ABLE Tech increases visibility across the state!
Oklahoma ABLE Tech provides multiple programs and services for Oklahomans who would benefit from the use of assistive technology (AT). Many are familiar with its core programs: device demonstrations, device short-term loans, device reutilization, financial loans for AT, and digital accessibility. Services provided include training, technical assistance, consultations, and, more broadly, public awareness.
With many institutions and organizations returning to in-person activities and events this year, ABLE Tech has seen a significant increase in the number of opportunities to present or provide information to various groups around the state. Since July, ABLE Tech has presented at 70 different events, with an additional 10 scheduled opportunities before the end of 2022.
With the increase in the number of service activities across the education, community, and employment domains, there has been a corresponding increase in the number of consultation and technical assistance requests. Altogether, this means more Oklahomans are receiving AT devices and services than ever!
ABLE Tech’s partners also contribute to increasing public awareness and provide direct assistance to Oklahomans. These crucial partnerships support ABLE Tech in fulfilling its mission to “improve the lives of Oklahomans, of all ages and abilities, by providing increased access to, and acquisition of, needed assistive technology devices and services, digital accessibility services, advocacy, and education.” For a complete list of partners, visit the ABLE Tech Core Program Partnerships webpage.
Thank you to all who have requested or participated in a presentation or event this fall. For those who are interested in having Oklahoma ABLE Tech present in the spring, contact Dr. Joshua Hawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SERC News - National Special Education Day is December 2!
A simplified version of the history of special services in schools:
The Rehabilitation Act was signed into law in 1973. It was one of the first U.S. civil rights laws to offer protection for people with disabilities. Section 504 of that law specifically applied to elementary and secondary schools receiving federal financial assistance. For a qualifying student, this law provided that “no otherwise qualified individual in the U.S. shall solely on the basis of his handicap, be excluded from the participation, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” The law applies to any student with a diagnosed disability that creates a substantial limitation of major life activities. Accommodations must be provided to address the student’s substantial limitations. Put simply, the Rehabilitation Act mandated states to educate all children with disabilities.
In response to this unfunded requirement, Congress passed Public Law 94-142 in 1975 providing financial assistance to states for students who met the criteria for special education. In 2004, this law was reauthorized as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under IDEA, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is provided when a student 1.) has a qualifying disability that has an adverse impact on education and 2.) requires specialized instruction. IDEA has 13 categories and specific criteria for qualifying within each category. Accommodations, modifications, and specialized instruction can be provided to meet students' unique needs.
While IDEA includes funding for public schools, the law has never been fully funded by Congress. Furthermore, IDEA 2004 has not been reauthorized in 18 years.
Civil rights protection for students can be provided in a 504 plan or on an IEP–depending on how a student qualifies. The use of Assistive Technology (AT) is provided for in both a 504 plan and an IEP.
The Special Education Resolution Center (SERC) mission is to help school districts and parents resolve disputes at the earliest stage possible. Learn more about SERC on their website, or contact email@example.com.
Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at OSU joins Oklahoma ABLE Tech!
Dr. Doug Hallenbeck, Vice President of Student Affairs at Oklahoma State University (OSU), recently announced:
“Student Accessibility Services has been moved from University Health Services to the Department of Wellness Sponsored Programs where they will join forces with the accessibility resources offered by Oklahoma ABLE Tech and build on the robust services provided to students with accessibility needs.”
Student Accessibility Services (SAS) offers academic support services to students with disabilities taking courses through the OSU and Northern Oklahoma College-Stillwater campus. These services regularly include assistive technology (AT). Oklahoma ABLE Tech’s staff is excited to support the efforts of SAS in fulfilling its commitment to provide a learning community at OSU that ensures equal access for students.
The SAS team is comprised of Lisa Dobson (Coordinator), Angie Larison (Accessibility Specialist), Lindsey Romero (Administrative Support Assistant), and Dr. Joshua Hawkins (Program Manager).
Meet the SAS team!
Lisa Dobson, SAS Program Coordinator
Lisa grew up in Oklahoma before moving to Coeur’d Alene, Idaho. She is the mother of two sons, two daughters by marriage, and has four grandchildren. Lisa graduated with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Idaho, majoring in Education. She has 24 years of experience in education, where she has taught at both the high school and postsecondary levels, as well as overseen academic departments. Lisa’s professional experience includes affiliations with North Idaho College, the University of Idaho, Gonzaga University, and the University of North Carolina.
She is honored to be at Oklahoma State University, the alma mater of her father. Lisa’s desire to see students succeed motivates her work as the Coordinator of Student Accessibility Services.
Angie Larison, SAS Accessibility Specialist
Angie is the Accessibility Specialist for Student Accessibility Services. She determines appropriate accommodations for students and ensures that they have access to various campus resources. Angie believes that providing a welcoming experience for students and parents is important. In addition, she is passionate about helping students get what they need to be successful.
Angie was born in Oklahoma and received a bachelor’s in music from Oklahoma State University. She is married to Bryan, and they have three daughters. Outside of work, Angie enjoys singing with the Stillwater Chamber Singers, going on walks, and eating delicious food.
Lindsey Romero-Kopenhagen, SAS Administrative Support Assistant
Destined to be an Oklahoma State Cowboy, Lindsey was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and raised just a few miles away in Pawnee. With a unique background in both medicine and law enforcement, she was blessed with the opportunity to join the Student Accessibilities Services office at Oklahoma State University where she has served as the Administrative Support Assistant for the past two years.
Lindsey is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at OSU. When she is not on campus helping students or studying for her courses, you can find her at any number of activities with her two teenage sons who are both active in band, sports, and FFA.
ABLE Tech Reutilization Office move is complete!
As of November 8, 2022, the Reutilization Program has a new home! Moving a 3,500-square-foot warehouse and office to a new location has been an involved process. On October 31, one semi-truck, one 53’ trailer, and one 26’ box truck were loaded with the warehouse and office contents. It took six movers approximately eight hours to disassemble, pack, and load all vehicles with 338 pieces ($248,535 in value) of Durable Medical Equipment (DME). It took another eight hours to unload the next day at the new location!
The Reutilization Office will be hosting an open house soon. We welcome you to come and see it! Eventually, a Smart Home Assistive Technology (AT) Demonstration area will be located at the same site where individuals, families, service providers, and community organizations can visit to learn more about and train with Smart Home AT. The Smart Home AT illustrates ways to keep individuals as independent as possible in the home.
This program helps Oklahomans acquire FREE assistive technology and durable medical equipment (DME). The Reutilization Program office is now located at 4301 Will Rogers Parkway, Suite 950, Oklahoma City, OK 73108. Their new phone number is 405-967-6010, or you can call the toll-free number, 800-257-1705.
Accessibility tip– Make sure loved ones can read your holiday cards!
With the holidays come all varieties of greeting cards, print and digital. It’s important to consider how loved ones will experience these cards. Family and friends who have vision impairments or other aging-related disabling conditions may need large text that has high contrast with its background. Individuals who are blind may prefer a digital card so that they can access the greeting using assistive technology, without having to ask for assistance. Those who have cognitive disabilities may need greeting cards without clutter, or in the case of digital greetings, limited animation.
One huge tip for any digital greeting is to use the tab key to navigate through the greeting card, and then use Enter to hit “Play” if the card has a video or animation. When checking for accessibility, ask the question: “Can you access everything this way, and can you see where you are as you’re tabbing?” It is important to know if a friend or family member who is blind or navigates using keyboard-like functionality can receive the greeting.
We hope you’ll take some time to consider the experience of those who have a disabling condition and help ensure everyone feels the love this holiday season! For more information on accessible holiday greetings, visit our friends at Minnesota IT, or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial Loan Coordinator pitches to Investment Connection - Oklahoma!
The Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT) is ABLE Tech’s non-profit partner providing financial lending support to the Financial Loan Program to assist Oklahomans in the purchase of needed assistive technology (AT). Natalie Rohwer, the Director of Lending for OkAT and ABLE Tech Financial Loan Coordinator, has made it part of her mission to provide needed AT and Durable Medical Equipment (DME) for clients utilizing ABLE Tech services. On November 1, Rohwer had the opportunity to present a “Shark Tank-style”, 7-minute proposal through Investment Connection - Oklahoma. Investment Connection - Oklahoma is hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and provides organizations the opportunity to share community and economic development proposals that may be eligible for funding support under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) with potential funders.
Rohwer pitched a $100,000 proposal to an audience of approximately 30 representatives of financial institutions. The financial proposal was to solicit funds to support financial loan lending dollars, as well as support the purchase of needed AT and DME for the ABLE Tech Reutilization Program.
The OkAT Foundation has supported the ABLE Tech mission since its conception by providing opportunities to assist Oklahomans in acquiring needed AT and DME through financial loans and grants. Last year, the OkAT Foundation contributed $25,000 in grant funds to purchase needed DME that had a significant waitlist of individuals in need.
This program is available for Oklahomans who may have a disabling condition and/or are aging in their home, who need assistive technology and financial assistance acquiring it to help them learn, work, and live independently. Learn more on the Oklahoma ABLE Tech’s Financial Loan Program webpage.
Fall 2022 AT Workshop Series Recap
The Assistive Technology (AT) Workshop Series Parts 2 and 3 were held on October 6 and November 10, 2022, respectively. In Part 2, “Gathering Information and Trialing Devices,” participants learned the steps involved in conducting an AT Assessment and the procedure for borrowing AT to trial. In Part 3, “Assistive Technology (AT) in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Implementation,” participants learned how to integrate AT into the IEP in a meaningful and effective way.
Each session had a record number of attendees. Feedback from participants highlighted the practicality of the information provided: “Thank you for all the real-world input. So nice to have application examples and ideas to walk away and implement,” and “I am very happy with the materials provided and the excellent support available to us.”
Dates have been set for the Spring 2023 AT Workshop Series: Part 1 – January 19; Part 2 – February 16; and Part 3 – March 23. Registration is now open.
Thank you to those who participated in our workshop series this fall! Oklahoma ABLE Tech will continue to provide high-quality training and materials to assist educators in the selection, acquisition, and use of AT.
Visit the Oklahoma ABLE Tech AT Support Team Workshops webpage to register for the Spring 2023 AT Workshop Series!
Oklahoma County Success Story
Tarik is a 42-year-old Oklahoma County resident and Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) client. Tarik lives with hearing loss and wears a cochlear bone conduction hearing aid attached to a headband. Tarik spends about 30% of his workday speaking with clients on the Interactive Voice Response computer program that allows humans to interact with a computer-operated phone system using voice and other input.
With the collaborative efforts between the DRS Assistive Technology (AT) Unit and ABLE Tech, Tarik was able to borrow a Shokz OpenComm UC headset with an external microphone and a “Loop 100” with USB adapter. The adapter ensures direct, dependable, and instant connection—offering greater access to more devices. Tarik was very pleased with the short-term device loan from ABLE Tech and knows this product will support him in his employment. His goal is to provide the best client care with the use of this headset.
This program provides Oklahomans with disabilities and their family members, caregivers, or service providers the opportunity to borrow Assistive Technology (AT) devices at no cost for up to six weeks. Oklahoma ABLE Tech's assistive device inventory offers over 3,000 devices in many AT categories. Learn more on the ABLE Tech Device Short-Term Loan Program webpage.
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
- Handicapped Vehicle Services Unlimited
- 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
- Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services
Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired
Oklahoma City, 405.951.3400
- OSU – Department of Communication
Sciences & Disorders
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, 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
- Carolina Colclasure, ORC Program Manager
- Gretchen Cole-Lade, State Leadership Training Specialist
- Leslie Dady, Administrative Operations Specialist
- Lisa Dobson, SAS Program Coordinator
- Shannon Esmeyer, SERC Administrative Assistant
- Shelley Gladden, State Level Program Manager
- Brent Greyson, Instructional Design & Accessibility Specialist
- Peyton Haley, Accessible Communications Coordinator
- Terri Harris, Senior Administrative Support Specialist
- Josh Hawkins, State Leadership Program Manager
- Averie Hinchey, Speech-Language Pathologist Specialist
- Stephanie Hesser, Financial Loan Program Specialist
- Rob Keiter, SERC Coordinator
- Angie Larison, SAS Accessibility Specialist
- Lyssa Prince, Digital Accessibility Program Manager
- Natalie Rohwer, Financial Loan Program Coordinator
- Lindsey Romero-Kopenhagen, SAS Administrative Support Assistant
- Louise Ruleford, Program Specialist
- Shelby Sanders, Assistive Technology Specialist
- Brian Sargent, Reutilization Site Coordinator
- Adam Thiel, Digital Accessibility Coordinator
- Amy Woods, Occupational Therapy Assistant
- Kimberly Young, 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.