Communication Technology & Outreach Program

Disability Rights Maine's Communication Technology Outreach Program travels statewide speaking at hospitals, community groups, law enforcement agencies and various businesses about Maine Relay Service (MERS) and hearing-loss related topics.

Maine Relay Service is a service that makes it possible for anyone with a hearing loss or speech impairment to communicate by telephone. Maine Relay also allows businesses and service providers to connect with everyone in their community, improving access to services for all.

If you know an individual who has a barrier to using a standard telephone – whether they are D/deaf, hard-of-hearing, or late-deafened, or have a speech, cognitive, memory or physical disability - there may well be a specialty phone that can work for them. The application for specialized adaptive equipment through Maine’s Telecommunication Equipment Program (TEP) is relatively easy, requiring proof of disability and income. Individuals meeting the income guidelines often receive equipment at no cost, and most qualify for low cost. Low income seniors over 65 may qualify to choose the hearing aid option instead.

We’d love to reach out to YOUR organization. If you’d like to schedule a training, a ‘Lunch and Learn’ or presentation about hearing loss, Maine Relay Service (MERS), Maine’s adaptive Telecommunication Equipment Program (TEP), Civil Rights or more please contact us 207.797.7656.

DRM May Be Able to Help You!

Elaine Williams, DRM Deaf Services' Communications Technology Manager, talks with CTN 5 about assistance available for individuals who have difficulty communicating over the phone!


Watch: Overcoming Communication Barriers (Archived Webinar)

Learn How DRM's Telecommunications & Deaf-Blind Equipment Programs Can Help You

In this one-hour presentation, DRM Communications Technology staff will talk about programs that provide low- or no-cost adaptive telephone and distance communication equipment to Maine residents.

Elaine Williams, DRM Communications Technology Manager, will provide an overview of the Telephone Equipment Program (TEP), discussing the types of equipment available to Mainers with disabilities who are unable to use a standard telephone; how to qualify for the program and the application process; and support available to clients after they receive their equipment. She will also provide an overview of the relay services available in the State of Maine that assist with telephone communication for individuals who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind, hard of hearing, or who have difficulty speaking.

Scott Murray, Coordinator of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) in Maine, will discuss how this program makes distance communication-related equipment available to people with dual sensory impairment (sight and sound); the types of equipment that are available; who may be eligible to receive equipment; and the application process. 

The presentation will also include general information on hearing loss and dual sensory impairment, including demographics, psychological impact of hearing loss, and tips and strategies to optimize communication.

Watch archived presentation

Download presentation slides (PDF)