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HLAA Exhibitor: Alternative Communication Services, LLC (ACS)

 By Cheryl Heppner, 8/8/11

Alternative Communication Services provides voice-to-text and Sign language services across the nation.  The text services include in-person CART, remote CART, captioning, and Text Interpreting through use of C-Print and TypeWell technologies.  Spanish captioning services are also available.

When I arrived for my annual HLAA visit with Phil Hyssong, a Manager/Owner, to learn what is new and of interest to consumers, Phil said he was more interested in learning what consumer have shared with me.  He asked about their experiences with captioning and CART, and queries me on what improvements I would personally like to see. 

I mentioned that I am using remote CART much more frequently for conference calls, and that it helps me a great deal to know what is being discussed. However, I still have great difficulty participating. I listen with my phone while watching captions on the secure remote CART website, but when I want to make a comment or ask a question I cannot judge when someone is finished speaking or seem to find the proper time to jump in when there is a pause. Most of the time someone else is already speaking and too often I end up feeling like just a spectator.

Phil pointed me to the chat feature that ACS offers for remote CART as one solution.  The chat box is on the right of the remote CART screen.  Participants in a call can agree to use the chat box the way they’d raise their hand for recognition for an in-person meeting.  The leader or moderator of the call can ask participants to type their name in the chat box when they want to speak, and all individuals will be able to see who is next in line.

ACS continues to seek ways to improve the quality of its services and to educate its clients and the public on how they can .  The solutions are varied. One could be having subject matter experts as CART or caption writers for topics like advanced math and engineering. Another might be providing the meeting agenda and background information on what will be discussed, with a list of those participating in the meeting and unfamiliar words that might be used.