National Council on Disability Document Archive

Guide to TTY usage -- TTYGUIDE.TXT

Posted by: Jamal Mazrui
Date Mailed: Thursday, July 24th 1997 09:12 AM

U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board
Using a TTY

For additional copies (also available in alternative formats) or more
information on Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TTYs), call the Access
Board at:

202/272-5449 TTY  OR  202/272-5434 Voice


This pamphlet describes how to handle TTY (also known as text telephone) calls
and gives a list of TTY abbreviations and syntax often used by persons with
speech and hearing impairments.

If your TTY phone is also used for voice calls, be sure the person who answers
your phone but voice knows how to recognize and answer a TTY call.  You will
usually hear a high-pitched, electronic beeping sound when it is a TTY call.
However, some TTYs do not make this sound or the person calling may forget to
tap the space bar to produce it.  Therefore, if you hear no voice, assume it is
a TTY call.

TTYs should be placed near a telephone so there is minimal delay in answering
TTY calls.  Further, this phone should be accessible to and usable by persons
with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs. 


1)    Place the phone receiver in the receiver cradle of your TTY adapter. 
(For correct receiver placement, note picture, notch,  or the word "cord.")
Turn your TTY on.

2)    The person who answers the call is the first to type.  Type your      
agency name and your name.  Then type "GA."

3)    "GA" means go ahead and type.  This is the signal for the other person to
begin typing.  "HD" means hold.  This is the signal that the person typing must
stop for a minute, but he/she will be back.  In fact, do not leave the phone
unless you first type "HD."  "SK" means stop keying.  This is how you show that
the conversation is ended and that you will hang up.  It is polite to type
good-bye, thank you for calling, or some other closing remark before you type

Some sample opening and closing messages are:

      Hello, Access Board, this is Jane Smith, may I help u? GA 
      Dept. of Justice, Ms. Smith here.  May I help u?  GA
      Good AM, this is Ms. Smith at the Dept. of Agriculture. GA 
      Thank u for calling, bye to SK or GA

      Have a good day. GA to SK

Because of the amount of time it takes to send and receive messages, it's
important to remember that short words and sentences are desired by both
parties (see list of common TTY terminology on last page.) 


With TTY calls you will not be able to interrupt when the other person is

Sometimes you may get a garbled message in all numbers or mixed numbers and
letters.  You should strike the space bar and see if the message clears up.  If
not, when the person stops typing, you should say, "Message all garbled, please
repeat."  If the garbled messages continue, this may mean that one of the TTYs
is not working properly or that you may have a bad connection.  In this case
you should say something like, "Let's hang up and you call me back or I'll call
you back." 


1)    Again, place the phone receiver securely in the TTY receiver cradle and
turn on your TTY.  Make sure you have a dial tone by checking for a steady
light on the TTY status indicator.

2)    Dial the number and watch the status indicator light to see if the dial
number is ringing.  The ring will make a long slow flash or two short flashes
with a pause in between.  If the line is busy, you will see short, continuous
flashes on your indicator light.  When the phone is answered, you will see an
irregular light signal as the phone is picked up and placed in the cradle.  If
you are calling a combination TTY and voice number, you should tap the space
bar several times to help the person on the other end identify this as a TTY


If your call is not answered via a TTY after 10-15 seconds, tap the space bar
of your TTY to let the person know that it is a TTY call.  If your call still
is not answered, this could mean one of several things.  You may have dialed an
incorrect number, or your call did not go through.  A signal on your monitor
light that someone is speaking may mean you have reached a recorded message.


If you make a mistake in spelling, you can either type "xxx" and then retype
the correct spelling or use the Back Space key to delete the misspelled

To type numbers on some TTYs, you may have to use the Shift key.  Consult your
TTY manual for specific operating instructions.

The message of some TTY callers may appear to be nonstandard English.  Please
do not mistake this as a lack of intelligence on the part of the caller. 
Instead, it may be due to differences between hearing and deaf cultures or the
use of TTY terminology.  Extend the same patience and courtesy to TTY callers
as you do to all others.


Afternoon/Evening                 PM
Although                          THO
Are                               R
Because                           CUZ
Center                            CTR
Could                             CUD
Go ahead (your turn to type)      GA
Hold                              HD
Meeting                           MTG
Morning                           AM
Number                            NBR
Oh, I see                         OIC
Operator                          OPR
Pause (thinking)                  HMMM
Please                            PLS
Question                          Q
See you later                     CUL
Should                            SHUD
Stop keying (end of conversation) SK
To show appreciation              SMILE
Tomorrow                          TMR
Would                             WUD
You                               U
Your                              UR

End of Document

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