June 2023 Newsletter

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

Oklahoma’s Healthy Brain Initiative

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month! Check out the work the Oklahoma Healthy Brain Initiative Coalition is doing to improve care and resources for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Healthy Brain Initiative logo

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disease and is the most common type of dementia. This disease affects memory, behavior, and thinking. As the disease progresses, the symptoms become severe enough to interfere with activities of daily living. There are 10 warning signs and symptoms.

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with place or time
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood or personality

If you notice any of these, don't ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Oklahoma ABLE Tech has assistive technology (AT) devices to help with memory and communication tasks (and more)! ABLE Tech also assists individuals with disabilities, caregivers, and service providers with demonstrations and short-term loans of AT, helping them make informed choices when acquiring needed devices!

What is a Device Demonstration, Anyway?

Assistive technology (AT) device demonstrations allow individuals to compare the features and benefits of particular AT devices or to get recommendations from our AT specialists. Demonstrations also give you the ability to see, touch, and try multiple devices before you decide if a device is right for you! By working with ABLE Tech staff, you can get:

  • Hands-on exploration of devices
  • Information on the latest technology
  • Low-tech solutions and adaptations
  • Vendor sources with prices

Fill out our AT Consultation Form or contact the Oklahoma ABLE Tech Stillwater office at 800-257-1705 to get started with your AT journey!

Shelley talks to a group of students about the various Hearing AT on the table in front of them.

Assistive Technology Device Highlights - Learning, Cognition, and Development

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. June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, so we're featuring AT from the Learning, Cognition, and Development Category.

Click on the devices listed below to view their information in NATADS, our AT inventory database.

The Busy Board, Boogie Board, and LiveScribe Echo 2 devices are arranged on an office chair.

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/development, seating/positioning/mobility, daily living, recreation, environmental adaptations, computer access, and vehicle modifications. Visit the Device Loan Program webpage to learn more.

WCAG Cognitive Groups & Success Criteria / TechAccess OK 2023 Report

Digital Considerations for Cognitive Abilities

As robust as current accessibility standards are, there still aren't many guidelines for creating content that is easy for people with cognitive disabilities to understand. To help with this, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), has created the newest standards update: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2, which will have some good additions for testing cognitive accessibility! One of their recommendations is: "Use icons, symbols, terms, and design patterns that are already familiar to users so that they do not have to learn new ones." It seems easy, right? The fewer surprises you can give your audience, the better they can understand your content.

TechAccess Oklahoma 2023 Recap

The digital accessibility team hosted TechAccess Oklahoma 2023 virtually on April 18-20. We had around 180 attendees per session! If you were one of those attendees, we appreciate your participation. We had sessions on digital accessibility topics ranging from making small gains in accessibility to testing digital content for accessibility.

Thank you to our sponsors, the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Oklahoma State Department of Education. We appreciate your support!

SAVE THE DATE for TechAccess Oklahoma 2024, set for February 27-29. We will have options to attend in person or online! See you there!

AT/AEM Coordinated System Update

On May 3, representatives from various agencies and organizations met at the Oliver Hodge building in Oklahoma City to discuss and coordinate services related to Assistive Technology (AT) and Accessible Educational Materials (AEM). The following agencies and organizations were present: Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped/Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) Center, Oklahoma School for the Blind (OSB), Oklahoma CareerTech, SoonerStart, Liberty Braille, Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma, and Oklahoma ABLE Tech.

Each agency gave an update and provided input on items discussed—such as new AEM resources, furthering collaborative efforts, and future initiatives. Allyson Robinson, the Director of Oklahoma ABLE Tech at Oklahoma State University, facilitated the meeting. She commented, “The team has a renewed sense of collaboration that will benefit all Oklahomans.”

Oklahoma ABLE Tech partners with agencies and organizations across Oklahoma to improve our programs' breadth and ultimate effectiveness. We are grateful to our partners for helping us to make life more accessible for Oklahomans of all ages and abilities.

Partner Highlight - Norman Regional Rehab Services

Norman Regional Rehab Services logo

The Norman Regional Health System offers outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services through a highly skilled team that is dedicated to helping patients improve movement, reduce pain, restore function, prevent disability, and contribute to improved quality of life.

Norman Regional Rehab Services is now a Device Demonstration partner! Visit their Core Program Partnership webpage for their contact information

SERC Update - New Training Available!

The Special Education Resolution Center (SERC) has developed a new training designed to help school districts develop in-house facilitators to support the work of local Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams, and others, who engage in collaborative conversations when the stakes are high.

To help special education planning teams reach agreements, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) currently provides the option of Facilitated Individualized Education Program (FIEP) meetings. The use of this resource is growing in Oklahoma and nationally. When this shared work is challenging and the relationship between families and schools is strained, the use of a specially trained facilitator may be beneficial.

SERC, in partnership with OSDE, offers IEP facilitation to schools and families at no charge. The school or family can request a facilitator, and both must agree to the use of this resource. Highly experienced third-party facilitators contracted with SERC serve in this role when requested. While this statewide resource will continue to be available in Oklahoma, SERC will soon be providing new training designed to help districts develop in-house facilitators to support the work of local IEP teams and other collaborative conversations.

At the meeting, the facilitator will model and support communication skills and strategies that create an environment in which the IEP team members can listen to each member’s point of view and work together to develop a high-quality IEP.

Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) requires collaboration and communication between families, educators, other professionals, and community resources. This is also true of the more extensive system of education. The effectiveness of this shared work is often enhanced when supported by a skilled facilitator. This training is designed to build local capacity to support effective collaboration in the service of children and youth.

The Wednesday, June 21 Wisdom Wednesday Webinar will introduce this new training.

ORC Update - 2023 Transition Folders Now Available

The Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC), the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), and the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) partnered again to bring you the 2023 Transition Folders. There are three different folders available in English or Spanish:

  • Elementary School
  • Middle School
  • High School

Each folder has a list of specific resources that will help students, guardians, parents, and teachers navigate the transition process.

To order printed copies, please email Renee Sansom Briscoe at rsansom@okdrs.gov.

Help Through the Looking Glass Gather Data

Through the Looking Glass in Berkeley, CA, is asking assistive technology (AT) specialists and rehabilitation engineers to complete a survey as part of a NIDILRR-funded Field Initiated Project “Increasing Adaptive Babycare Resources and Intervention Supports with Parents and Caregivers with Physical or Vision Disabilities.” Knowledge gained from these surveys will be used to 1) enhance web-based resources on services and equipment to support parenting and 2) improve online resources and other educational materials for professionals. 

Rehabilitation engineers and AT professionals who have provided any assessment or intervention services to adults with physical or vision disabilities are eligible to participate. The survey should take 10-15 minutes to complete.  Fill out the online survey!

To learn more about Through the Looking Glass, visit their website.

Success Story - Durable Medical Equipment Purchased Through iFund Grant

Austin, Sally, and Kim smile at the camera as the stand in the Reutilization office in OKC.

Sally of Edmond needed equipment to help her prepare for hip surgery. With help from the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation and Oklahoma City Community Foundation and its Services for the Elderly iFund grant program, ABLE Tech’s Reutilization Program provided Sally with several pieces of equipment. This included a wrist blood pressure monitor, grab bars, compression socks, a foam positioning wedge, a handheld magnifier, and a raised toilet seat.

After receiving these items, Sally wrote “I am so grateful for you all and your service to humanity. You have been absolutely available to me with your advice, equipment, and excellent service. You have made it possible for me to stay in my home and function independently after my hip surgery and probably more in my future.”

The iFund grant program is available to help serve individuals 65 and older in Oklahoma, Cleveland, and Canadian Counties who are in need of durable medical equipment (DME). To learn more or to see if you qualify, call the Oklahoma ABLE Tech Device Reutilization Program at 405-967-6010.

Do you need help purchasing needed assistive technology or DME? Reach out to Natalie Rohwer and her Financial Loan Program for information about statewide resources, including the iFund grant.

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
  • 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-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
  • 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.