February 2024 Newsletter

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

Happy March from Oklahoma ABLE Tech! We're excited to update you about what's been happening over the last month and give you some sneak peeks of what's coming soon.

Assistive Technology (AT) Highlights

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month! Check out these AT devices chosen by our AT specialists from the Learning, Cognition, and Development category that can be used to help people with brain injuries complete everyday tasks. These devices can help with memory and recall, sequencing, and completing tasks.

The Resetea Time Management, Talking Photo Album, LiveScribe pen, and Interactive Cooking Visual Recipes are placed on a table in the Demonstration Room.

  • Interactive Cooking Visual Recipes - This is a file folder with 2 different recipes inside, one for spaghetti and one for mac and cheese. The book breaks directions down step by step, accompanied by pictures and interactive elements. This helps individuals practice sequencing for individuals with brain injury/cognitive delays. Other interactive life skill files include bathroom, grocery store, kitchen, community signs, and other cooking recipes. 
  • Talking Photo Album - This photo album allows individuals to record messages to go with corresponding pictures, which can help individuals with memory and recall of their loved ones or cherished memories. It can also be used in other ways,  for example: you could insert printed directions into the photo slot and record verbal instructions.
  • Resetea Time Management - This electronic device can help individuals stay focused on completing tasks or following a routine by giving a visual indicator of passed time. Brain injuries can impact mood, personality, and/or reasoning which can cause individuals to feel agitated. By understanding what happens next, anxiety is diminished, which could provide users with feelings of calm and safety. The caretaker would help set up the device according to the user's needs.  
  •  LiveScribe Pen - The main function of this smart pen is to offer the ability to automatically transcribe handwriting into digital notes. Then, notes can be tagged, organized, searched, or converted to text. The Livescribe Echo 2 Smart Pen also has a microphone and speaker built-in, so it can directly record audio. This can assist individuals in taking notes during doctor's appointments, meetings, or classes.

Preparing Educators for AEM and Textbook Orders

As you plan for next school year, remember all curricular materials must be created, or adapted, so they are accessible to all students. If your school district is planning on purchasing materials, contract language should be included that speaks to the publisher’s obligation to provide the materials in an accessible format. Contracts should request curriculum files be placed in the NIMAC at the time of purchase. This ensures the materials are available to all students promptly. Visit the NIMAC website for more information.

Note: Any materials a school district purchases that are on the state-approved textbook adoption list must be available in an accessible digital format for students. This is because the Oklahoma State Department of Education requires publishers to submit the book files to the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC), making them available to Accessible Media Producers (AMPs) such as Bookshare.

“Bookshare makes reading easier. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, and the joy of reading," according to the Bookshare website.

Bookshare is an excellent resource for teachers and administrators when considering accessible educational materials (AEM).

  • Search over 1 million titles.
  • Read anywhere.
  • Get unlimited access FREE for students and schools.

Search Bookshare for available titles and fill out a book request if you don’t see what you need. ABLE Tech can assist with searching the NIMAC and other repositories to request accessible files from publishers when necessary. Email Dr. Joshua Hawkins for assistance.

Stillwater Smart Home Open House Recap

We had a great time at the Stillwater Smart Home Open House on February 13! Thank you to everyone who stopped by to visit, contributed to, and supported this event!

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the Smart Home assistive technology (AT) we have available, visit our Smart Home Demonstrations webpage. Virtual and in-person tours and consultations are available, call our office to schedule!!

12 people are visible, gathered in the kitchen at Oklahoma ABLE Tech. Louise's back is to the camera as she opens a cabinet to demonstrate the drop down shelf.

The Importance of Home Blood Pressure Monitoring

Recently, there's been more talk about keeping an eye on your health at home, especially when it comes to checking your blood pressure. Checking blood pressure at home can help at-risk individuals detect high blood pressure early. Self-monitoring also helps healthcare providers make the best treatment plans. Monitoring blood pressure at home also leads to healthcare cost savings for those who need to check their numbers regularly. When you check your blood pressure at home, you might get a more accurate picture of your numbers when you're not at the doctor's office.

Because of this, Oklahoma ABLE Tech is receiving more requests for home blood pressure monitors than ever. Right now, over 200 people are waiting to get wrist or arm blood pressure monitors.

If you're reading this, we ask you to consider donating a blood pressure monitor (or several) to help us support Oklahomans in need. To find out more about donating DME, visit the Oklahoma ABLE Tech Device Reutilization Program's How to Donate page.

Financial Security Tip: 

Identity theft is increasing, and attackers may gain access to your personal information by:

  • Dumpster diving for documents containing personal information
  • Emails, calls, or texts from individuals pretending to be a bank or someone you trust to request your personal information
  • Hacking your computers or mobile devices
  • Data breaches at other organizations that store information, like banks

Here are some actions you can take to protect yourself:

  • Shred documents that contain personal information
  • Password protect your devices and use strong passwords for your accounts
  • Don't use public Wi-Fi
  • Monitor your credit and bank accounts closely

Do you want to learn more about identity theft and what to do if you are a victim?  Go to myFICO to learn more about this topic. Do you have questions about financial education resources or need to purchase AT? Oklahoma ABLE Tech’s low-interest financial loan program can assist. To apply for a loan, go to the Financial Loan webpage or visit OkAT's website.

TechAccess OK 2024, signing off.

Thank you to everyone who made the 2024 TechAccess Oklahoma conference a smashing success! We heard from speakers who have experience in all levels of accessibility, from developers to leaders, about things like content development, burnout, personas, leadership's role in supporting accessibility programs, and everything in between! We know our brains are full, and we're excited to put some of the things we learned into practice. We enjoyed meeting you all and continuing to build a stronger digital accessibility community in Oklahoma!

We'd like to thank our sponsors once again, the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Without their support, events like TechAccess Oklahoma would not be possible. Next year's conference will be held sometime in February 2025. We hope to see you all back then!

The ballroom at Rose State College is full of tables of people tuned in to Jennison's session occurring on the stage at the front of the room.

AT Workshop 2 Recap and Empowering Voices

On February 15, Oklahoma ABLE Tech staff conducted the second session of our recurring, three-part workshop series designed to develop participants’ knowledge, skills, and competencies related to assistive technology (AT).  In Part 2 of the series, workshop attendees examined the process of conducting an AT assessment. Staff were thrilled to offer Part 2 in a hybrid format, allowing participants to join virtually and in person in Stillwater. Participants who joined in person enjoyed hands-on experience with multiple AT devices.  

Enthusiasm was high as attendees explored various AT devices and began bridging theory with practical application. Among them, a speech therapist shared a transformative insight gained during the workshop: one student of hers has difficulty speaking quietly due to a medical condition. The student uses a wheelchair and has difficulty with his breath support. He has come a long way with speech and language and continues to work on his posture for breath support; however, he continues to have difficulty speaking loudly enough for people to hear and understand him. The workshop attendee had never considered recommending a device with voice amplification until coming to ABLE Tech’s workshop in person in Stillwater. She decided to use ABLE Tech’s Short-Term Loan Program to borrow the technology to help her make an informed decision about what assistive technology could best support her student. 

We invite you to join us for future AT trainings and explore how assistive technology can enhance learning and accessibility for all individuals.

Part 3 of the AT workshop will be offered virtually on Thursday, March 28, 2024. Register today!

Empowering Voices: Effective AAC Evaluations Recap

Recent estimates indicate that 5 million Americans and 97 million people in the world may benefit from Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) (Beukelman and Light (2020.)

Oklahoma ABLE Tech staff have taken a proactive approach to address this need through their Empowering Voices: Effective AAC Evaluations Workshops designed for speech therapists, educators, and other professionals who work with individuals of all ages with communication difficulties. These workshops aim to empower professionals with the necessary knowledge and confidence to conduct thorough AAC assessments and acquire AAC tools for individuals in need. 

It’s not too late to register for the Empowering Voices: Effective AAC Evaluations Workshop on Saturday, April 6, in Stillwater.

ORC Update - Disability at Work

The Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC) would like to invite you to the 2024 DRS Business Summit.

Disability at work logo.

The Disability at Work: Thrive Forum 2024 Business Summit is a crucial event highlighting the substantial benefits and Return on Investment tied to disability employment. Through storytelling from successful people with disabilities, employment professionals, partners, and businesses, the business community in Oklahoma will learn how embracing a broader variety of populations into their workforce positively impacts both their bottom line and the communities they provide goods and services to.

The summit also serves as a comprehensive platform for businesses to explore Workforce Services tailored to diverse populations in Oklahoma, offering a clear understanding of the organizational structure. Importantly, it sheds light on the collaborative efforts of workforce partners, emphasizing the shared commitment to fostering inclusive work environments for people with disabilities.

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. 

SERC Staff Update

The United States Department of Education (USDE) recently released guidance regarding IDEA's requirements for assistive technology (AT). This January 2024 PDF document provides specific information on the provision of AT as part of IDEA Part C (0-2 years of age) and Part B (3-22 years of age), as well as myths and facts about devices, services, and funding for AT. Parents, early intervention providers, and school district employees might be especially interested in reading through this document to better understand the federal requirements for individuals with disabilities. 

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. 

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, Reutilization Senior Administrative Support Specialist
  • Richard Buntin, Fiscal Operations Specialist
  • Cameron Cheek, SAS Interpreting Coordinator
  • Carolina Colclasure, ORC Program Manager
  • Leslie Dady, Administrative Operations Specialist
  • 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
  • Josh Hawkins, Assistant Director, Assistive Technology in Education & OSU Student Accessibility Services (SAS)
  • Averie Hinchey-Lucas, Speech-Language Pathologist | Device Demonstration and Loans Program 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
  • Louise Ruleford, Program 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.