FFY 2021 ABLE Tech Annual Report

FFY 2021 ABLE Tech Annual Report

FFY 2021 Federal Investment: $478,582 Savings & Benefits for Oklahomans: $4,281,103Oklahoma ABLE Tech
A Great RETURN ON INVESTMENT

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


About Oklahoma ABLE Tech

Oklahoma ABLE Tech is the statewide Assistive Technology Act Program located at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. ABLE Tech is funded through the Administration for Community Living of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is made possible through the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 as amended in 2004 (ATA 2004).

Our Mission: To improve access to and acquisition of assistive technology (AT) for individuals with disabilities of all ages.

ABLE Tech provides AT through comprehensive statewide programs and services: Device Demonstrations, Device Short-Term Loans, Device Reutilization, and State Financing Activities.

An AT device is any piece of equipment or device used to improve the capabilities of people with disabilities. An AT service directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an AT device.

 

FFY 2021 By the Numbers

Oklahoma shape

  • $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

FFY 2021 Key Initiatives 

State Level Activities

Hand using an ipad Device Demonstrations result in informed decision-making about which AT will and will not meet an individual’s disability needs and prevent wasted expenditures on ‘mismatched’ AT. For example, if an agency/individual explores two electronic magnification devices and decides that one costing $2,000 is perfect – they have potentially saved another $2,000 by knowing the other device they explored would not meet their needs (avoided purchasing to only find the device was not a good match).

12,697 individuals participated in 7,538 device demonstrations conducted by Oklahoma ABLE Tech in FFY 2021. Projecting a modest $50 savings for each demonstration conducted results in a statewide savings of $376,900.


Hand holding a tabletDevice Short-Term Loans result in informed and accurate AT purchasing decisions especially in unique contexts like a classroom or workplace. When a school or employer can borrow a device and make sure it will allow the individual with a disability to be successful, they save money by avoiding ‘incorrect’ purchases. Device short-term loans also allow individuals to remain functional while a device is being repaired, preventing costly loss of wages, lost school days, or the need for increased community living supports.

2,174 device short-term loans were made to individuals or agencies with 2,174 devices borrowed from Oklahoma ABLE Tech in FFY 2021.

2,118 loans were made for the purpose of helping individuals decide about AT. Using an average savings of $1,000 per loan with more than one device associated (at least one device was rejected as being a match and a second one was borrowed) results in statewide savings of over $2,118,000.

56 loans were made for the purpose of serving as a repair or while waiting for funding, to provide a short-term accommodation, and/or to conduct training, self-education, or other professional development activity. Projecting a minimum $10 per day rental fee for the average loan period of 42 days results in a total savings of $23,520.


Device Reutilization Recycled arrows circling a wheelchairprograms support the reuse and exchange of durable medical equipment (DME) and AT that is no longer needed or used by its original owner. Recipients usually obtain equipment at a significantly lower cost or no cost.

Reuse efforts include retrieval, refurbishment, repair, and reassignment of DME. 1,243 individuals received 1,427 reused devices for total savings to Oklahomans of $332,370.

Exchange efforts include the transfer of AT devices from person to person. 280 individuals received 641 exchanged devices for total savings to Oklahomans of $244,473.

1,523 Oklahomans acquired 2,068 reutilized devices through Oklahoma ABLE Tech in FFY 2021 for a total of $576,843.


hand catching a coinState Financing programs help individuals purchase/obtain needed AT through a variety of initiatives.

Financial loan programs provide Oklahomans with affordable, flexible borrowing options statewide. Through ABLE Tech’s alternative financing program in FFY 2021, 208 borrowers obtained financial loans funding 368 devices totaling $1,185,840.

State Leadership Activities

megaphone with text bubbles These programs support efforts that include instructional training, information, and assistance (I&A), public awareness, and technical assistance activities. Data is specifically collected on training and I&A.

2,919 individuals received in-person/virtual training on topics including AT devices and services, funding, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility, or a combination of any/all the above.

10,679 individuals received I&A via phone, email, or other virtual platforms in FFY 2021.

Coordination & Collaboration

Leveraged Funding

ABLE Tech maintains coordination and collaboration efforts that provide funding to help enhance the opportunities for individuals to access and acquire assistive technology.

  • Developmental Disabilities Council of Oklahoma (DDCO)
  • National Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Center
  • Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT)
  • Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (OKDRS)
  • Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA)
  • Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE)
  • Southwest Americans with Disabilities Act Center (SWADA)

Service Highlights

Developmental Disabilities Council of Oklahoma

Developmental Disabilities Council of Oklahoma (DDCO)

ABLE Tech is thrilled to collaborate with DDCO to provide assistive technology devices and services to support two outstanding programs: Partners in Policymaking (PIP) and Youth Leadership Forum (YLF). PIP is an 8-weekend disability advocacy training for parents of children with a disability, adults with a disability, and professionals in the field of developmental disabilities or related fields. The goal is to provide the skills needed to engage effectively with legislators, state and/or local policymakers, and others to advocate for change. YLF is a 5-day leadership training program for high school students with a disability. Participants work together to learn skills needed to advocate for themselves after high school is over. Participants stay on a college campus, discuss and practice leadership skills in collaborative games, meet legislators, and begin their leadership plan. ABLE Tech’s Device Demonstration and Short-Term Loan Program collaborate to provide a broader scope of devices and services statewide through this DDCO partnership.

National Center on Accessible Educational MaterialsNational Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Center

ABLE Tech led Oklahoma’s AEM Cohort team through year 1 of the 4-year project to improve access to literacy and educational opportunities for individuals across the lifespan. The core state-level AEM leadership team includes representatives from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), the AIM Center at the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Liberty Braille, Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma, and ABLE Tech. Interagency Collaborative representatives include the SoonerStart Early Intervention Program; Byng and Norman Public Schools, and Oklahoma School for the Blind; Tulsa Community College and Southwestern Oklahoma State University, the State Department of Career and Technology Education, the Oklahoma Parents Center, and the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

This year ABLE Tech collaborated with team members to accomplish the following:

  • Create an AEM Technical Assistance (TA) Document including guidance on the quality provision of AEM across the lifespan. The previous TA Document only included guidance for students with disabilities, K-12, and those who serve them.
  • Update Oklahoma’s Secondary Transition Handbook to include topics of AT and AEM in major sections of the document including Actions Related to Strengths and Limitations, Utilization of Resources, Supports, and Questions to ask Students, and Questions Students Should Ask Providers. The previous handbook had no mentions of AT and AEM.
  • Incorporate AEM quality indicators into a 3-part workshop series on the topic of AT offered to special educators and related service providers in coordination with OSDE.

Oklahoma Assistive Technology FoundationOklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT)

OkAT has partnered with ABLE Tech since its inception in 2001 to assist Oklahomans with disabilities in getting the assistive technology and durable medical equipment they need. OkAT's primary mission is to promote community development through assisting Oklahomans with disabilities of all ages and their family members, advocates, and authorized representatives or entities to increase understanding, access to, and acquisition of assistive technology through financial loans, financial education, and other identified resources. The collaboration results in the successful implementation of ABLE Tech’s Financial Loan Program. The great work of the program could not be achieved without this partnership!

OkAT was awarded a 2021 Administration for Community Living (ACL) grant for $521,593. Oklahoma is one of 4 state alternative financial loan programs to receive this opportunity.

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation ServicesOklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (OKDRS) 

It has been through strong collaboration between the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (OKDRS) and ABLE Tech that Oklahoma continues to be a leader in providing accessible technology to its citizens and workforce. Partnerships with OKDRS, the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES), the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development (OOWD), the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE), the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), the Southwest Americans with Disabilities Act (SWADA) Center support training and technical assistance to targeted audiences building capacity statewide. Through these collaborations, agencies and organizations have improved service delivery, and Oklahomans with disabling conditions statewide have greater equity and timely access to information, services, educational/employment/community opportunities, with the ultimate goal of “Access for All”. Additional agency support goes to the ABLE Tech Financial Loan Program helping individuals with disabilities purchase needed AT and DME at a low-interest rate.

ABLE Tech also collaborates with OKDRS for the provision of the staff support services for the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC) as set forth in Section 105 and Section 4.2 of the State Plan of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. ORC is to facilitate consumer education and empowerment, to assure services are of high quality and lead to the employment of individuals with disabilities in Oklahoma.

During FFY 2021, the ORC fulfilled all membership requirements of Section 105 of the Rehabilitation Act with appointments by the Governor. ORC had 18 members, 3 being ex-officio nonvoting members from the Designated State Agency (DSA). Of the voting members, 60% of the Council is represented by persons with disabilities. The council members are a cross-section of individuals with disabilities who have a stake in vocational rehabilitation services.

Oklahoma Health Care AuthorityOklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) 

ABLE Tech’s Device Reuse Program would not be made possible without the financial and programmatic support of OHCA (Oklahoma’s Medicaid Agency also known as SoonerCare). Through increased collaboration, greater communication is occurring with SoonerCare members which should lead to many more successful matches of appropriate DME!

Through an ongoing agreement with OHCA, ABLE Tech is a DME Provider of Speech-Generating Devices, specifically vending iPads, communication apps, cases, and accessories to eligible SoonerCare members under the age of 21. During FFY 2021 ABLE Tech facilitated the acquisition of 25 iPads as SGDs to Oklahomans through this collaboration.

Oklahoma Department of EducationOklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE)

OSDE has been a dedicated partner, collaborating with ABLE Tech on all major State Level and State Leadership activities to better serve students with disabilities in Oklahoma and the administrators, educators, and related service providers who support them. OSDE leveraged funds are used each year to increase the Device Demonstration and Short-Term Loan inventory and provide training, technical assistance, public awareness, and information and referral to school administrators, educators, and related service providers. In FFY2021, 223 representatives of education participated in device demonstrations, 359 borrowed AT for short-term loans, and 1,130 participated in ABLE Tech trainings. Topics include AT devices and services, funding, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility. Every year, OSDE is a proud supporter of ABLE Tech’s premier ICT Accessibility conference, TechAccess Oklahoma. It was offered virtually again this year, April 20 through April 22; speakers from as far away as Norway presented 9 sessions over Zoom. In all, over 600 people participated across all three days. One attendee participated online from New Zealand!

ABLE Tech also collaborates with OSDE to operate the Special Education Resolution Center (SERC). In FFY 2021, 11 Special Education Due Process hearings were resolved by SERC - keeping state dollars in the classroom educating students. Due Process proceedings can cost the state an average of $300,000; therefore, resolved hearing requests saved Oklahomans approximately $3,300,000.

Southwest Americans with Disabilities Act CenterSouthwest Americans with Disabilities Act Center (SWADA)

In FFY 2021 ABLE Tech finalized deliverables for a 5-year contract with SWADA and …started a new one! The collaboration with SWADA provides additional leveraged funds and support for ABLE Tech to provide information and communication (ICT) Accessibility services in Oklahoma. ABLE Tech works to ensure ICT Accessibility compliance for those entities for which Oklahoma’s Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility (EITA) law addresses (i.e. state agencies, higher education institutions, Career Tech systems, and Workforce centers) and the Office of Management and Enterprise Systems (OMES) as the keeper of the state ICT Accessibility standards.


 

Spotlight on Success

Baby Irlanda looking at colorful lightsDevice Demonstration – COMMUNITY

Meet Irlanda, a four-month-old from Comanche County. Comanche County SoonerStart providers and Irlanda's family have been working together to find crafty ways to spark Irlanda's interest in bright and colorful toys. Irlanda's mother produced an inventive lightbox using a cardboard box, black paint, and a string of lights. Irlanda can lay on her back or sit assisted in looking and reaching for the lights. The SoonerStart provider encouraged Irlanda to use this lightbox in different ways as she reaches each milestone. Irlanda smiles and vocalizes as she participates in the activity. This low-tech lightbox has provided a piece of AT that is fun and bright for Irlanda to use as she grows and learns! The SoonerStart Early Intervention Program partners with Oklahoma ABLE Tech to provide assistive technology (AT) to infants and toddlers, birth to three, with disabilities.


8 year old James viewing a device demonstrationDevice Short-Term Loan – EDUCATION

James is an 8-year-old from Cleveland County who lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has used Proloquo2go in therapy at Moore Autism Center, a collaborative partner of Oklahoma ABLE Tech. The family borrowed an iPad with Proloquo2go from ABLE Tech to use during his therapy sessions and at home. James has improved his efficiency with the device at home, therapy, and school. He now has his own device that allows him to make food and drink choices and also let teachers know if he needs a break.


Linda in her kitchen and wheelchairDevice Reuse – COMMUNITY

Free, gently-used durable medical equipment (DME) is available through a partnership with the state’s Assistive Technology Act Program, ABLE Tech, and the state’s Medicaid agency, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), also known as “SoonerCare.” Although the program is free for every Oklahoman to utilize, SoonerCare members receive DME from the Reuse Program as a priority above the general public.

Linda of McLoud lost the use of one of her legs and needed a wheelchair. She heard about the Reuse Program through the Kickapoo Tribe Community Health Representative Program.

Linda’s life has improved immensely since she received the wheelchair.

“The wheelchair allows me to be mobile and more independent. I am now able to cook for myself, clean my home, and do laundry on my own,” Linda said.

Older woman in chair holding the reacherDevice Exchange – COMMUNITY

When an individual may be at risk for falling, a helpful assistive technology (AT) solution could be a reacher! That is what one Oklahoman received for free through ABLE Tech’s Device Exchange Program. She was referred to the program with hopes that a device could be obtained that would assist her in safely reaching items she might drop. The Exchange Program provided her with a reacher and now her risk for falls has decreased as she is able to safely use her reacher instead of bending over to pick up items. This particular reacher was donated to the program; therefore, it was free for this individual to receive.


modified vehicle with side door open

State Financing – EMPLOYMENT

Phil of Oklahoma City had been working with the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (OKDRS) and his bank for almost two years to replace his existing modified vehicle that was over 18 years old. He applied for and received a low-interest loan through ABLE Tech’s Financial Loan Program and, along with OKDRS support, was able to get the vehicle he needed. Phil expressed, “ABLE Tech came through for me when others didn’t, and I couldn’t be more thankful! Here’s to hoping for another life-long dependable truck.” The Alternative Financial Loan Program is a great way to supplement additional funding in collaboration with other programs, such as OKDRS. What a pleasure to assist Phil in his employment goals by providing funding for the modified vehicle he needs to maintain his employment goal!


Screen shot of a document during a live trainingAccessibility Training – EMPLOYMENT

ABLE Tech provides training on many AT devices and services and including information and communication technology (ICT) accessibility. Oklahomans across the state can participate virtually and are both enjoying the pieces of training and learning valuable skills.

Here are some positive comments shared by training participants in FFY 2021:

It was excellent. It was relaxed, informative, and engaging! – AT3 workshop participant

I thought the training was exceptional! Having been in the classroom and now having gone through the training online, I believe the online training went just as well as it did in the classroom. I think Lyssa and Rob did an exceptional job. I look forward to learning more from them when more workshops become available! – Technology in a Crisis Webinar participant

Appreciate the patience from the instructors when asked to "show that again"... – Technology in a Crisis Webinar participant

I appreciated the friendly and supportive experience! – USAO participant

I think the training was exactly what we needed. Lyssa did a fantastic job listening during the planning process all the way through the last session. She gracefully explained the need and patiently taught us tools that we are able to put into immediate use. – USAO participant

Oklahoma ABLE Tech – Partners

ABLE Tech has partnerships statewide to enhance all core program activities. Demonstration and Short-Term Loan Partners allow Oklahomans the opportunity to touch, try, and borrow AT devices to improve independence in the community, school, and workplace. Device Reutilization partners are in central and rural locations and provide drop-off and pick-up sites for reuse and exchange items donated to the program. Financial Loan Program partners assist ABLE Tech in processing low-interest loans that provide needed AT to Oklahomans with disabilities.

Device Demonstration and Short-Term Loan Partners

  • Alzheimer’s Association – Oklahoma Chapter, Oklahoma City, 405.319.0780
  • The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital, Bethany, 405.789.6711
  • Developmental Disabilities Council of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, 405.521.4984
  • Handicapped Vehicle Sales & Services, Tulsa, 918.622.8400
  • Indian Nations Council of Governments - Area Agency on Aging, Tulsa, 918.579.9477
  • Kiamichi Economic Development District of Oklahoma - Area Agency on Aging, Wilburton, 918.465.2367
  • Moore Autism Center, Moore, 405.735.8478
  • Newby-Vance Mobility, Guthrie, 405.743.4212
  • NewView Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, 405.521.4880, Tulsa, 855.811.9699
  • OSU – Dept of Communication Sciences & Disorders, Stillwater, 405.744.6021
  • Pathways Therapy Center, Tulsa, 918.712.7868
  • The Scholl Center, Tulsa, 918.508.7601
  • SoonerStart Early Intervention Program, Oklahoma City, 405.271.8333
  • Stillwater Medical Center – Stillwater EyeCare, Stillwater, 405.743.4212
  • United Access Mobility Auto Sales, Oklahoma City, 888.939.1010

Financial Loan Program Partners

  • BancFirst of Stillwater, Stillwater, 405.742.6200
  • Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT) 

Device Reutilization Program Partners

  • The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital, Bethany, 405.789.6711
  • JD McCarty Center for Children with Disabilities, Norman, 405.307.2800
  • Kiamichi Economic Development District of Oklahoma - Area Agency on Aging, Wilburton, 918.465.2367

 

Department of Wellness Sponsored Programs 

Staff Contributing in FFY 2021

  • Todd Misener, Chief Wellness Officer /Director, OSU Department of Wellness
  • Linda Jaco, Associate Director, Sponsored Programs, OSU Department of Wellness
  • Allyson Robinson, CCC-SLP, Assistant Director
  • Jo Anne Blades, SERC Program Manager
  • Richard Buntin, Fiscal Operations Specialist
  • Rob Carr, ICT Accessibility Program Manager
  • Carolina Colclasure, ORC Program Manager
  • Gretchen Cole-Lade, State Leadership Program Manager
  • Shannon Esmeyer, SERC Administrative Assistant
  • Shelley Gladden, State Level Program Manager
  • Tammie Hale, Administrative Associate
  • Kelli Jones, Senior Administrative Support Specialist
  • Rob Keiter, SERC Grant Coordinator
  • Kimberly O’Meilia, Marketing & Communications, Accessible Formats Specialist
  • Lyssa Prince, ICT Accessibility Coordinator/Program Manager
  • Natalie Rohwer, AFP Loan Coordinator
  • Shelby Sanders, Assistive Technology Specialist
  • Brian Sargent, Reutilization Site Coordinator
  • Amy Woods, Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Michele Young, Fiscal Grant Manager

 

Oklahoma ABLE Tech

Oklahoma State University – Department of Wellness

Seretean Wellness Center
1514 W. Hall of Fame
Stillwater, OK 74078

Phone: 405.744.9748
Fax: 405.744.2487
Toll-free: 800.257.1705 (v/tty)
Web: www.okabletech.org
Email: abletech@okstate.edu