ABLE Tech Connect – Vol. 1, Issue 4

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

Quarter Four eNewsletter: Federal Fiscal Year 2022-23

What is Digital Accessibility?

A line icon of the universal accessibility symbol.Digital Accessibility, often abbreviated in accessibility circles as  a11y, helps bridge the gap between the physical assistive technology (AT) devices people use and digital environments like the internet, mobile apps, or digital documents. Unless your digital content is designed correctly, AT can’t interact with it properly, or often, at all. And yes, it is required by law!

The digital accessibility team can help you ensure your digital content is accessible. Oklahoma ABLE Tech’s digital accessibility team offers training and technical assistance, as well as accessibility assessments. Cost varies by service and organization type. 

Available Services: 

  • Face-to-face or virtual training 
  • Assessment of websites, web applications, and documents  
  • Troubleshooting and correcting accessibility barriers 
  • Accessibility policy and strategy guidance 

Complete our training request form, assessment request form, or contact us at abt.a11y@okstate.edu to see how we can help you start, or continue, learning how to make your content accessible to all! 

Successful Smart Home Open House

On August 24, Oklahoma ABLE Tech staff hosted the first-ever open house at our Oklahoma City offices! More than 70 people attended, and we had a great time answering questions about our programs and projects and showing everyone around the new space. We also received several donations for our Device Reutilization Program, totaling nearly $2,000 worth of equipment 

Thank you to our sponsors, the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council, VIPcare, and the Oklahoma Assistive Technology (OkAT) Foundation, as well as everyone who came out and supported us! 

Program Manager, Shelley Gladden, said, “The Smart Home space helps showcase remote support and enabling technologies which can be game-changing for families and individuals living in the community and trying to stay independent. With this demonstration space, individuals can try, see, touch, and understand the various types of assistive technology and services available. For DDS clients and various other waiver services, some of these technologies may be covered by waivers, and many are also available commercially to purchase. When individuals participate in a demonstration, funding information can also be provided.” 

To schedule a tour of the OKC Smart Home Demonstration Site, contact ABLE Tech at 800-257-1705 or send an email to abletech@okstate.edu . 

Shelley talks to an attendee by the AT shelf. To their right, Allyson shows an attendee in a power chair a sensory device off the shelf.
Open House Silly Group Photo

Device Demonstration Success Story

Rowyn is a precious sixteen-month-old girl who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, microcephaly, and developmental delays. Cerebral Palsy typically affects a person’s posture and ability to move and maintain balance. Microcephaly is a condition in which a baby’s head is significantly smaller than expected. Developmental delay is when a person has not gained typical developmental skills compared to others of the same age.  

Amy sits on the floor with Rowyn, who is in a Bumbo seat. Rowyn is using a big yellow switch to activate a bubble machine that is blowing lots of bubbles into the image. Both people are smiling.

Rowyn, her mom, her brother, and a SoonerStart provider recently visited Oklahoma ABLE Tech to explore assistive technology (AT) devices that might improve her quality of life. The goal of the visit was to trial and select environmental switch controls to operate switch-adapted toys for play. Rowyn had great success with the Big Red Switch featuring the yellow interchangeable switch top. This switch gave Rowyn a large target area with awesome color contrast to help as a visual aid. Rowyn tried many adapted toys but favored the Gazillion Hurricane Bubble Blower Switch Adapted Toy. She was able to select the switch with her hand to activate the Bubble Blower and track the bubbles flying all around.   

Rowyn’s mom successfully checked out three preferred toys from ABLE Tech’s Short-Term Loan Program: Peek a Boo Mirror Adapted Sensory Toy, Spinning Party Light, and the Gazillion Hurricane Bubble Blower Switch Adapted Toy.  

Rowyn’s mom stated, “We can’t thank SoonerStart and ABLE Tech enough for helping our princess grow and improve her quality of life.”  

Visit our website for more information about our Device Demonstration or Device Short-Term Loan programs. 

ORC Update

The Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC) invites you to attend the 18th Annual Oklahoma Transition Institute (OTI). This year, it will be an in-person event at the Glenpool Conference Center at 12205 S Yukon Avenue in Glenpool, Oklahoma, on November 14-15, 2023. 

Join education and community leaders across Oklahoma to share best practices, learn about resources, and collaborate to build your network.  

Here’s what you can look forward to: 

  • Breakout sessions with subject matter experts (Been there, done that, they get it done!)
  • Panel discussions with Transition Teams from across the state about What Works. 
  • Youth panel discussions-Real Talk with Real Students 
  • Opportunities to connect virtually or in person with colleagues and share your expertise. 
  • Exhibitors, contests, and prizes 

Registration this year is $50, and you can sign up via the Attendee Registration Form. ORC Program Manager, Carolina Colclasure, is an active member of the Oklahoma Transition Council, which hosts OTI each year.  

To learn more about ORC and transition resources, visit the ORC website. 

SERC Update

The Special Education Resolution Center (SERC) publishes an online quarterly newsletter called the "SERC Scoop." The September edition just came out and features many helpful articles, along with relevant information related to special education, including SERC services and available training opportunities. SERC's mission is to help schools and parents resolve disputes at the earliest stage possible.  

Read the newsletter on the SERC website. At the bottom of the page, you can subscribe to the quarterly newsletter and receive future editions by email! 

DME Overstock – Help us Reassign this Unmatched Equipment!

The ABLE Tech Device Reutilization Program currently has an overstock of Durable Medical Equipment (DME)! Specifically, we have four power wheelchairs, four power scooters, and 14 two-wheeled walkers that have not yet been matched! 

To apply for available DME, please fill out our Device Reutilization Application. In addition to this form, a prescription from a physician will be required for all scooters, power wheelchairs, and two-wheeled walkers. A mobility evaluation report from a physical or occupational therapist (PT/OT) or assistive technology professional (ATP) will also be required for the power wheelchairs and scooters. 

Check out the links for each available scooter, powerchair, and two-wheeled walker! 

power-mobility-chairs
Lots of two-wheeled walkers are leaning against each other, lined up in the warehouse in storage. You can see tags with inventory numbers on several. In the background, other DME is wrapped in plastic sheeting.

Financial Education – Oklahoma STABLE Accounts

Oklahoma STABLE accounts offer a way for Oklahomans with disabilities to save for qualified expenses and invest for future needs without impacting benefits. They are made possible by the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act which allows individuals with disabilities and their families the ability to save and invest up to $17,000 a year (and, if employed, up to $13,590 more) for eligible expenses. The account’s growth is tax-free, and the contributions may qualify for a state income tax deduction. The funds invested can be used to pay for qualified expenses geared toward improving health, independence, and quality of life. Examples include living expenses, housing, education, assistive technology (AT), personal support services, and many other expenses. To be eligible to open an account an individual must be someone who developed the disability before the age of 26 and must have been living with the disability for at least one year or expect the disability to last for at least a year. For more information call 1-800-439-1653 or go to the Oklahoma STABLE website.  

Need to purchase AT but don’t have an Oklahoma STABLE account? The ABLE Tech low-interest Financial Loan Program can assist. To apply for a loan, go to the ABLE Tech Financial Loan page or visit OkAT's website. 

New Digital Accessibility Courses – PowerPoint and Complex Images

We added three new courses to the ABLE Tech course catalog in September!

Accessibility in Microsoft PowerPoint* 

This beginner-level course will guide learners through selecting and modifying an MS PowerPoint template to be more accessible. The learner will begin by learning how to set up their template and PowerPoint to make their slides more accessible. Then, the learner will go through an exercise meant to simulate the process an accessibility professional would use to create an accessible slide deck or remediate a slide deck that isn't accessible.  

The course will take about one hour to complete. 

*Available as separate courses for Windows and Mac 

Describing Complex Images 

Are you wondering how to properly describe complicated images such as maps, graphs and charts, and infographics so many types of users can understand them? This intermediate-level course will not only explain why, but also show you how to go beyond basic alt text when describing complex images.

Upon completion, learners will have a deeper understanding of the following:  

  • How to evaluate images to determine what type of image they are 
  • How to evaluate the context of images and surrounding content 
  • Why text alternatives are important for all users, including people with disabilities 
  • Techniques for how to provide text alternatives in a meaningful way 

This course will take about one hour to complete. 

Fall 2023 AT Workshop Series: Part 1 Recap

On September 14, Oklahoma ABLE Tech staff conducted the first session of our recurring, three-part workshop series designed to develop participants’ knowledge, skills, and competencies related to Assistive Technology (AT). In Part 1 of the series, workshop attendees examined the process for considering AT for students with disabilities. Additionally, Part 1 included reviewing the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT), specific legal requirements, an overview of the 10 AT categories, and a no-, low-, light-tech Make ‘n Take activity.

There were over 80 attendees including college students, in-service teachers, parents, administrators, and related service providers from across Oklahoma. 

Participants shared their eagerness to begin implementing information from the course: 

  • “I will start implementing more AT within my school's IEPs.” 
  • “[Workshop 1] really expanded my thinking on who may need AT besides those with significant needs. 
  • “I will advocate for our students to get AT that can be used in a variety of situations to help them show success. 

Mark your calendars for Part 2, scheduled for October 12, 2023.  In this session, participants will learn the steps involved in conducting an Assistive Technology (AT) Assessment. We are excited to offer two options for Part 2: in-person in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and virtually via Zoom. For those attending in person, this allows attendees to have hands-on experience with multiple AT devices. Learn more about the two options and register on the AT Support Team Workshop webpage!  You need NOT have attended Part 1 to register for Part 2.  We look forward to seeing you in October!  

For additional information or if you have questions, contact Dr. Joshua Hawkins at Oklahoma ABLE Tech. 

AT Highlights

Assistive Technology (AT) can be used in a variety of ways, for a variety of purposes. It can support people in carrying out everyday tasks and activities, enhance their safety, support their social participation, monitor their health, and more. This month, we're featuring AT from the Learning, Cognition, and Development and Speech Communication categories. 

P.S. October is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Awareness Month!  AAC includes all the ways someone communicates besides talking. Oklahoma ABLE Tech staff developed a handout with 9 tips for implementing AAC. Download your own copy and spread AAC awareness! 

Oklahoma ABLE Tech's Short-Term Device Loan inventory offers almost 5,000 devices in many AT categories including hearing; speech communication; vision; learning cognition, and development; seating, positioning, and mobility; daily living; recreation, sports, and leisure; environmental adaptations; computer access; and vehicle modifications. Visit the Device Loan Program webpage to learn more. 

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
  • Jo Anne Blades, SERC Program Manager
  • 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
  • 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-Lucas, Speech-Language Pathologist Specialist
  • Stephanie Hesser, Financial Loan Program Specialist
  • Rob Keiter, SERC Program Coordinator
  • Angie Larison, SAS Accessibility Specialist
  • Lyssa Prince, Digital Accessibility Program Manager
  • Natalie Rohwer, Financial Loan Program Coordinator
  • Lindsey Romero-Kopenhagen, 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.