2022 Winter Newsletter – January –

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FFY 2021 Federal Investment: $478,582 Savings & Benefits for Oklahomans: $4,281,103- Oklahoma ABLE Tech - 

FFY 2021 Federal Investment: $478,582
Savings & Benefits for Oklahomans: $4,281,103

FFY 2021: By the Numbers 

  • $478,582 federal investment in Oklahoma ABLE Tech
  • Close to 30,200 direct service recipients
  • Over $4.28 million in savings and benefits
  • That’s $8.95 for every federal dollar invested
  • Over $1.35 million in leveraged funding
  • That’s $2.82 leveraged for every federal dollar invested

We are proud to share the 2021 results of ABLE Tech's services to individuals with disabilities. Read more about ABLE Tech's impact on the 2021 Annual Report webpage.

Assistive Technology (AT) Act Programs Gain Funding to Support People with Disabilities and Older Adults

white house logoOn November 10, 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the Administration for Community Living (ACL) would receive $150 million to expand the public health workforce within the aging and disability networks. The ACL has recently distributed $80,000 of those funds to Oklahoma ABLE Tech! 

Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work, and play. The aging and disability networks, including Assistive Technology (AT) Act Programs, play a significant role in expanding the capacity and capability of the public health workforce to meet the unique needs of older adults and people with disabilities. 

The funding, which will be available until September 30, 2024, is intended to help cover the costs of staff to conduct these and other crucial public health activities and alleviate some of the strain our networks have experienced during the pandemic. ABLE Tech looks forward to expanding its services with additional staff to continue our mission to meet the unique AT needs of older adults and people with disabilities in Oklahoma.

Financial Loan Program Updates

Austin and family with bikesNot all Assistive Technology Looks the Same!

Austin was on a search to find funding for assistive technology (AT) for her son to assist in developmental needs. Through ABLE Tech’s agency collaborations, she was referred to ABLE Tech to seek information and assistance for AT funding and acquisition solutions. It was through ABLE Tech’s funding page that she found information on the Alternative Financial Loan Program, along with another private grant source to purchase several pieces of AT for her son.

nugget couch in actionAustin used ABLE Tech’s low-interest alternative financial loan program to purchase several pieces of therapeutic equipment for her son, including a special seating area, called the Nugget couch.

Austin expressed, “The program made it so easy to process my request. The Nugget couches I purchased have provided so many benefits for my son including executive functioning, motor skill development, sensory stimulation, but best of all – fun!  He and his sisters build giant forts and tunnels with the mats and have endless hours of play.” Through the resources found in the funding guide, Austin was able to purchase modified gymnastics equipment as well.

All loans are a 5% interest rate. To learn more about these products or to apply for a loan go to the ABLE Tech Financial Loan page or visit OkAT's website.

SoonerStart & ABLE Tech Collaboration - Success Stories

Cherokee County - SoonerStart Success Story Tali using her new can

Tali is a happy two-year-old little girl with Sporadic Aniridia. She is determined to be socially adventurous. Sporadic Aniridia makes environmental exploring exceedingly difficult due to the absence of the iris. The absence of the iris results in legal blindness and extreme light sensitivity. Tali must rely on a companion to walk beside her for verbal guidance or hold someone’s hand for physical guidance to explore her surrounding environment.

Recently, Tali and her family have worked closely on white cane orientation and mobility with ABLE Tech AT Demonstration partner, SoonerStart. Kimberly Ford, Regional Vision Specialist, has taught Tali how to navigate and locate steps, curbs, and other obstacles with a mobility cane. Now, Tali can bravely walk down sidewalks, readily explore splash pads, and maneuver playgrounds without needing a parent by her side. Tali’s mobility cane has given her the confidence and ability to navigate the world around safely and independently.

Craig County - SoonerStart Success Story Castiel exploring his new play station

Castiel is a 14-month-old toddler from Ottawa County who has been working with Craig County SoonerStart Providers. At nine months old, Castiel's family noticed he had trouble reaching and grasping items, and his hands were tightly fisted. At ten months old, Castiel and his family discovered he was blind while at a doctor's visit; the family quickly began early intervention services.

SoonerStart providers dove into treatment ideas and considered using the ABLE Tech assistive technology (AT) assessment kit. During his first SoonerStart visit, a low-tech sensory stimulation box was introduced to explore the world around him. At first, toys were hung extremely low from the sensory box by plastic rings and elastic pieces so Castiel could touch them with the slightest movement. Through this adapted play area, he is learning to grasp toys and explore the unique shapes and textures. Castiel shows joy when practicing his reaching and grasping skills. His family has proudly watched him progress every day.

2nd Quarter Team Winners:

Cherokee, Craig, and Oklahoma County SoonerStart teams have all earned the 2nd Quarter Recognition Award. Each team will receive $500 in new assistive technology (AT) to add to their demonstration kits!

2022 Assistive Technology (AT) Virtual Workshop Series has Begun

ABLE Tech continues to provide the bi-annual training for AT Consideration, AT Assessment and AT in the IEP, and AT Implementation for Special Education Professionals serving students with disabilities for the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) in record numbers.

Spring 2022 workshops are being offered virtually and include free CEUs for Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists.

Comments from participants: "I appreciated the case study opportunities for us to review during the Consideration process, real situations guide learning!"

"Great information! I am so unfamiliar with AT as a whole. This was a great stepping stone and I look forward to the next sessions."

It’s not too late to join the final two AT Virtual Workshops in the three-part series. Email Gretchen at Gretchen.cole_lade@okstate.edu for information on how to prepare for and join Workshops 2 and 3.

  • Session 2: AT Assessment and AT in the IEP - February 10, 2022
  • Session 3: AT Implementation - March 10, 2022

In addition to the three-part series above, ABLE Tech offers a workshop designed to teach Special Education Professionals how to receive funding for AT. 

  • The Funding Assistive Technology workshop is scheduled for April 14, 2022.

All registration links are available on the ABLE Tech AT Support Team Workshop webpage.


Device Demonstration and Loan Program

AT Device Feature: Acrobat HD Ultra 20” Video Magnifier

Acrobat HD Ultra’s new full HD 3-in-1 camera provides the best image quality available today. Enjoy brighter sharper colors and bold contrast with this feature-rich electronic magnifier.  It’s the most flexible solution for reading, writing, or viewing magnified images at any distance. Use it up close to read chapters from textbooks, review PowerPoint presentations provided by teachers, and write essays. The Acrobat can also be used as a mirror for applying make-up or other personal grooming.

Acrobat Ultra device used by a woman at a deskBy simply rotating the camera you can magnify images in the distance. Use it to view presentations, paperwork, even work on crafts and hobbies. Acrobat HD Ultra is ideal for work, school, or home. Acrobat HD Ultra LCD is a complete system featuring a 3-in-1 Full HD camera with a 20” high-resolution HD LCD producing maximum picture detail for a clear, vivid color display. The adjustable arm, tilting screen, and rotating capability allow the camera to be positioned at any angle for optimal viewing.

You can borrow this device and others on ABLE Tech’s Device Loan Program Inventory website.


Device Reuse Program News

CPAP Shortage Due to Recall:

In 2021, a major CPAP supplier, Phillips Respironics, announced a voluntary recall of CPAP machines for the United States for specifically affected ventilation and sleep apnea devices. The notification informed patients, users, and customers of potential impacts on patient health and clinical use related to this issue.

The largest and most well-known CPAP manufacturers on the market have done a truly commendable job of trying to fill this huge gap left by the Philips recall. Unfortunately, they have reached their capacity and have announced a nationwide shortage of CPAP machines.

Phillips recalls cpap machineHow can you help? It is even more important for the Reutilization Program to aid in filling this gap by requesting individuals who have CPAP machines not currently being used to consider donating them to help other Oklahomans in need.

Through the Reutilization Program, ABLE Tech can receive any gently-used CPAP machine, and repair/refurbish it for another individual’s use. Please share this message in your communities. All gently-used durable medical equipment donations are received through the Oklahoma City office, located at 3325 North Lincoln Blvd., Suite B, Oklahoma City, OK 73105 with additional volunteer donation sites across the state. How to donate to ABLE Tech weblink.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility Program

Oklahoma’s Premier Web & Technology Accessibility Conference

Save the date for TechAccess Oklahoma 2022, which will be held virtually on Zoom on the mornings of April 19, 20, and 21.

We'll have an exciting keynote on Inclusive Design from Nicolas Steenhout, speaker, trainer, consultant, and host of the fantastic A11y Rules podcast. We're also planning sessions on inclusive design through documents, social media, and meetings.

Welcome New ABLE Tech Staff

David Nelms headshotDavid Nelms

David Nelms comes to ABLE Tech as the new Device Reutilization Program Coordinator after a 35-year career with the Federal Aviation Administration. He is excited to be a part of a team that works so hard and is dedicated to serving the people of Oklahoma. While David is taking on a new career path post-retirement, in his off hours he enjoys long bicycle rides, hiking, photography, flower and vegetable gardening, woodworking, and in general, being outdoors.


Oklahoma AT Center Locations and Partners

Oklahoma ABLE Tech and its partners operate device demonstration and 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
  • Developmental Disabilities Council of Oklahoma
    Oklahoma City, 405-212-7558
  • 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

OSU Department of Wellness - Oklahoma ABLE Tech Staff

  • Todd Misener, Chief Wellness Officer/Director,  OSU Department of Wellness
  • Allyson Robinson, SLP, Assistant Director
  • Jo Anne Blades, SERC Program Manager
  • Richard Buntin, Fiscal Operations Specialist
  • Gretchen Cole-Lade, State Leadership Program Manager 
  • Shannon Esmeyer, SERC Administrative Assistant
  • Shelley Gladden, Program Manager
  • Terri Harris, Senior Administrative Support Specialist
  • Kim Hensley O’Meilia, Marketing & Communications
  • Averie Hinchey, Speech-Language Pathologist Specialist
  • David Nelms, Device Reutilization Program Coordinator
  • Rob Keiter, Coordinator Special Education Resolution Center (SERC)
  • Lyssa Prince, ICT Accessibility Manager
  • Natalie Rohwer,  Financial Loan Coordinator
  • Shelby Sanders, Assistive Technology Specialist
  • Brian Sargent, Reutilization Site Manager
  • Adam Thiel, ICT Accessibility Coordinator
  • Amy Woods, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Kimberly Young, Reutilization Project Specialist
  • Michele Young, Grant Manager

Please call 800.257.1705 for more information. The Oklahoma State University Department of Wellness is the lead agency for Oklahoma ABLE Tech. ABLE Tech is funded through the Administration for Community Living of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and maintains coordination and collaboration efforts with partners throughout the state of Oklahoma.

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