Summer 2022 Newsletter

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Partnering to Offer Students the BEST Summer Camp!

Building Employment Skills for Today (BEST) is a recurring weeklong summer camp facilitated by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) that provides targeted employment training to eligible high school students (ages 16-21) with disabilities. In June 2022, multiple camps were conducted around the state. 

For each camp, Oklahoma ABLE Tech partnered to provide a 20-minute informational video. This video shared how ABLE Tech can be a resource for the camp attendees as they complete their high school journey and as they enter post-high school life. ABLE Tech developed and shared a follow-up activity to reinforce how assistive technology can support the participants. Along with the informational video and activity, ABLE Tech provided an Adapted Playing Card Holder Make ‘n Take for each student attending the BEST camps (500 Card Holders). Gretchen Cole-Lade, ABLE Tech’s State Leadership Training Specialist, attended BEST camps in person at Oklahoma City, Stillwater, and Bartlesville to present the information shared in the video regarding ABLE Tech’s resources. Gretchen then led the follow up activity, guiding the participants in a discussion regarding how ABLE Tech can be a potential resource for the participants. ABLE Tech looks forward to continuing to support BEST camps in Summer 2023! 

AT Highlight: Obi Feeding Assistant

Obi Feeding Assistant demonstration photoObi is a revolutionary eating device for individuals with upper body extremity limitations and struggle with eating independently. The robotic arm spoons portions of food and brings it to your mouth to eat. Obi is intended to increase independence and confidence by providing a choice among four bowl compartments, with unique scoop guards, to aid in successful scooping of the food for eating. Obi is operated by a variety of accessibility switches – including a Sip-and-Puff switch. Almost any food can work with Obi as long as Obi is prepared correctly! Obi is intended for indoor use. This device involves both a user and a caregiver. The Obi has a collision detector safety feature, is reusable and dishwasher safe, and operates on a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery.

You can borrow this device and others on ABLE Tech’s Device Loan Program Inventory webpage.

Device Reutilization Program Implements New SMS Texting Service

The Device Reutilization Program has implemented a new Short Message Service (SMS) to provide texting communications that will streamline follow-up communications with consumers. This time-saving effort is exactly what the reutilization team needed to be more efficient in follow-ups and regular communications with clients served through the program. Once an individual has had a piece of equipment for approximately 6 weeks, the team reaches out via text message to ask:

  • how the equipment is working,
  • if assistance is needed to find a different piece of equipment, or
  • if no longer needed, how to schedule a time for unused items to be picked up

Program participants can also complete a success story right from their phones! The response rate has been incredible! Each week the reutilization team receives immediate responses from consumers, allowing the program to better serve individuals.

SMS texting can also be used to alert the reutilization team when someone has a piece of equipment to donate!

Text the word “DONATION” to 833-751-9128 and receive an automated message with the donation form link to complete. It’s as easy as that!

Financial Loan Program: Another Great Success Story!

Selfie of a man with dark hair and olive skin, wearing hearing aids and smirking at the cameraZeth is a minister in Tulsa who needed new hearing aids. He has been hard of hearing since the age of 2 and was hoping to have some help purchasing a new pair of hearing aids. His provider shared information about ABLE Tech’s Financial Loan Program and he was excited to get his loan approved! Zeth notes, “I am a minister and also interpret for the deaf…and these hearing aids I have on now are just an amazing device. I cannot thank ABLE Tech enough for their huge support and generous hearts!”

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

TechAccess Oklahoma 2022 Videos Released!

TechAccessOK logo

TechAccess Oklahoma 2022 was a great success! With over 500 people registered, this was our largest conference to date. We had 9 sessions, held virtually over Zoom. Once again, we had an amazing group of accessibility experts from around the U.S. and Canada. Thanks go out to Nic Steenhout, Chad Chelius, Gerard K. Cohen, Kaitlyn Hundt-Lippett, Eric Bailey, Shell Little, Stephy Hogan, Jessica Oddi, and Lucy Greco for bringing your expertise on topics ranging from Inclusive Design to ARIA!

Also, thank you once again to our sponsors, Oklahoma State Department of Education and Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. We couldn’t do this without you!

Be on the lookout for dates for next year, but in the meantime, you can watch our recordings from this year. We hope you enjoy them, and we hope to see you next year!

Click Here to View the 2022 TechAccess Oklahoma Video Playlist

SoonerStart News

A little boy with black hair, olive-toned skin, long eyelashes standing with a silver and black gait trainer. The boy is wearing a yellow shirt and gray pants, with brown flip-flops. He is holding onto the gait trainer with his right hand and pushing a red button with his left hand. An adult hand is holding two buttons that are red and yellow.Muskogee County Success Story  

Mateo is a happy, two-year-old boy with an infectious smile. Mateo was born with low vision and hydrocephalus, which is an abnormal build-up of fluid within the brain. These conditions made reaching his developmental milestones challenging. Before intervention he demonstrated difficulty exploring his environment, making choices, and expressing his needs. However, with the help of SoonerStart providers, his private physical therapist, and several items from ABLE Tech’s Assistive Technology (AT) Kit, Mateo is functioning more independently now.  

Assistive technology enables Mateo to better communicate his wants and needs. Mateo first mastered a BIGmack single-message switch; upgraded to two, single-message switches; and now is using multiple voice recordable LED switches to request items during playtime and mealtime.  

To enhance mobility, Mateo uses a gait trainer (see photo) to explore his environment and community. One of his favorite activities is opening and closing the kitchen cabinets while scooting around the house. We are very excited to see the progress Mateo is making using AT! 

Max, a young light-skinned boy with blond hair, strapped into his Seat 2 Go in his wagon, ready to go for a walk!Tulsa County Success Story

Max, a one-year-old resident of Tulsa County, was recently introduced to the Seat2Go (see photo) – an assistive device that provides postural support for children.  Max’s gross motor delays make sitting upright difficult.  The Seat2Go permits him to more fully participate in family and community activities. 

Max’s mom remarked, “This seat enabled Max to go on wagon rides with his brother…and sit on the patio with us.”  She continued, “We loved this seat.  It was the most secure at keeping Max safe in the wagon and while sitting on the floor.” 

Oklahoma ABLE Tech is proud to partner with SoonerStart as we serve Oklahomans with disabilities. 

Congratulations 4th Quarter Team Winner: 

The Muskogee County SoonerStart team has earned the 4th Quarter Recognition Award! The team will receive $500 in new AT to add to their demonstration kit! 

Congratulations to the Annual Team Winner: 

This year’s SoonerStart Annual Winner is the Tulsa County team. The team will receive an additional $800 in new AT for their outstanding work and contributions! 

ABLE Tech Welcomes New Staff

woman with strawberry blonde hair wearing an orange polka dot shirt and glasses smiling at the camera with her hand on her hipStephanie Hesser, Financial Loan Program Specialist

Stephanie Hesser comes to ABLE Tech as an addition to the Financial Lending team. She had served on Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation’s board of directors as Board President and when the opportunity came to become more involved with the lending team, she jumped at the chance.  Stephanie has enjoyed a long career helping others. Her experience ranges from creating affordable housing, working in a free medical clinic in Rwanda, and teaching history at a virtual school. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys quilting, making quilting how-to videos on YouTube, and crocheting. 

Dr. Joshua Hawkins, State Leadership Program Manager

man with salt-and-pepper hair and short beard wearing a grey polo shirt smiling at the camera with his hands in his pockets

Joshua Hawkins recently joined the Oklahoma ABLE Tech team as the new State Leadership Program Manager. He has eleven years of experience as a special education teacher and high school math teacher. Additionally, he has three years of experience as a site- and district-level administrator. For the past seven years, he served as the Special Education Program Coordinator at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
Josh’s experience in the classroom and as an administrator has prepared him to serve Oklahomans in this new capacity. He is excited to work with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and other state leaders and entities to further meet the educational and functional needs of individuals who would benefit from assistive technology or accessible educational materials. Josh enjoys good literature and music, diverse outdoor activities, and spending time with his wife, Heather, and their six children. He and his family live in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

bald man with a goatee and glasses wearing a grey suit jacket smiling at the camera with his hands in his pocketsBrent Greyson, Instructional Design & Accessibility Specialist 

Brent joined ABLE Tech in April 2022. In his role at ABLE Tech, he assists the ICT team with developing effective training designed to create new practitioners and advocates for digital accessibility. Brent has long advocated for digital accessibility through his previous work in scholarly publishing and librarianship. He received his MLIS from the University of Oklahoma in 2012 and his MEd in Instructional Design and Technology from Sam Houston State University in 2021. He also holds graduate certificates in effective online teaching, educational technology, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in education.

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
  • Developmental Disabilities Council of Oklahoma
    Oklahoma City, 405-212-7558
  • Handicapped Vehicle Services Unlimited Mobility
    Tulsa, 918.622.8400
  • Indian Nations Council of Governments,
    Area Agency on Aging
    Tulsa, 918.579.9477
  • Kiamichi Economic Development District of Oklahoma
    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
  • OSU – Dept. of Communication
    Sciences & Disorders
    Stillwater, 405.744.6021
  • SoonerStart
    Oklahoma City, 405.271.8333
  • Speech Pathway, LLC
    Oklahoma City, 405.652.9683
  • United Access Mobility
    Oklahoma City, 888.939.1010

OSU Department of Wellness – Oklahoma ABLE Tech 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
  • Gretchen Cole-Lade, State Leadership Training Specialist
  • Leslie Dady, Administrative Operations Specialist
  • Shannon Esmeyer, SERC Administrative Assistant
  • Shelley Gladden, Program Manager
  • Terri Harris, Senior Administrative Support Specialist
  • Josh Hawkins, State Leadership Program Manager
  • Averie Hinchey, Speech-Language Pathologist Specialist
  • Stephanie Hesser, Financial Loan Program Specialist
  • David Nelms, Device Reutilization Program Coordinator
  • Rob Keiter, Coordinator Special Education Resolution Center (SERC)
  • Lyssa Prince, ICT Accessibility Program Manager
  • Natalie Rohwer, Financial Loan Coordinator
  • Shelby Sanders, Assistive Technology Specialist
  • Brian Sargent, Reutilization Site Manager
  • Adam Thiel, ICT Accessibility Coordinator
  • Amy Woods, Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Kimberly Young, Reutilization Program Specialist
  • Michele Young, 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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