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By Lois Baker

Release Date: December 5, 1994 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo has teamed up with NYNEX to create a demonstration area that displays assistive devices to help persons with disabilities communicate via the telephone.

The demonstration area, located in the UB Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) in Kimball Tower on the South (Main Street) Campus, allows people to see, learn about and test assistive devices before purchasing them. The devices are not sold at the center, but information is available on where they may be obtained, says Thomas E. Burford, Ph.D., project coordinator for the Western New York Regional TRAID (Technology Related Assistance for Persons with Disabilities) Center, which brought the demonstration area to CAT.

The Western New York TRAID center, located in CAT, is one of six across the state established to raise awareness of devices and services that assist persons with disabilities.

The TRAID center introduces both people with disabilities and health-care professionals to the assistive devices. "Part of our job is to acquaint service providers and consumers with what technology is available," Burford says.

The center's operational telephone lines allow people to place calls to try out adapted devices such as the TTY, which enables hearing-impaired individuals to communicate over the telephone via a keyboard. Other devices include special headsets to amplify voices for the speech-impaired or in-coming sounds for the hearing impaired, large-button phones for the visually impaired, and artificial larynxes to allow persons who have undergone laryngectomies to speak.

Approximately 50 people with special needs and hundreds of health-care professionals and service providers have visited the center since it began demonstrations a year ago.

The demonstration area, formally inaugurated at a ceremony earlier this month, is one of the latest efforts by the state TRAID Project, the New York State Office of Advocate for Persons with Disabilities and NYNEX to expand services available at the TRAID regional technology centers across the state.

The TRAID Project is partially funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.