542, GSA is required to:

   1) Assume responsibility for the operation of the pilot Federal
   telecommunications relay system operated by the Department of the
   Treasury and the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance
   Board (ATBCB).  Attachment A contains information on this system.

   (2) Assemble, publish, and maintain a directory of TDD and other
   devices used by Federal agencies and publish access numbers for TDD's
   and other devices in Federal telephone directories.  Attachment B
   contains information on the Federal TDD Directory.

   (3) In consultation with the ATBCB, adopt the design of a standard
   logo to indicate the presence of TDD equipment in Federal buildings.

   (4) Jointly with the FCC, promote research to reduce the cost and
   improve the capabilities of equipment for providing
   telecommunications accessibility for those with hearing and speech
   impairments.

   (5) Consider technological improvements in telecommunications
   accessibility devices when planning future alterations and
   modifications to the Federal telecommunications system.

b.  GSA solicitations for local telecommunications services or equipment
   will include specifications that require vendors to provide services or
   equipment to ensure accessibility for hearing and speech impaired
   individuals.

c.  GSA's COCA staff will assist Federal agencies in identifying strategies to
   accommodate the telecommunications needs of their employees with 
   disabilities.

11.  Agency responsibilities.  Agencies are responsible for:

a.  Assessing telecommunications accessibility for individuals with hearing
   and speech impairments and developing specifications for solicitations.
   Attachment C provides guidance on how to fulfill these responsibilities.

b.  Publishing access numbers for TDD and TDD-related devices in agency
   telephone directories and providing such numbers to GSA for inclusion in
   the Federal TDD Directory in accordance with the procedures in Attachment B
   of this bulletin.

c.  Displaying in their buildings or offices the standard logo specified by
   GSA for indicating the presence of TDD or TDD-related equipment.  In
   accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, Part 8, the mandatory
   source of supply for standard logo signs is UNICOR, Federal Prison
   Industries, Inc. (FPI).  Prior approval from FPI is required before using
   any other source of supply.  Purchase Orders should be submitted to:

       UNICOR, Federal Prison Industries, Inc. 
       320 First Street, NW., 
       Washington, DC  20534.  
       (202) 724-8239.

12.  Cancellation.  FIRMR Bulletin 63 is canceled.


Original signed by:
   Thomas J. Buckholtz
   Commissioner
   Information Resources
   Management Service


FIRMR Bulletin C-10
Attachment A


FEDERAL INFORMATION RELAY SERVICE (FIRS)

1. Background.  In 1986, the Federal TDD Relay Exchange Service was
   initiated as a pilot project of the ATBCB and the Department of the
   Treasury.  Pub. L.  100-542 required that GSA assume responsibility for
   this pilot relay service.  GSA began operation of its own relay system,
   called FIRS, on March 20, 1989.  GSA has since expanded its relay system by
   adding additional operators and nationwide toll-free (800) service to allow
   individuals with hearing and speech impairments to communicate with and
   within the Federal Government.

2. Description of service.  FIRS allows communication between hearing and
   non-hearing individuals through a GSA operator relaying messages between
   the two parties.  The GSA operator uses a computer that is configured to
   accept incoming TDD calls to converse with hearing or speech impaired
   individuals and a telephone to converse with hearing individuals.  At least
   one of the individuals whose message is being relayed must be conducting
   official business of the Federal Government.  Hearing individuals may also
   originate calls over FIRS.  The relay's operating hours are from 8 a.m. to
   7 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays.  The local
   number for the TDD service is (202) 708-9300 (v/tdd).  The nationwide
   number is (800) 877-8339 (v/tdd).

3.  Agency responsibilities.  Users of FIRS must assume certain
   responsibilities in order to assure the most efficient operation of the
   system.  Future revisions of this bulletin and a brochure on the use of
   FIRS will explain these responsibilties.

4.  Information and assistance.  Information and assistance regarding the
   FIRS or how agencies might establish their own TDD relay systems should be
   addressed to:

      General Services Administration
      Federal Information Relay Service
      National Capital Region
      7th and D Streets, SW
      Washington, DC  20407

      Telephone (202) 708-6100 or FTS 458-6100 (v/tdd).


FIRMR Bulletin C-10
Attachment B


FEDERAL TDD DIRECTORY


1. Purpose.  The purpose of the Federal TDD directory is to provide a
   single source where access numbers can be found for all Federal agency TDD
   and TDD-related equipment.

2. Description.  The directory will be published by GSA on a regular basis
   and will provide Federal agency TDD accessible numbers.  It will also
   provide information on GSA's FIRS and other services provided for hearing
   and speech impaired individuals.

3. GSA Responsibilities.  GSA will maintain and update the TDD directory.  The
   directory will be made available electronically on a regular basis and
   periodically in paper form.

4. Agency Responsibilities.  Agencies must:

a. Provide accurate and current TDD numbers to GSA to the address listed
   below on a regular basis for publishing in the Federal TDD directory.  This
   may be facilitated by establishing an agency contact point for TDD number
   collection.

b. Publish TDD accessible numbers and other appropriate information in
   agency telephone directories.

5. Information and assistance.  Information and assistance on issues
   dealing with the Federal TDD directory should be addressed to:

      General Services Administration
      Federal Information Relay Service
      National Capital Region
      7th and D Streets, SW
      Washington, DC  20407

      Telephone: (202) 708-6100 or FTS 458-6100 (v/tdd).



FIRMR Bulletin C-10
Attachment C


AGENCY TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACCESSIBILITY PLANNING


1. Assessing telecommunications accessibility.  Agency managers should be
   aware of the many different solutions for providing telecommunications
   accessibility for individuals with speech or hearing impairments.
   Accommodation needs vary by individual, communication situation, and
   functional job requirements.  Interviews should be conducted with
   individual employees to identify and accommodate the employee's needs
   relative to one-on-one communications, telephone usage, travel, meetings,
   and training.  Surveys may also be useful to determine how best to
   accommodate those with hearing and speech impairments who may need to
   communicate with the agency.  The whole range of telecommunications and
   computer-based capabilities should be explored as both technologies are
   playing an increasingly important role as accommodation solutions for
   individuals in a wide variety of telecommunication situations.  Agencies
   must also follow the applicable policies and procedures of FIRMR paragraphs
   201-18.002(c) and 201-20.103-7(c).

2. Accessibility solutions.  After a requirements analysis encompassing the
   needs of speech and hearing impaired individuals has been conducted,
   agencies should incorporate functional performance specifications into
   solicitations or take other action to satisfy identified requirements.
   Following are accessibility solutions that agencies may consider in their
   planning.  GSA local service telecommunications contracts will contain
   specifications regarding TDD and TDD-related equipment and may also be
   referred to for guidance in this area.

      a.  Public information services.  Individuals with speech and hearing
      impairments must be able to access agency information services.  In
      the current environment, this requirement can be met with a TDD
      accessible telephone line and related end-user equipment (TDD or a
      microcomputer configured to support TDD access) at each office that
      has been established to respond to public inquiries.  If the TDD
      number is not a dedicated line, the incoming call sequencing system
      must be able to acknowledge a TDD call, send a wait message to the
      caller, and accept the call in sequence.  In addition, as agencies
      develop proposals for improving information services to the public,
      agency plans should include the telecommunications requirements of
      persons with speech and hearing impairments.  For example, if an
      automated information service with prerecorded voice messages is
      being considered, plans must be made for providing the same
      information in a text messaging mode that would support equivalent
      information access by TDD users.  This design flexibility would
      provide for access by hearing impaired individuals and would also
      benefit hearing individuals who prefer to access information visually
      through microcomputers rather than voice messages on the telephone.
      The text mode (electronic bulletin board) should be accessible
      through a dedicated line unless a single-line configuration is
      available that can distinguish between a human voice or machine-based
      inquiry and respond appropriately with audio or text response.

      b.  Amplification.

	 (1) A hearing impaired employee will usually know whether
	 telephone amplification is beneficial and what type is most
	 useful.  Many hearing aids have a telephone setting that
	 can amplify sound, if an appropriate handset is used.
	 Vendors can provide a handset with the appropriate magnetic
	 field intensity to be compatible with this type of hearing
	 aid setting.  Battery powered, portable handset amplifiers
	 are also available for calls made at other phones and on
	 travel.  The amplifier can slip over the handset of most
	 telephones.  Speech impaired individuals may benefit from
	 telephone handsets that amplify the volume of their voice.

	 (2) Portable telephone adapters can increase the magnetic
	 field intensity of telephones that do not otherwise emit
	 sufficient magnetic leakage to be picked up by the
	 telephone switch of the hearing aid.

	 (3) The Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 (Pub. L.
	 100-394) requires that, with certain exceptions, all
	 telephones, whether manufactured for use in the United
	 States, or imported, "provide internal means for effective
	 use with hearing aids that are designed to be compatible
	 with telephones which meet established technical standards
	 for hearing aid compatibility."

      c.  Telecommunications devices for the deaf.  For an employee who
      cannot use an amplified telephone, a TDD will be required to support
      work-related needs.  A TDD permits a hearing or speech impaired
      person to communicate over a standard telephone with another TDD user
      or through a relay operator to reach a non-TDD user.  A standard
      microcomputer can be configured to function as a TDD through the
      addition of special hardware and software that supports Baudot, the
      code used by most TDD's.  Enhancing a microcomputer to serve a TDD
      function is becoming a viable option.  A computer-based solution
      should reflect a user's requirements and allow call announcement and
      pick-up without exiting other microcomputer application programs.
      Although still in wide use, TDDs that support Baudot only are
      considered obsolete technology.

      d.  TDD relay service.  An agency with a large number of hearing or
      speech impaired employees or clients may elect to establish a TDD
      relay system for the agency's own use.  A TDD relay system is a
      service which utilizes hearing operators to transmit TDD messages
      from hearing impaired individuals to hearing individuals.  The GSA
      FIRS staff can provide advice on how to establish such a system.

      e.  Signalling devices.  The sounds in the individual's work area
      that should be translated into non-auditory signals must be
      determined.  Signalling devices can be installed that provide visual
      signals and/or vibrations to supplement the auditory signals of
      different sounds in a room, such as a telephone ringing, equipment
      malfunctioning, or a computer beeping a warning message.  For some
      individuals, tone ringer devices that convert the ring of telephones
      into a frequency range more easily heard are beneficial.  Paging
      capabilities provide a flexible means for sending text messages to a
      hearing impaired individual.

      f.  Electronic mail.  Electronic mail presents no barrier to
      communication by speech impaired or hearing impaired individuals
      because it is a visual process only.  Electronic mail systems should
      include a feature that provides an auditory and visual signal to
      announce an incoming call and the option for interactive conversation
      mode or messaging mode if the receiving party isn't available.

      g.  Voice mail.  Voice mail may be a useful option for a TDD user who
      is able to speak.  Spoken messages could be sent independent of a
      relay operator.  Repeated telephone calls to reach a party are
      eliminated because such a system typically continues to place the
      call until the message is received.  A voice mail message would be
      relayed to the hearing impaired individual in a manner similar to the
      way telephone messages are usually handled.

      h.  Facsimile.  Sending hard copy documents or handwritten notes
      through a facsimile machine also provides a valuable alternative to
      telephone messaging for some communications situations.  Facsimile
      (commonly referred to as fax) is the electronic transmission of
      letters and pictures over regular telephone lines.  Fax systems
      should provide line status information in a visual manner (either
      text display or status lights) for feedback to individuals not able
      to benefit from auditory status information due to hearing loss or a
      noisy environment.  A microcomputer card option may be a viable
      alternative to a stand-alone fax machine for individuals that usually
      need to transmit data that has been generated on a computer.  A
      combination fax machine/telephone may also be an alternative to a
      stand-alone fax machine.

      i.  On-site and remote interpreter services.  Professional sign
      language interpreters are available on a contractual basis to
      accommodate hearing impaired people who communicate using American
      Sign Language.  Hearing impaired individuals and their supervisors
      should develop a plan to ensure that interpreter services are
      available when necessary.  Currently, interpreters are required to be
      on-site when interpreting at meetings, conferences, and courses.  The
      emergence of video-phones, teleconferencing and LAN-based video
      imaging capabilities may provide opportunities for more comprehensive
      and cost-effective remote interpreting services.  This will be
      achieved when agencies are able to purchase commercially available
      teleconferencing equipment that supports the minimum scan rate
      necessary to transmit sign language.

      j.  Augmentative communication devices.  Some individuals with speech
      impairments use augmentative communication devices.  These devices
      are typically computer-based, portable, and include a speech output
      capability.  Depending upon the individual's work-related
      requirements, a second communication device might be used with a
      recorded message to respond to incoming calls and alert the caller
      that a computer-based synthesized voice will be used during the
      conversation.

3. Information and assistance.  Information and assistance requests dealing 
   with telecommunications accessibility for hearing and speech impaired 
   individuals should be addressed to:

       General Services Administration
       Clearinghouse on Computer Accommodation
       18th and F Streets, NW
       Washington, DC  20405

       Telephone: (202) 501-4906 or FTS 241-4906 (v/tdd)