ABLE Tech Connect – Vol. 2, Issue 2

Newsletter banner | Oklahoma ABLE Tech | Making Life Accessible for Oklahomans of All Ages and Abilities

Assistive Technology (AT) Highlights

The Large Print Playing Cards and Twin Tier Premiere Playing Card Holder, an iPad with the Apraxia Therapy Lite app open, the Clarity TV Listener, and the Match up the Sayings game are placed on a wooden table.

May is Older Americans Month! Check out these AT devices chosen by our AT specialists from the Hearing, Mobility, Seating and Positioning, Speech Communication and Recreation categories that may be useful to individuals as they age!

  • Clarity TV Listener - Connect your television or smartphone to this device for high quality personal amplification of TV shows, phone calls, and music. This device has been especially useful in scenarios where people live closely together, like apartments or assisted living communities!
  • Support Plus Walker Tray - This easy-to-use meal tray slides over the handles of your walker to create a stable and convenient table that's perfect for situations like mealtime. The tray has a hard plastic base, raised edges to prevent spills, a removable non-slip pad with two recessed cup holders, and precision-cut slots that fit most standard walker handles.
  • Playing Cards and Holder - Large Print Playing Cards were designed for people who enjoy playing cards but have impaired or low vision. The 1-inch high bold numbers and designs are in black or red on a white background and are in the upper left corner. Pair them with the the Twin Tier Premiere Playing Card Holder, and you'll be playing cards for hours. The hands-free playing card holder can be used with both standard and over-sized playing cards. It provides an easy way to keep your hand organized, and can allow those with grip impairments to keep enjoying their favorite games.
  • Match up the Sayings - This game is a simple but effective, fun memory-jogging activity! Just find the two halves of a popular proverb or saying and match them together. This game is great for people with dementia, Alzheimer's, or just those wanting to work on their memory.
  • Speech Apps - There are multiple options for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) apps that can be used on an iPad! One example is Apraxia Therapy Lite, which can help navigate apraxia and aphasia, using video to help people speak again after a stroke or other conditions. Search our Device Loan Program inventory to see all the AAC app options and read more about each.

Successful Spring 2024 MOA Partner Meeting!

On Friday, March 22, Oklahoma ABLE Tech staff hosted the first in-person Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) partner meeting since 2020. ABLE Tech works closely with organizations across the state who share our mission to enhance the lives of all Oklahomans by offering assistive technology (AT) devices and services, financing opportunities, digital accessibility services, advocacy, and education. Representatives from our MOA partner organizations and ABLE Tech staff gathered in Stillwater at Oklahoma ABLE Tech’s main offices for a productive morning. 

The meeting kicked off with a Stillwater Smart Home Demonstration Site tour led by Louise Ruleford, ABLE Tech’s Device Loan Program Specialist. Partners had the chance to exchange insights and experiences with smart home technology, which sparked discussions about how enabling technology can benefit the individuals they serve. Following the tour, the meeting transitioned to the business segment, where representatives from each MOA partner organization provided updates and received new reporting guidelines from ABLE Tech staff. Following the meeting, Jonathan Carter, a certified mobility specialist from Newby-Vance Mobility Sales and Services, showcased a modified van for everyone to explore. Everyone enjoyed checking out the van's extensive features.

Oklahoma ABLE Tech extends sincere gratitude to all our MOA partners for the invaluable services they offer to Oklahomans statewide. For more details about our partners and the services they provide, visit ABLE Tech’s Core Program Partnerships webpage.

13 partners, Averie, Shelley, Allyson, and Amy smile at the camera while gathered in front of a projector screen in the lecture hall. The slide on the screen says, "Oklahoma ABLE Tech MOA Partner Spring Meeting."
A partner and Amy look at the interior of an accessible vehicle.

Microloan and Home Accessibility Loans Available! 

Did you know the Financial Loan Program has several different loan options? If you're in need of assistive technology (AT), durable medical equipment (DME), or disability-related home modifications, here are a few options to consider:

The microloan is for $3,000 or less and can be repaid over a maximum term of 36 months. This loan product allows for additional flexibility in credit criteria and debt-to-income ratio. Examples of items that could be financed with the microloan include low-cost hearing aids, vision equipment, lift chairs, or computers.

The home modification loan is for up to $10,000 and can be repaid over a maximum term of 7 years, depending on the amount and type of home improvements financed. Examples include ramps, walk-in showers, and smart home AT purchases. Home modification loans for applicants that are not considered low-income may be processed through BancFirst of Stillwater, have a maximum amount of $25,000, and a term of 5 years. 

All loans have an 8% interest rate. To learn more about these products or to apply for a loan go to Oklahoma ABLE Tech's Financial Loan page or visit OkAT's website.

SoonerStart Success Story and Quarterly Recognition Award

Amar'e is a light-skinned baby with short dark hair. He is wrapped in a HuggaPod and sitting in an UpSeat baby chair.

Amar’e is a five-month-old who was born with limb differences. After hearing about Oklahoma ABLE Tech’s short-term Device Loan Program from his SoonerStart providers, Amar’e’s mother requested to trial multiple devices. Amar’e trialed the Upseat, the HuggaPod, the Tula Ring Sling, and the Boba Baby Wrap Carrier. Each of these devices helps Amar’e’s mom position, hold, and carry him more securely than ever before.  

The UpSeat can help encourage Amare's healthy hip development and posture. The HuggaPod will adjust to grow with Amar'e! The Tula Ring Sling and Boba Classic Wrap both help Amar'e's mom carry him in positions that are comfortable for them both.

Trialing these devices allowed Amar’e to sit straight up to play, build core strength, and safely start eating more solid foods. As Amar’e keeps progressing, his mom hopes to see him eat upright, increase his head control and overall strength, and participate in more social interactions with his brother. 


The District Three SoonerStart team has earned the Third Quarter Recognition Award! The team will receive new AT to add to their Demonstration Kits! District Three includes Creek and Payne Counties.

To learn more about SoonerStart and AT for Early Intervention, visit our collaboration webpage!

Thank You, Device Reutilization Grant Partners!

The Oklahoma ABLE Tech Device Reutilization team is excited to see so many pieces of durable medical equipment (DME) and assistive technology (AT) come into the warehouse to fulfill device application requests, with more to come soon! This influx of devices is possible through several grants that have been awarded for 2024, including the INCOG, COEDD, and KEDDO Area Agencies on Aging, and the OkAT Foundation’s Oklahoma City Foundation iFund award! It won’t take the team long to distribute the equipment and get these devices in the homes of those who need them.

We are so thankful for our partners who have like-minded missions to serve Oklahomans with disabilities. If you are looking for ways to collaborate with us to help individuals receive much needed DME or AT – contact Assistant Director Shelley Gladden!

Celebrating GAAD and Older Americans Month

A line icon of the universal accessibility symbol.

Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2024!

Join millions of people around the world in celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on May 16, 2024! GAAD is a day all about raising awareness of digital accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities around the world. Since everything is becoming more reliant on digital technology, it’s more important than ever to make sure everyone, regardless of ability, can access and use digital content.

You can join the fun of GAAD by telling people about it, supporting accessibility, and making your own digital spaces more inclusive. Even just watching a video about digital accessibility can help spread the word. (Psst… Check out the TechAccess Oklahoma 2024 YouTube Playlist!)

Let’s work together to make the world a place where everyone can fully participate in the digital age!

To learn more about GAAD, visit accessibility.day.

Powerful Connections

May is Older Americans Month, and this year’s theme — Powered by Connection — recognizes the importance of maintaining meaningful relationships and social connections to improve health and well-being. This is especially true for older adults, who can often experience isolation, loneliness, and a loss of independence.

For many people, changes in their physical and mental capabilities are just a natural part of getting older. Vision, hearing, physical dexterity, and cognitive abilities often decline as we age. Technology can be a great tool to help counterbalance these changes, but only if people can use it! There is a lot of overlap between the barriers that the older adult and disability communities face when trying to access digital content. Because of this, making your digital spaces accessible for people with disabilities tends to also make them accessible for older people too.

With that in mind, here are some specific things to focus on while designing digital content for older adults:

Vision

  • Use high contrast color schemes. (Low vision, Color blindness)
  • Use simple fonts that are easy to read and choose a font size that is large enough to be easily read. (Low vision, Cognitive difficulties)

Hearing

  • Include captions and transcripts with any video content. (d/Deaf, Hard of hearing)
  • Avoid distracting background music or sounds in any video content, especially during dialogue. (Hard of hearing, Cognitive difficulties)

Physical

  • Make all interactive functions usable with a keyboard, as well as with a mouse. (Arthritis, Mobility difficulties)
  • Make all interactive functions easy to interact with by making them large enough. (Tremors, Dexterity difficulties)

Cognitive

  • Make content easy and logical to navigate, with clear instructions. (Confusion, Dementia)
  • Give people enough time to interact with content. (Memory difficulties, Mental processing difficulties)

For more information on digital accessibility, visit our Digital Accessibility Resources page, or contact us at abt.a11y@okstate.edu.

National AEM Center Seminar Recap

In late February, Michelle Soriano and Kelli Suding from the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) at CAST facilitated a working seminar with members of the Oklahoma AEM leadership team at the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. In attendance were representatives from the Accessible Instructional Materials Center of Oklahoma, Byng Public Schools, Decoding Dyslexia, Liberty Braille, Oklahoma ABLE Tech, and Oklahoma CareerTech. The goal of the seminar was to develop a Sustainability Plan for continuing the work began through the Intensive Technical Assistance provided over the past four (4) years by the National AEM Center. A plan was developed and will be initiated in October 2024. It includes:

  1. Continuing and enhancing the coordinated system of support for educators and employers.
  2. Developing and maintaining a platform for the provision of resources related to AEM for Oklahoma professionals and families.
  3. Developing additional guidance and resources related to education and employment.
  4. Providing direct technical assistance, on a selective basis, to Oklahoma school districts related to the provision of AEM.
  5. Implementing a data collection system, in collaboration with the Oklahoma State Department of Education, to monitor the provision of AEM and to improve related services.

Allyson, Michelle, Kelli, and Josh smile for a group picture in front of an indoor garden with a tree.

The National AEM Center will conclude their direct support with another onsite visit in July. Though the period of direct support is ending, ABLE Tech and the other members of the Oklahoma AEM leadership team will continue working to better assist Oklahomans in accessing, distributing, and using Accessible Educational Materials.

For more information about Accessible Educational Materials, visit Oklahoma ABLE Tech’s AEM webpage. Additionally, visit the National AEM Center’s website to explore the many excellent resources found there.

SERC Update - Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC)

The CRDC is a required survey of all school districts in all United States territories. Through the use of this survey, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) gathers information about student participation in educational programs, activities, staff, and school climate factors for students from preschool to 12th grade. This Profile of Students with Disabilities in U.S. Public Schools During the 2020-21 School Year document released in February 2024 outlines the data collected on students with disabilities from the 2020-2021 school year. Please see the latest issue for data concerning student enrollment by disability category, race, ethnicity, sex, English-language learner status, and other school climate factors. Parents, educators, and school district employees may be especially interested in reading through the data to better understand the statistics behind disability categories and other factors related to disability status.


SERC’s mission is to help school districts and parents resolve disputes at the earliest stage possible. To learn more about SERC, visit their website. 

ORC Update - National Coalition of State Rehabilitation Councils

The Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC) participated in the National Coalition of State Rehabilitation Councils (NCSRC) Spring Conference on April 6 and 7, 2024, in Bethesda, MD. ORC was represented by Jeff Newton, the Council’s current Chair, Nikki Jolly, a new member representing a Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP), and Carolina Colclasure, ORC Program Manager.

The conference brings together representatives from State Rehabilitation Councils (SRCs) from all over the country and advises on best practices and new strategies for accomplishing the SRCs’ goals and objectives.

This year’s conference included presentations on:

  • SRC Basics
  • Involving Members in the State Plan Development Process
  • Lessons learned in assisting with the State Plan
  • Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE)
  • Culture of integrity through engagement
  • Updates from the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)

ORC also presented this year. Jeff and Carolina shared the “SRC Annual Strategic Plan: Oklahoma Model” and led a table exercise. The information was very well received, and there was a lot of participation from the other states! The NCSRC Fall Conference is set for Seattle, WA, from October 19-20, 2024.


ORC's mission is to facilitate consumer education and empowerment, to assure services are of high quality and lead to the employment of individuals with disabilities within Oklahoma. To learn more about ORC, visit their website. 

SAS Update - May 1 is Interpreter Appreciation Day!

May 1 is National Interpreter Appreciation Day! The first Wednesday in May has been designated as Interpreter Appreciation Day to recognize the contributions interpreters make to facilitate communication between the d/Deaf and hearing worlds.

Did you know that American Sign Language (ASL) is not a direct translation from English? ASL has its own grammatical structure and relies on concepts and cultural mediation to ensure an accurate interpretation. Their work breaks barriers and gives opportunities for meaningful interaction.

Oklahoma State University’s Student Accessibility Services (SAS) office wants to introduce our interpreters and thank them for the dedication, skill, and compassion they bring to our d/Deaf and hard of hearing students and staff. We are so fortunate to have them on our team helping SAS to make campus more inclusive!

  • Jessi Alexander – QAST V/V
  • Cam Cheek – QAST V/V
  • Samuel Hall – QAST V/V
  • Sydney Monroe QAST IV/V
  • Kalee Morales – QAST V/IV
  • Ren Myers – Intern Interpreter – QAST results pending
  • Margaret Newman – QAST V/V
  • Taylor Woodall-Greene – QAST V/V
  • Janice K. Woods – CI/CT, QAST V/V, Certified Courtroom Interpreter

To learn more about the levels of interpreting certifications, please visit Oklahoma’s Interpreter Certification and Resource Center.

QAST is the Quality Assurance Screening Test, a regional sign language interpreting and transliterating assessment tool.

Oklahoma AT Center Locations and Partners

Oklahoma ABLE Tech and its partners operate device demonstration and loan programs to increase access to AT.

  • Bethany Children's Health Center
    Bethany, 405-789-6711
  • Handicapped Vehicle Services Unlimited
    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, 405-518-0167
  • NewView Oklahoma
    Oklahoma City, 405-521-4880
    Tulsa, 855-811-9699
  • Norman Regional Rehab Services
    Norman, 405-307-1786
  • Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services
    Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired

    Oklahoma City, 405-951-3400
  • Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services
    Vocational Rehabilitation

    Oklahoma City, 405-538-7986
  • Oklahoma State Department of Health
    Pediatric Audiology Program

    Moore, 405-794-1591
  • OSU – Department of Communication
    Sciences & Disorders
    Stillwater, 405-744-6021
  • OSU - Esports Arena
    Stillwater, 405-744-5173
  • OSU - University Counseling Services Reboot Center
    Stillwater, 405-744-5458
  • SoonerStart
    Oklahoma City, 405-271-8333
  • Speech Pathway, LLC
    Oklahoma City, 405-652-9683
  • United Access
    Oklahoma City, 888-939-1010

OSU Department of Wellness - Accessibility Programs Staff

  • Todd Misener, Assistant Vice President and Chief Wellness Officer, OSU Department of Wellness
  • Allyson Robinson, Director of Accessibility Programs
  • Austin Bricker, Device Reutilization Senior Administrative Support Specialist
  • Richard Buntin, Fiscal Operations Specialist
  • Cam Cheek, SAS Interpreting Coordinator
  • Carolina Colclasure, ORC Program Manager
  • Shannon Esmeyer, SERC Administrative Assistant
  • Allison Fennell-Conch, SERC Program Manager
  • Shelley Gladden, Assistant Director, Assistive Technology Core Programs
  • Brent Greyson, Instructional Design & Accessibility Specialist
  • Peyton Haley, Accessible Communications Coordinator
  • Joshua Hawkins, Assistant Director, Assistive Technology in Education & Department Head, OSU Student Accessibility Services (SAS)
  • Averie Hinchey-Lucas, Speech-Language Pathologist & Device Demonstration and Loan Programs Manager
  • Stephanie Hesser, Financial Loan Program Specialist
  • Rob Keiter, SERC Program Coordinator
  • Angie Larison, SAS Accessibility Specialist
  • Lyssa Prince, Assistant Director, Digital Accessibility
  • Natalie Rohwer, Financial Loan Program Manager
  • Lindsey Romero, SAS Program Specialist & Interim Coordinator
  • Louise Ruleford, Device Demonstration and Loan Programs Specialist
  • Brian Sargent, Device Reutilization Site Coordinator
  • Adam Thiel, Digital Accessibility Coordinator
  • Amy Woods, Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Kimberly Young, Device Reutilization Program Specialist
  • Michele Young, Fiscal 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.