2021 June – Partner eNews

June 2021

Program News

ABLE Tech would like to thank our partners for all the hard work during the pandemic. Demonstration and loan numbers were impressive for FY 2020! We were able to maintain #1 out of 55 programs in device demonstrations and #2 out of 55 programs for short-term loan programs. Check out these results:

State-Level Activities

Device Demonstrations result in informed decision-making about which A.T. will and will not meet an individual’s disability needs and prevents wasted expenditures on ‘mismatched’ A.T. For example if an agency/individual explores two electronic magnification devices and decides that one costing $2,000 is perfect – they have potentially saved another $2,000 by knowing the other device they explored would not meet their needs (avoided purchasing to only find the device was not a good match).

11,318 individuals participated in 6,105 device demonstrations conducted by Oklahoma ABLE Tech in FFY 2020. Projecting a modest $50 savings for each demonstration conducted results in a statewide savings of $305,250.

Device Short-Term Loans result in informed and accurate AT purchasing decisions especially in unique contexts like a classroom or workplace. When a school or employer can borrow a device and make sure it will allow the individual with a disability to be successful, they save money by avoiding ‘incorrect’ purchases. Device short-term loans also allow individuals to remain functional while a device is being repaired, preventing costly loss of wages, lost school days, or the need for increased community living supports.

2,601 device short-term loans were made to individuals or agencies with 2,601 devices borrowed from Oklahoma ABLE Tech in FFY 2020.

Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program will offer a temporary benefit to help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The $3.2B Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for qualifying households on qualifying Tribal lands.  The benefit also provides up to a $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider. 

A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:  

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Poverty Guidelines or participates in specific assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020, at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Emergency Broadband Benefit enrollment will begin (opened) on May 12, 2021. Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail-in application.  Additional information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at  www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week.

Dyslexia Handbook Bill Signed into Law

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation allowing for easier updating of the Oklahoma Dyslexia Handbook has been approved by Governor Kevin Stitt.

In 2019, the Dyslexia and Education Task Force, appointed by the Legislature, created the Oklahoma Dyslexia Handbook for schools in Oklahoma. House Bill 2223, authored by Rep. Randy Randleman, R-Eufaula, assigns that handbook to the State Dept. of Education so it can be updated as needed to establish appropriate assessment and interventions for children with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and processing delays.

“After working for decades with students experiencing a variety of learning disabilities, I know firsthand the significant role the Oklahoma Dyslexia Handbook will play in the education of thousands of children,” Randleman said. “It’s critical that these issues are identified and addressed as early as possible, and I look forward to seeing the difference it makes in these students’ lives as they are able to enjoy learning again.”

Randleman is a licensed psychologist and has worked with school-age children for over 20 years. Rep. Mike Dobrinski, R-Okeene, was a co-author of the bill.

“The Oklahoma Dyslexia Handbook was something of extreme importance to my predecessor Mike Sanders, and something I vowed to see over the finish line for him,” Dobrinski said. “I’m glad to see this mission accomplished and the good it will do for countless children in our public schools.”

HB2223 was authored in the Senate by Sen. Dewayne Pemberton. It goes into effect on Nov. 1, 2021.

A.T. and Durable Medical Equipment (D.M.E.) Available through ABLE Tech

ABLE Tech offers an opportunity for gently-used equipment to find new users! As A.T. is removed from ABLE Tech Demonstration and Short-Term Loan Program inventory, or items have been donated, they are placed on the ABLE Tech Device Exchange Program website. To explore the available D.M.E. and A.T., first, go to the Device Reutilization Portal found on the ABLE Tech Website. Follow the link to “View Reutilization Items”. A couple of successful tips for searching for available items:

  • Search by Device Category in the available dropdown
  • Add Search Parameters specific to what you are searching for: i.e. “amplified telephone” or “magnifier”

Spotlight on Success: Oklahoma Certified Modified Vehicle Vendors

Did you know ABLE Tech Partners with Certified Modified Vehicle Vendors?

A modified vehicle allows a person to stay more independently connected to the community and complete meaningful daily activities. People with physical disabilities have unique challenges to driving, entering, exiting, and being transported safely that may be overcome with A.T. and/or vehicle modifications. Vehicle Modifications is one of ten A.T. categories recognized by the A.T. Act, and because of this, ABLE Tech partners with three certified modified vehicle vendors in Oklahoma who provide expertise in exploring the most appropriate modifications for a person’s access.

Newby Vance logo Handicapped Vehicle Services logo United Access blue and red logo

To learn more about Vehicle Modifications – such as modified seatbelt access, transfer aids, and other simple or unique A.T. solutions, as well as funding options and resources about vehicle modifications available to you, go to the A.T Discovery website. *Bonus: ABLE Tech’s Financial Loan Program can assist with modified vehicle purchases and offers to cost-share with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)!

A.T. Vehicle Modification Features of the Month: 

Visit the ABLE Tech homepage to learn more about the featured Assistive Technology.