The Fall 2022 AT Workshop Series Starts September 15!
ABLE Tech is proud to offer the FREE Fall 2022 Assistive Technology (AT) Workshop Series, starting September 15. You’ll learn the steps for providing AT to students in schools. This workshop is designed for educators, related service providers, and administrators needing a wide range of AT knowledge, providing standards-based training, hands-on practice, and dynamic coaching for the novice up to the expert.
If you have questions about these workshops or are interested in learning more, please contact Dr. Josh Hawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National AEM Cohort Visit
In early August, members of the National Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Center visited Oklahoma as part of an ongoing, four-year intensive technical assistance (ITA) plan. Joining Oklahoma ABLE Tech and the National AEM Center members were our state partners: the Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) Center with the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (OLBPH); Decoding Dyslexia; Liberty Braille; and the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). Additionally, representatives from two local education agencies (LEAs) participated: Oklahoma School for the Blind and Norman Public Schools.
On the first day of the visit, members met at the OLBPH in Oklahoma City, OK to review the ITA plan and discuss outcomes and revisions to be made in preparation for year 3, which begins in October 2022. The LEA partners provided useful feedback and input on how to better implement initiatives set forth in the plan. The stated objectives of the plan are to “.... gather baseline information regarding performance on quality indicators for AEM and accessible/assistive technologies, use baseline data to create resources/materials to assist in improving performance on quality indicators, and demonstrate improved performance on quality indicators for AEM and accessible technologies.” Ultimately, the goal is to increase the accessibility of educational materials for all Oklahomans.
On the second day, members met at Oklahoma ABLE Tech in Stillwater, OK. Discussions continued, and additional revisions and additions were made to the plan. At the conclusion of the two-day meeting, members left with a greater appreciation of the goals of the initiative as well as specific tasks to be accomplished in the coming year.
Oklahoma ABLE Tech is one of seven national leaders in this effort. This visit was the first in the nation conducted by the National AEM Center for this cohort. We are grateful to our partners for their contributions and to the National AEM Center for its guidance and support throughout this collaboration!
Pictured from left: Michelle with the National Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Center; Allyson, ABLE Tech Assistant Director; Kimberly with Liberty Braille; Tiffany with Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma; and Alexa with the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
Special Education Resolution Center Tip of the Month: Introducing the IEP Team Relational Reset
Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires collaboration between families, educators, other professionals, and community resources. In the ideal environment, individualized education program (IEP) team members listen to each member’s point of view and work together to develop a high-quality IEP that provides Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). We’ve all been in IEP meetings where it didn’t take long to realize that the biggest Issue in the meeting wasn’t the “issues” that were being discussed, but rather the interpersonal dynamics and interactions between the team members. When using technology, sometimes we need to do a “reset” to get things to work again. Is it possible to reset a team when it’s stuck? Maybe it's time to have a conversation around how we might go about resetting team relationships when and where collaboration is being sabotaged by the interactions between team members. Is this possible? If so, what might it look like? Stay tuned for more on this important conversation. For more information about SERC, visit their website.
Transition services are activities that prepare students with disabilities to move from school to post-school life. The Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC) Transition Committee partners with the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), and other agencies to provide helpful transition resources to students, families, and professionals. It is a great resource for reviewing all things Transition and the agency list that provides the services. Check it out here on the ORC Resources Page!
September AT Features: Hearing AT
September is National Deaf Awareness month! There is an AT solution for everyone – check out September's Hearing AT Highlights! All items are available to borrow from ABLE Tech’s Device Short-Term Loan Program.
What is Assistive Technology?
AT devices and equipment can be used in a variety of ways to assist people of all ages and abilities in more independently completing everyday tasks and activities. Learn more about AT for people of all ages on the ABLE Tech AT Discovery webpages.
National Deaf Awareness Month: Navigating Noisy Environments
September is National Deaf Awareness Month! Oklahoma ABLE Tech proudly supports the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
Noise in any environment affects hearing. Michelle Andros stated in an online article about improving functional hearing in noisy environments, “The ability to listen in the presence of noise creates an access barrier, especially for students with hearing loss.”
To overcome the challenges of noisy environments, Andros recommends several strategies: preferential seating, the use of hearing assistive technology (AT), and the reduction of background noise. Additionally, she recommends training individuals under normal environmental conditions.
“Teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing must train the students to identify communication barriers, attempt to gain access through listening, speechreading and advocating for their needs, so that access is no longer an issue. The ability to listen in noise provides one more tool in their tool belt for communication access."
To learn more about this, read Andros' article, It’s a Noisy World! We CAN Improve Listening in Noise Ability.
To learn more about the assistive technology and services provided by Oklahoma ABLE Tech specific to those who are hard of hearing or deaf, visit our Hearing Discovery webpage.
ABLE Tech Accessibility Tip: Captioning and Transcripts
September is National Deaf Awareness month! Imagine coming across a video on your favorite website or social media page in which you can tell someone is talking and unable to turn on the sound. This is the experience people who are deaf or hard of hearing have every day when captions aren’t included in videos and transcripts aren’t included for audio clips or podcasts. To help you avoid leaving out this important group of people when creating content, we suggest creating a script for any video or audio content you produce. Many tools and services are available to help you turn the script into captions or a transcript more easily and affordably. One tool is YouTube, which can sync up your script automatically to your video.
Also, don’t forget to include captioning for meetings! It’s always best to hire a live captioner if possible, but if it’s not, automated captions are better than nothing. Both Microsoft Teams and Zoom offer automated captioning. While automated captions are not as accurate as live human captions, they can help participants who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing be part of the meeting.
Partner Success Story: AbleGamers
Dylan loved watching his sister and brother-in-law play Wii, PlayStation, and Xbox games...
...but what he really wanted was to play with them. So, his family reached out to AbleGamers to find out what could be done to help get him in the game!
Dylan was limited to using only a mouth stick on a tablet. AbleGamers Sr. Peer Counselor, Jessie, assessed Dylan's accessibility barriers and worked with him to develop a personalized solution that would allow him to play. After much consultation, they decided the Quadstick would be the ideal solution.
With practice, Dylan's skills improved; he is now using his new equipment and accessing many more games than before. Now, Dylan is hitting home runs in his MLB game and playing with family and friends, proving everyone can game with a bit of practice and persistence.
His family said, “We really appreciate all you have done to make this possible for Dylan. He was just saying this morning how happy he was when he finally made a home run in his MLB game. This is a terrific program, and we are truly grateful for this grant. Blessings to you all."
ABLE Tech partners with AbleGamers to provide demonstrations and short-term loans for gaming AT to Oklahomans with disabilities who want to get in the game! Learn more about AbleGamers on their partner webpage.
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
- The Bethany Children's Health Center
- Developmental Disabilities Council of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, 405-212-7558
- Handicapped Vehicle Sales and Services
- Indian Nations Council of Governments,
Area Agency on Aging
- Kiamichi Economic Development District of Oklahoma
- Moore Autism Center
- Newby-Vance Mobility
- NewView Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, 405.521.4880
- OSU – Dept of Communication
Sciences & Disorders
- Pathways Therapy Center
Oklahoma City, 405.271.8333
- Speech Pathway, LLC
Oklahoma City, 405.652.9683
- United Access Mobility
Oklahoma City, 888.939.1010