Brain Injury Awareness Month
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is leading the nation in observing Brain Injury Awareness Month. The #ChangeYourMind public awareness campaign provides a platform for educating the general public, de-stigmatizing brain injury, and empowering survivors and their caregivers. Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)
Individuals with brain injury may continue to experience negative effects long after the initial wounding. Visit AT Discovery to find tools that may help them to perform tasks they may find difficult, including activities of daily living, computer access, speech communication, and more.
Assistive Technology Feature
Chromebooks and other small laptop computers can sometimes present challenges due to the compact nature of the keyboards. Students with a variety of disabilities may be more effective in using a computer when they are able to interact using a touchscreen. In these cases, the computer itself can be considered assistive technology (AT). Touchscreen Laptops are among the thousands of AT devices available to try with your students. Search the ABLE Tech inventory and borrow devices! ABLE Tech Device Loan Program
The National AEM Center has developed a new tool to assist school districts in ensuring all educational materials they provide can be used by students of all abilities. The AEM Pilot is a process facilitator designed for use by district teams (known as “crews”) that guides collaborative decision making on actions that improve accessibility of materials and technologies used by students. With the AEM Pilot, your district's crew will navigate the Quality Indicators for the Provision of AEM in K-12 and develop inclusive learning systems that empower all learners to take off and soar! AEM Pilot
Purchasing Accessible Materials
Spring is an opportune time to look ahead to determine which textbooks and other curricular materials your students with print disabilities will need in the next school year. It’s a good idea to check Bookshare to see if the needed titles are available, and if not, fill out a book request on the Bookshare website. ABLE Tech can also assist with searching the NIMAC and other repositories and requesting accessible files from publishers when necessary. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Any materials your district purchases that are on the state approved textbook adoption list should be available in an accessible digital format. This is because the State Department of Education requires publishers to submit the book files to the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC), making them available to Accessible Media Producers (AMPs) such as Bookshare. However, you should be aware that if your school purchases textbooks which are not on the state approved list, then it is the Local Education Agency’s responsibility to include the NIMAC requirement in purchase contracts. See recommended language and additional information on the ABLE Tech Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) webpage.
Learn how to identify and assess students for dyslexia by participating in a series of workshops provided around the state by the Oklahoma State Department of Education! ABLE Tech will be on site at selected events to share tips for acquiring accessible digital text through Bookshare and using AT to improve reading comprehension.
AT Funding Workshop
If your district struggles to find money to buy tools needed for students with disabilities, make plans to bring your team to the ABLE Tech workshop, “Funding Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities” on June 5 at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethany. This free, half-day training is designed for Oklahoma public school administrators, special educators, and related service providers. Participants will learn how to plan and budget for AT, match students to funding options and practice writing grant applications. There are no pre-requisites for this workshop. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be offered for OTs, PTs, and SLPs. Funding Workshop Details
ESSP Spring 2020 Symposium
The Oklahoma Association of Career & Technology Education will hold its annual Educational Services-Special Populations (ESSP) Recruiting Special Populations Symposium March 10th at the Tulsa Technology Center-Owasso Campus.
Dr. Crystal Hernandez will deliver the Keynote address on Autism Behavioral Interventions and Education to Work Transition. ABLE Tech’s Kimberly Berry will be participating in a Dyslexia Panel during the afternoon and will share tips for acquiring accessible educational materials (AEM) and tools for reading. Additional panels will focus on Pre-Employment Transitions, Project Search, and the Oklahoma Restaurant Association.
Vocational Rehabilitation Marks 100th Anniversary
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is celebrating 100 Years of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Smith-Fess Act of 1920, also known as the Industrial Rehabilitation Act and referred to as "The National Civilian Vocational Rehabilitation Act," into law June 2, 1920. The Rehabilitation Services Administration will be celebrating with events and promotions throughout 2020. Visit VR100 webpage
Challenge Air Tulsa
Challenge Air is taking registrations for its 3rd Annual Tulsa Area Fly Day scheduled for Saturday, April 18 at the RL Jones Jr. Airport and Tulsa Tech Center, Riverside Campus. This free event provides kids with disabilities (ages 7-21) and their families the opportunity to experience flight in a welcoming and supportive environment. ABLE Tech staff will be on site to visit with families about tools for a variety of needs. Registration is limited to the first 100 kids, and volunteers are welcome. Challenge Air Event details and registration
New Civil Rights Compliance Center
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently announced the opening of a new Civil Rights Compliance Center within the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The Outreach, Prevention, Education and Non-discrimination (OPEN) Center, will focus on proactive compliance with federal civil rights laws and will provide assistance and support to schools, educators, families, and students to ensure better awareness of the requirements and protections of federal non-discrimination laws. OPEN Center inquiries can be sent to OPEN@ed.gov. Press Release