January Newsletter: AT News You Can Use

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Happy New Year!

The staff at ABLE Tech wish you and your families and organizations a Happy and Healthy New Year! Please let us know how we can support you throughout 2022!

ABLE Tech's 2021 Annual Report

FFY 2021 Federal Investment: $478,582 Savings & Benefits for Oklahomans: $4,281,103We are proud to share the results of ABLE Tech's services to individuals with disabilities in Oklahoma.

Read more about ABLE Tech's impact on the 2021 Annual Report webpage.


Celebrate World Braille Day on January 4th

Happy Birthday, Louis BrailleWorld Braille Day is celebrated every January 4th to recognize Louis Braille’s birthday, the inventor of braille. Louis was born in 1809 in France. He became blind after a childhood accident, and he quickly mastered his new way of living. When he was just 15 years old, he created the system we know today as braille, based on a system of writing developed by Charles Barbier. Over the years braille was tweaked to make it easier to read, and now it’s used the world over!

World Braille Day is a reminder of the importance of accessibility and independence for those who are blind or visually impaired. World Braille Day spreads awareness about braille and other accessible forms of communication. Everyone deserves (and is legally entitled to) the same accommodations and services, regardless of ability. Braille is one of several strategies used to ensure Accessible Educational Materials for students who need them. Learn more on the World Braille Day website.

Oklahoma State University logoOSU Opportunity Orange Scholars Program

An inclusive postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities.

Opportunity Orange Scholars, a new postsecondary education program at Oklahoma State University, will begin accepting applications in January for its first cohort of students.

Opportunity Orange Scholars is a two-year, residential, non-degree certificate for young adults between the ages of 18 and 26 who have an intellectual disability and do not meet OSU’s degree-seeking admission standards. The program’s first cohort will begin in August 2022. Learn more about Opportunity Orange Scholars and the program’s Admission and Application Information.

Featured Vision Assistive Technology 

Check out the featured February items:

Braille Buzz toy
BrailleNote Touch 32 Plus
giggly wiggly book
Suduko Braille Set

Learn more about Assistive Technology (AT) for people of all ages on the ABLE Tech AT Discovery webpages.

orange disability icons

Join us in Spring 2022 for the AT Assessment Workshop Series

The 2022 virtual training dates are now set. Training materials will be mailed to participants prior to Session 1 and include low-tech AT Make ‘n Take activities.

  • Session 1: Consideration of Assistive Technology (AT)  - January 13, 2022
  • Session 2: AT Assessment and AT in the IEP - February 10, 2022
  • Session 3: AT Implementation - March 10, 2022

Free CEUs are offered for Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists!  

Registration links are posted to the ABLE Tech AT Support Team Workshop webpage.

Ask ABLE Tech

We are starting a new section of the newsletter- Ask ABLE Tech. Please send us any questions you may have about Assistive Technology and ABLE Tech staff will research the answer and post it here!  Questions can be sent to abletech@okstate.edu. Please place “Ask ABLE Tech” in the subject line.

January’s QUESTION: A student in my class relies on a Speech-Generating Device (SGD) to communicate. The device includes pictures and names of all students in his class for communication purposes. If a student has opted out of the school directory, is specific consent required to add his/her picture to a device? Since there is no expectation of privacy in a classroom - would consent be required if the picture was taken directly with the camera of the SGD?

ABLE Tech’s ANSWER: From the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Privacy Policy Office (SPPO) which maintains the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) email box to provide school officials, parents, students, and others with brief, informal responses to routine questions about FERPA: 

A student’s picture is not different than a student’s name; they are both “personally identifiable information” from the student’s education records which can be disclosed either with the student’s consent or under an exception to consent. Please note that FERPA generally does not protect the confidentiality of information. Rather, FERPA prohibits the improper disclosure of personally identifiable information derived from education records.

One exception to FERPA’s general consent requirement permits the nonconsensual disclosure of information derived from education records that have been appropriately designated as "directory information" by the educational agency or institution. § 99.31(a)(11). FERPA defines directory information as information contained in an education record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. § 99.3 "Directory information."  Directory information could include information such as the student's name; address; telephone listing; electronic mail address; photograph; date and place of birth; major field of study; grade level; enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time); dates of attendance; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; degrees; honors and awards received; and the most recent educational agency or institution attended.

FERPA provides that a school may disclose directory information if it has given public notice of the types of information which it has designated as "directory information," the eligible student's right to restrict the disclosure of such information, and the period of time within which an eligible student has to notify the school in writing that he or she does not want any or all of those types of information designated as "directory information."  

So, to sum up, the response from the SPPO, please let all your families know (public notice) that students’ pictures and names will be included in a student’s SGD and ask if they have concerns or questions about how the name and picture will be used.

Oklahoma AT Center Locations and Partners

ABLE Tech and partners operate device demonstration & loan programs to increase access to AT.

  • Alzheimer’s Association, Oklahoma Chapter
    Tulsa, 918-392-5009
  • The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital
    Bethany, 405.789.6711
  • Handicapped Vehicle Services Unlimited Mobility
    Tulsa, 918.622.8400
  • Indian Nations Council of Governments,
    Area Agency on Aging
    Tulsa, 918.579.9477
  • Kiamichi Economic Development District of Oklahoma
    Wilburton, 918.465.2367
  • Moore Autism Center
    Moore, 405.735.8478
  • Newby-Vance Mobility
    Guthrie, 405.518.0167
  • NewView Oklahoma
    Oklahoma City, 405.521.4880
    Tulsa, 855.811.9699
  • OSU – Dept of Communication
    Sciences & Disorders
    Stillwater, 405.744.6021
  • SoonerStart
    Oklahoma City, 405.271.8333 
  • United Access Mobility
    Oklahoma City, 888.939.1010

Oklahoma ABLE Tech

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University
1514 W. Hall of Fame
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 800.257.1705
Email: abletech@okstate.edu