Spring 2022 Newsletter
FFY21 National Rankings
State-Level AT Act Programs
- Device Demonstration: #1 out of 56 programs participating with a total of 7,538
- Device Short-Term Loan: #2 out of 55 programs with a total of 2,174
- Financial Loans: #1 out of 29 programs participating with a total of 368
- Device Exchange: #1 out of 28 programs participating with a total of 641
- Device Reuse: #17 out of 55 programs participating with a total of 1,427
State Leadership AT Act Services
- Training: #9 out of 56 programs participating with a total of 2,919
- Information and Assistance: #5 out of 56 programs participating with a total of 9,945
Children in Oklahoma who experience complex communication impairments may need Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) solutions to support their communication skills. To help meet this need, Oklahoma ABLE Tech collaborates with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) as a durable medical equipment (DME) provider vending iPads, apps, and durable cases as speech-generating devices (SGD) to eligible members through SoonerCare. Requirements needed to request any speech-generating device from SoonerCare:
- A minimum of three different devices/applications must be trialed and video documentation demonstrating functional use of the device that is recommended should be included. Device trials must include three different systems/platforms; three models of the same device do not satisfy the requirement for a three-device trial. The actual device recommended need not be the exact model trialed but must be similar enough to justify the recommendations for the device requested.
- A report from an AAC evaluation conducted by a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) within the last 6 months
- A signed and dated order, referral, or prescription stating device name, communication app, and specific accessories (case, keyguard, etc.) written by an OHCA-contracted qualified medical professional and a letter of medical necessity (template can be found at link below) written and obtained after device trials and recommended device is decided
- A copy of the individual’s most recent doctor’s visit notes where an expressive communication disorder (or nonverbal) is noted
- The release of liability form (document can be found at link below) signed by parent or guardian and copy of private insurance card, if applicable
Please see detailed requirements and information on how to submit documents to Oklahoma ABLE Tech for vending iPads, apps, and durable cases as speech-generating devices (SGD) to eligible members through SoonerCare.
AT Highlight: Lingraphica TouchTalk Plus
The Lingraphica TouchTalk Plus is a 12.4″ lightweight tablet that functions as a speech-generating device. All Lingraphica communication devices are designed for adults with Aphasia.
Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person’s ability to process language but does not affect intelligence. Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others. Aphasia is always due to injury to the brain-most commonly from a stroke, particularly in older individuals. Brain injuries resulting in aphasia may also arise from head trauma, from brain tumors, or from infections.
The Lingraphica TouchTalk Plus offers a variety of communication options for the user, such as buttons with images and text that speak when activated, a white board where letters or words can be written or pictures can be drawn, a keyboard where words can be typed and spoken when activated, and a photo album where pictures of events, activities, individuals, and more can be saved. Speech and language exercises and activities are also available on the device.
With all the communication options, the Lingraphica TouchTalk Plus is a great communication device for individuals with Aphasia.
View communication devices in ABLE Tech’s Online Inventory.
ABLE Tech Welcomes New Demonstration Partner!
Speech Pathway, located in Oklahoma City, serves children and their families with a wide variety of speech and language disorders. Speech Pathway provides innovative, simple, and creative solutions to meet each child and their family’s needs. Therapists specialize in a wide variety of speech and language disorders from birth to adolescence. Speech Pathway serves the Oklahoma City area as an ABLE Tech partner for device demonstrations and AAC evaluations.
View all ABLE Tech Core Program Partners.
Durable Medical Equipment Donation Drive: May 12
ABLE Tech is excited to be hosting an Equipment Donation Drive on May 12, 2022! This event is in conjunction with 2022 Better with Age Health and Safety Fun Day at Northpark Mall, located at 12100 N. May Ave in Oklahoma City. The event is from 9 am – 1 pm and will include door prizes, entertainment, food, live music, health screenings and giveaways from several vendors. Bring your durable medical equipment donations or sign up to schedule a pickup of your equipment.
ABLE Tech retrieves gently used donated equipment; sanitizes and refurbishes devices returning them to peak performance; works with vendors to repair equipment if needed to ensure quality and reassigns devices to the best matched Oklahoman. Donations are accepted year-round by contacting the Reutilization office at 405-523-4810 or email email@example.com.
Visit ABLE Tech’s website to learn how to Donate Medical Equipment.
Financial Loan Success Story
Dennis of Cordell had been searching for assistive technology to help him independently complete daily living activities and travel due to his multiple sclerosis. While visiting one of ABLE Tech’s partners, United Access, and receiving a demonstration of adaptive equipment, he learned about ABLE Tech services. Dennis later utilized the financial loan program to purchase a lift seat for a pickup and a new walk-in shower in his home. The lift seat allows Dennis to get in the family vehicle to go to doctor appointments and physical therapy. The home accessibility modification allows Dennis safe access to a shower and one more opportunity to remain independent.
Do you need a loan to make a home modification for accessibility? The ABLE Tech Financial Loan Program’s low 5% interest rate can help to make this purchase affordable. To apply for a loan, go to the ABLE Tech Financial Loan page or visit the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation’s (OkAT’s) website.
Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day!
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is Thursday, May 19 this year. The purpose of GAAD, according to their website, is “to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities/impairments.” In honor of this day, we wanted to bring awareness to a few of the most common barriers seen across the web. According to the WebAIM Million project, low color contrast, missing or undescriptive alternative text, and empty links are the top barriers found in their scan of the top one million websites.
When performing accessibility reviews, we rarely, if ever, see a site that doesn’t have an issue with low color contrast. Individuals who are blind, have low vision, or other visual impairments can struggle to read content that doesn’t have high enough contrast. Kickstart your knowledge of how to check content for color contrast issues with this article from Essential Accessibility: Clearing Up a Gray Area: How a Color Contrast Checker Can Improve Web Accessibility
Every image within your content needs a text alternative. Often, this can be added as “alternative text” or “alt text.” These behind-the-scenes pieces of text describe the context of your images to those who can’t see them. When adding alternative text, ask yourself, “How would I describe this image to someone over the phone?” Read more about alt text from Knowbility: Alternative Text article
Another common barrier is empty links, where a piece of content is linked to something, but it doesn’t have link text or, if it’s an image or icon, it doesn’t have an accessible name. Imagine driving along and seeing a sign that says, “Next Left.” You know that the next left will take you to a new location, but you don’t know where. This is like the experience an empty link will give someone using a screen reader or braille display: the individual will know they can go somewhere, but not where they will be taken. Not only is this confusing, but it will also likely decrease the number of “clicks” this content gets. Learn more about empty links from Equalize Digital: Empty Link article
Maizy, a sixteen-month-old little girl, and her twin sister were born at 35 weeks gestation and required a NICU stay after birth. At about 5 months old, Maizy’s family started noticing difficulty with her motor skills. Maizy’s twin sister and four-year-old brother are walking now, and Maizy’s only form of mobility is scooting on her back. Maizy desires to participate in all activities that her twin and big brother do. Tulsa County SoonerStart providers put their knowledge together and began exploring mobility devices for Maizy. Through the ABLE Tech and SoonerStart Permobil Explorer Mini Project, Maizy received a demonstration of, and trialed, the Explorer Mini. The powered mobility solution is designed to support development, promote safe, stable, upright postures, and provide opportunities to improve strength, endurance, and postural control. Maizy loved hanging out in the kitchen in the Explorer Mini because it allowed her to be upright with her family during meal prep time allowing her to watch and learn just like her siblings. Maizy also figured out how to use the joystick to move the Explorer Mini to move around her home but still needs supervision for safety. “We are still investigating what will be the best mobility device for Maizy long term, but this opportunity was priceless,” said Maisy’s SoonerStart Provider. What a great device to allow her some independent mobility and exploration!
AT to Support Social-Emotional Skills
ABLE Tech is excited to add eight new assistive technology (AT) items for all SoonerStart AT Kits. These items were selected based on the new State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) with a specific focus on assisting infants and toddlers in demonstrating positive social-emotional skills. The items are available to borrow from ABLE Tech and include:
- Active Calming Center
- Circles Peekaboo Puzzle
- Emotions Flipbook
- Emotion Spot Markers
- Excelleration Photo Album
- Feeling Buddies for Families Toolkit
- “How Do You Feel?” Board Book
- “Making Faces” Board Book
ABLE Tech Welcomes New Staff
Terri joined the team in December 2021, as the friendly voice on the phone and the smile at the front desk. She works within the Department of Wellness Sponsored Programs and Oklahoma ABLE Tech, as the Senior Administrative Support Specialist. She graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She enjoys helping others, learning new skills (household or work), listening to audiobooks, fiction the most, and cooking.
Austin joined the ABLE Tech Device Reutilization Program as the Senior Administrative Support Specialist in February 2022. He assists individuals with disabilities and their representatives with applying for needed equipment, analyzing applicants’ needs and current inventory to identify appropriate OHCA guidelines that are being met, including monitoring appropriate documentation that has been received.
Austin graduated from Norman North High School but spent two years attending Steilacoom High School in Seattle Washington. He is interested in drawing and Art History.
Leslie joined the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Department of Wellness Sponsored Programs in January of 2022 as an Administrative Operations Specialist. Leslie joined us from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) where she served in several different administrative capacities for 8 years. Prior to her career at OUHSC, she worked at OSU for 17 years. Leslie is married, has one daughter, and resides in Perkins.
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
- Bethany Children’s Health Center
- Developmental Disabilities Council of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, 405-212-7558
- Handicapped Vehicle Services Unlimited Mobility
- 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
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
- Austin Bricker, Reutilization Senior Administrative Support Specialist
- Richard Buntin, Fiscal Operations Specialist
- Gretchen Cole-Lade, State Leadership Program Manager
- Leslie Dady, Administrative Operations Specialist
- 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 Program 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.