March 2023 Newsletter

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

Happy National Assistive Technology Awareness Day!

Oklahoma ABLE Tech branded graphic for National AT Day. Illustrations are a waving young girl using a walker, a young boy in a green wheelchair, and a waving teenager wearing a backpack.On March 1, the U.S. Senate will pass a resolution to shed important light and celebrate National Assistive Technology (AT) Awareness Day. The day honors people with disabilities who require AT to access their education, workplace, community, and recreational activities.
 
The day also recognizes the leadership of the Assistive Technology Act programs whose teams strive to help millions of individuals acquire low-cost and often no-cost AT in all 50 states and Territories.
 
Join us in celebrating #ATAwarenessDay!

ABLE Tech Federal Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Report

Every year ABLE Tech works to enhance assistive technology (AT) services for people with disabilities in the state of Oklahoma. In federal fiscal year (FFY22), ABLE Tech received $493,519 from the Administration for Community Living of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help Oklahomans access and acquire needed AT as well as provide training, technical assistance, public awareness, and information and assistance to those in need. These funds coupled with $1.27 million in leveraged dollars resulted in savings and benefits to Oklahomans for a total of $3.4 million! Over 34,000 individuals participated in ABLE Tech’s programs and services.

Read the whole FFY22 Annual Report.

Assistive Technology Device Highlights

Assistive Technology (AT) can be used in a variety of ways, and 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 Computer Access category.

The four listed Computer Access AT highlights arranged in the ABLE Tech Device Demonstration room.

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

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.

Financial Loan Program Success Story

Sienna sits in her silver and pink wheelchair on the lift, ready to be loaded into her family’s white, wheelchair-accessible vehicle.Calyssa, from Binger, was looking for an affordable loan to purchase a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. She struggled to get her daughter Sienna, who has cerebral palsy, in and out of her existing vehicle. The ABLE Tech Financial Loan Program helped Calyssa purchase a van that allows her to continue to take Sienna and her siblings to parks, school, and appointments safely.

Calyssa said, “No one else would finance this vehicle at a reasonable rate. I am forever grateful for this life-changing program.” 

The ABLE Tech Financial Loan Program’s low, 5% interest rate can help to make needed assistive technology purchases affordable. To apply for a loan, go to the ABLE Tech Financial Loan webpage or visit the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation’s (OkAT) website.

Preparing Educators for AEM and Textbook Orders

“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.”

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.

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.

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.

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 (joshua.hawkins@okstate.edu) for assistance.

How Do You Know if a Textbook is Accessible?

If you aren’t quite sure if the textbook publisher or provider you’re looking into produces accessible content, follow these suggestions:

  1. Ask if the publisher has a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template). If they don’t have a VPAT, this is likely an automatic sign that their materials aren’t accessible. If you need some assistance understanding a VPAT, contact ABLE Tech at a11y@okstate.edu or read this resource from the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials, titled Understanding the VPAT.
  2. Check the publisher’s website for accessibility statements. A publisher that has focused on accessibility will most likely have an accessibility statement prominently displayed on their home page or in their footer. Their website will also be accessible. You can do a quick test of the website’s accessibility by placing your cursor in the address bar of your browser, then hitting the TAB key. If you’re able to see where you are on the page while tabbing, and you can access everything on the page in the correct order, then this site may be accessible. You can also run the WAVE tool to see how many accessibility errors the site has.
  3. Test the textbook yourself! Download a sample textbook and use the same TAB concept listed in the previous list item. You can also use a screen reader to listen to the book. NVDAis a free option, as are Narrator on Windows and Voiceover on Mac. Deque University offers excellent screen reader shortcut guides that can help you get started. Using the screen reader, see if the images, heading structure, and math or STEM content are announced. If so, this textbook should be accessible.

Please contact ABLE Tech’s Digital Accessibility Team at abt.a11y@okstate.edu if you have any questions!

Special Education Resolution Center (SERC) Training Module: What Does the Law Have to Do With It?

Logo - Special Education Resolution Center

Understanding the Letter and Intent of Partnering with Families through Federal Laws

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) can be overwhelming and challenging to understand and interpret when it comes to family involvement. This module provides a deeper look at understanding the research behind the importance of family-professional partnerships, and how these partnerships are best translated into practice. Both the letter and intent of federal education laws will be described in a clear and understandable way for families and professionals to develop a set of shared expectations for this intended partnership.

Watch the module on YouTube.

For more information about SERC, visit their website!

In-Person Training Opportunity - Empowering Voices: Effective AAC Evaluations

Join our Speech Pathologist, Averie Hinchey, for an in-person augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) assessment workshop on April 15, 2023! Space is limited, so registrants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Participants will learn the process for conducting an effective AAC evaluation/assessment using the SETT Framework and feature matching. Additionally, the course includes information about report writing and funding options as well as hands-on experience with speech communication assistive technology. Prerequisites: none

Visit the workshop webpage to learn more.

Event graphic. Empowering Voices: Effective AAC Evaluations. April 15, 2023. 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. Stillwater, Oklahoma. Illustration of a young child using an AAC device to say "hi."

New Program Partner - Oklahoma State University Esports Arena

close-up view of one of the Esports desktops, with a video game on the screen. They keyboard and mouse have orange lights. The OSU Esports Arena is located at the heart of campus in the historic Oklahoma State University Student Union. OSU students, staff, faculty, alumni, and guests are welcome to engage in the wide variety of gaming options available. The 1690-square-foot space features 46 top-of-the-line Alienware computers, gaming gear, SecretLab Titan gaming chairs, and a live-stream broadcasting station.

The OSU Esports Arena is now a Device Demonstration Program partner for the following AT categories: Learning, Cognition and Development; Recreation, Sports, and Leisure; and Computer Access.

For more information about the OSU Esports arena, visit their website!

The Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council is a Proud Sponsor of People With Disabilities Awareness Day!

Logo - Oklahoma Rehabilitation CouncilORC is proud to support the 2023 People with Disabilities Awareness Day (PWDAD) event. This year’s event will be held March 7, 2023, from noon to 4 pm, at the Oklahoma History Center.

Visit the PWDAD website for additional information about the event and the registration link.

Plan to visit the Oklahoma History Center’s exhibits! This year the doors to the exhibits will be wide open.  ORC will be paying all attendee entrance fees!

If you have any questions or need help registering, please call (405) 951-3478 or email, cmartin@okdrs.gov

For more information about ORC, visit their website.

Catch ABLE Tech at the Del City Better With Age Fun Day!

This event is geared toward seniors looking for a fun activity, while also exploring resources available to them!

Thursday, March 23, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
City of Del City Community Center
4505 SE 15th Street, Del City, OK 73115

Visit the ABLE Tech booth at the Del City Better with Age Fun Day to schedule an AT or durable medical equipment (DME) pick-up.

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
    Tulsa, 918-392-5009
  • 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
  • Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services
    Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired

    Oklahoma City, 405-951-3400
  • OSU – Department of Communication
    Sciences & Disorders
    Stillwater, 405-744-6021
  • OSU - Esports Arena
    Stillwater, 405-744-5173
  • OSU - University Counseling Services
    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, Chief Wellness Officer/Director, OSU Department of Wellness
  • Allyson Robinson, 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 Program 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.

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Upcoming Events

Feb
27
Tue
2024
all-day TechAccess Oklahoma 2024 @ Rose State College
TechAccess Oklahoma 2024 @ Rose State College
Feb 27 – Feb 29 all-day
Oklahoma ABLE Tech is excited to invite you to our digital accessibility conference, TechAccess Oklahoma! The conference will…
Mar
2
Sat
2024
9:00 am Empowering Voices: Effective AAC... @ Soaring on Hope
Empowering Voices: Effective AAC... @ Soaring on Hope
Mar 2 @ 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Empowering Voices: Effective AAC Evaluations March 2024 @ Soaring on Hope
The Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) workshop on effective AAC evaluations is designed for speech therapists, educators, and…
Mar
28
Thu
2024
8:00 am AT Support Team Workshop Part 3 ...
AT Support Team Workshop Part 3 ...
Mar 28 @ 8:00 am – 10:30 am
Participants will learn how to write AT in the IEP, summarize the AT Implementation process, compare and contrast…
Apr
6
Sat
2024
9:00 am Empowering Voices: Effective AAC... @ Oklahoma ABLE Tech
Empowering Voices: Effective AAC... @ Oklahoma ABLE Tech
Apr 6 @ 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Empowering Voices: Effective AAC Evaluations April 2024 @ Oklahoma ABLE Tech
The Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) workshop on effective AAC evaluations is designed for speech therapists, educators, and…