2020 November Partner eNews

November 2020

By the Numbers - ABLE Tech Annual Totals

State-Level Activities:
Device Demonstrations: 6,045
Device Short-Term Loans: 2,592
Financial Loans: 186 for a total of $883,533
Device Reutilization:
     Reuse: 1,375 for a total of $427,605
     Exchange: 10,194 for a total of $198,662

State Leadership Activities:
Information and Assistance: 12,460
Training: 3,200

* Dollar amounts indicate savings to Oklahomans

OSDE AT Virtual Trainings a Success

ABLE Tech is moving full steam ahead with the semi-annual training for AT Consideration and Implementation in the IEP for Special Education Professionals serving students with disabilities for the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). This year, both fall and spring (3-part series) workshops are being offered virtually. The fall workshop series started in September and will go through November 2020. Here are some comments from participants:
“I loved the make-and-takes!!! So cool to see how simple objects can be manipulated in different ways to help multiple students.” 

“I now know where to start. I was completely overwhelmed before this training but now I know where to look within my district documents and I know who to contact if I have questions.” 

The 2021 training dates are set. Training materials will be mailed to participants prior to Workshop 1 and include low-tech AT Make ‘n Take activities.

Register now for 2021 as slots fill up fast!

Session 1 - January 14, 2021

Session 2 - February 11, 2021

Session 3 - March 11, 2021

Registration links can be found on the ABLE Tech AT Support Team Workshop webpage. 

SoonerStart & ABLE Tech Collaboration - Success Stories

Comanche County Success Story

Hunter is a bright, busy, twenty-three-month-old boy from Comanche County who has Multiple Sclerosis. Hunter received a stander for assistance with upright positioning. SoonerStart's physical therapist and early childhood educator used Skype to provide a virtual demonstration to help guide Hunter's parents on appropriately using the durable medical equipment (DME) correctly.

Hunter now enjoys using the stander frequently throughout the day actively playing in an upright position. This was made possible through a collaboration with SoonerStart and ABLE Tech!

1st Quarter Team Winner

The Comanche County SoonerStart team has earned the 1st Quarter Recognition Award! The team will receive $500 in new assistive technology (AT) to add to the county’s demonstration kit!

Partner Highlight: The Scholl Center

Masks have certainly impacted those across the lifespan with hearing impairments. The Scholl Center, who partners with ABLE Tech’s Device Demonstrations and Short-Term Loan Program, has seen this firsthand. The Scholl Center has had an increase in patient calls and appointments since COVID-19 began. For people with hearing loss, there is frequently a dependence on visual cues – such as lip reading and facial expressions. Typical masks have made lip-reading and other visual cues impossible to do for a person with hearing loss. In addition, the volume of speech is decreased by 3-12 dB depending on the mask as it mutes the projection of one’s voice with the mask.

The Scholl Center has also seen patients, who wear hearing aids, experience difficulties when removing masks as this often causes hearing aids to fall out. The Scholl Center has found some creative solutions to help patients. Some of those solutions include recommending accessories for hearing aids to help increase the volume for television, and in-person meetings, by providing additional ear-level sound receivers. For non-hearing aid wearers, the Scholl Center recommends AT such as a personal sound amplification system.

AT Device Feature

Lime Lighter Low Vision Music Reading Device

The Lime Lighter is a complete hardware and software package which that gives low vision musicians with low vision access to printed sheet music. The software is loaded on a Windows touch screen tablet and is controlled by a Bluetooth foot pedal that allows users to scroll through the music hands-free. Music can be imported into Lime Lighter via scanning using the included SharpEYE Music Reader, via importing music XML documents or typed/played in. The music is then magnified from 1.25X to 10X on the Lime Lighter display.

View in the ABLE Tech loan inventory   Search: Lime Lighter

AEM Cohort

ABLE Tech will collaborate with diverse partners to further develop and expand accessible educational materials (AEM) and technology services in the state. 

ABLE Tech is proud to share the news that Oklahoma has been selected to participate in the 2020-2024 AEM Cohort. Oklahoma is one of seven states, chosen from a competitive field of applicants, who will receive four years of support and technical assistance from the National Center on AEM with the goal of improving access to literacy and educational opportunities for individuals across the lifespan.

The core state-level AEM leadership team includes representatives from the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the AIM Center at the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Liberty Braille, Decoding Dyslexia, and ABLE Tech!

An Interagency Collaborative will be developed and plans are to include representatives from three school districts, higher education, parent training and information center, and the workforce. ABLE Tech looks forward to advancing a state system of accessibility for individuals with disabilities from early childhood through postsecondary education and employment.

Reutilization Program News

The Reutilization Program has recently received an influx of new AT and durable medical equipment (DME) donations. ABLE Tech would like to thank a couple of new organizations who are partnering to facilitate these donations: Christ for Humanity and KEDDO Area Agency on Aging.

Thanks also goes to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority for continued support and funding for the Reutilization Program. ABLE Tech appreciates these continued (and new!) partnerships that allow the program to serve individuals statewide to meet their AT and DME needs.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility Update

Did you know that Oklahoma ABLE Tech can test your website to see if it is accessible to people with disabilities? ABLE Tech offers different levels of testing and technical assistance, from quick spot checks to site-wide assessment.

We work with website designers, web developers, product managers, and leadership to help to make sure that organizations understand where digital products have accessibility barriers. We may also be able to provide guidance to help remove barriers.

Contact Rob Carr at rgcarr@okstate.edu for assistance.

New CDFI Funds for Financial Loan Products

OkAT and Financial Loan Program logoThe Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT)/ABLE Tech was one of 357 organizations receiving $187.3 million in awards. These funds will allow OkAT/ABLE Tech to offer additional, affordable financial products and services that meet the unique needs of economically underserved communities. Specifically, OkAT was awarded $350,000 in Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Financial Assistance (FA) funds and $150,000 in CDFI Disability Funds (DF)-FA for a total of $500,000 through the U.S. Department of Treasury. These funds will be deployed over the next 3 full fiscal years.  

The FA funds will be used for the Financial Loan Program to implement new products.  OkAT/ABLE Tech will expand the micro-loan product and implement a home modification product.  The DF-FA funds have the flexibility to be used for products to individuals with disabilities in general. Congratulations to OkAT and ABLE Tech! 

Welcome Shelley Cagle

ABLE Tech is excited Shelley Cagle has joined the team as a staff member in October 2020 as the assistive technology (AT) Teacher. 

Shelley brings 17 years of experience in the field of education, administration, and working with students with disabilities. She has experience as a special education director, public speaker, and video editor. Additionally, she has a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master’s in Education Administration.

Oklahoma ABLE Tech

CONTACT: Shelby Sanders, shelby.sanders@okstate.edu