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In this issue:
Just as the physical world of buildings and facilities can pose barriers to individuals with disabilities, the virtual environment of information and communication technology (ICT) can pose many barriers to individuals with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination of people with disabilities and requires standards to provide for accessible architecture and programs. In 2001, federal standards were adopted as part of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act to improve the accessibility of ICT. ICT includes computers, telephone equipment, multimedia, distance learning systems, soft ware, and websites. The federal 508 standards are now outdated, and the federal Access Board is due to release an updated set of standards within the next two years which will result in an update for Oklahoma’s standards. The 2010 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments and consumer complaints regarding inaccessible information communication technology in government and private business has resulted in a resurgence of interest in ICT accessibility compliance. Oklahoma ABLE Tech’s is providing targeted training and technical assistance program to assist Oklahoma’s Higher Education Institutions to increase the accessibility and legal compliance of their institutional
websites. Through a partnership with WebAIM and the Southwest ADA Center, the program will survey institutions of higher education’s websites for compliance to future ICT standards.
WebAIM and OK ABLE Tech will then provide analysis and prepare individual reports to the institutions. The reports will compare current web accessibility to future WCAG 2.0 standards. In October, WebAIM and Oklahoma ABLE Tech will train stakeholders (administration and developers) at a two-day meeting to provide the specific tools, techniques, and resources needed to promote and develop an accessible web presence. Over a multi-year process, institutions will be guided through a multi-modal approach to develop a detailed plan of action resulting in improved web accessibility and compliance to the revised standards. For more information please contact Oklahoma ABLE Tech or visit okabletech.okstate.edu/wahep.
ABLE Tech, in conjunction with the Pass It On Center and the other Assistive Technology Act states in FEMA Region VI (New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas) met in Houston, TX on May 1 and 2 to address the role of reused assistive technology in emergency management. Assistive technology – ramps, wheelchairs, amplified phones, computers that speak, etc, - is vital to the independence of people with functional needs. Speakers included key national and regional leaders in emergency management, assistive technology, and services for people with functional needs. Marci Roth, Senior Advisory, Disability Issues for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was the keynote speaker. Linda Landers, FEMA Region VI Disability Coordinator along with Lex Frieden, SW ADA Center Executive Director also provided information pertaining to lessons learned from past disasters and people with disabilities. Panels comprised of experts in the fields of disability and emergency preparedness shared experiences related to water and weather disasters, nuclear incidents and toxic spills. Information was presented on intrastate, interstate and regional support agreements as well as state specific planning for future disasters. The Pass It On Center is the national technical assistance center for device re-utilization out of Atlanta, GA. The facilitators, Carolyn Phillips, Center Director, and Joy Kniskern, AT Services Manager, have traveled throughout the US to guide these efforts. They led the group discussion and shared the national perspective.
Oklahoma was represented by a team of ten individuals from disability and emergency preparedness backgrounds in order to better learn how to partner and respond to the AT needs of people with disabilities in emergencies or disasters. The goals of the meeting were:
• To define the role of reusable assistive technology (including, but not limited to, durable medical equipment) in disaster planning, response, recovery and mitigation for people with functional needs.
• To improve individual and agency emergency planning that addresses access to assistive technology devices and services.
• To identify the infrastructure needed to develop and implement a rapid response system for delivering assistive technology devices and services to meet the needs of people with functional needs affected by disaster.
• For each participating state to develop a sustainable network for addressing the AT needs of people in disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation, and to develop achievable action steps for participants and other key entities to meet these goals.
Efforts will now continue as those in attendance from Oklahoma will regularly meet and determine how to best infuse AT/DME into Oklahoma’s Functional Needs Support Services handbook utilized by all county emergency managers. This committee welcomes others and encourages you to contact ABLE Tech if you are interested in participating.
Oklahoma ABLE Tech’s inventory is always being updated! We recently added a new Vantage Lite, the communication powerhouse for people on the go. The Vantage has a strong core vocabulary, and is an excellent starting place for the child or adult beginning augmentative communication. Call today to try the device through our short-term loan program!
Oklahoma ABLE Tech is proud to announce that the Tulsa County SoonerStart Team were the winners of the quarterly incentive challenge. For their efforts, they will receive $800 of new AT for their kits! ABLE Tech partnered with SoonerStart to provide kits of Assistive Technology, for SoonerStart professionals to demo to the population they serve. SoonerStart, Oklahoma’s early intervention program, is designed to meet the needs of infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays. SoonerStart services may include: diagnostic and evaluation services; case management; family training, counseling and home visits; certain health services; nursing services; nutrition services; occupational, physical and speech language therapy; and special instruction. Infants and toddlers through 36 months of age who have developmental delays or have a physical or mental condition which will most likely cause a delay are eligible for the program. Services are provided at no charge to families, and is funded through various state and federal resources. SoonerStart services may be provided in the child’s home or daycare, and could extend to other settings within the community.
Assistive Technology can provide exciting devices especially for children to help them learn and develop. With AT, children with special needs have the opportunity to: see and hear better, be mobile and play, learn and communicate, participate in everyday activities, and be more independent. For more information on this program, contact Oklahoma ABLE Tech.
native, who has Dyslexia and Amblyopia recently borrowed an iPad through the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Center (OATC). During an AT consultation, OATC suggested several technologies that could help Wyatt enjoy reading, among these suggestions was the iPad. For the first time in his life Wyatt enjoys reading, and now can be fully engrossed in a story. Through the use of the iPad, he can kick back and experience the pleasure of the story, without the struggler, concurrent behaviors, or feelings of failure he generally experienced when he was expected to read. The iPad allows him to change the overlay settings, and through the use of iPad Apps such as Webster’s Dictionary, he has access to words he cannot spell. He uses Dragon Dictation to produce sentences that he needs to write down, and he is able to recognize when the App does not exactly produce what he says. As a result of his consultation, Wyatt also was recently granted a membership with Bookshare. Bookshare is a program that provides free digital books for students who have qualifying print disabilities. Wyatt can now access this online library to download books with the iPad App Read 2 Go. Read 2 Go is the most accessible e-book reader and can be used with the iPad, iPod Touch, or the iPhone. For individuals interested in obtaining more information on the ABLE Tech short-term loan program or looking to find more information to help a student with a print disability, contact us today! Our dedicated loan support staff can provide an AT consultation and additional resources to help you get started!
The Special Education Resolution Center (SERC) works collaboratively with the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) to help parents and school districts resolve disputes regarding the special education of students. Through innovative programs, SERC assists parties to resolve their differences at the earliest stage possible during disagreement. SERC provides highly trained mediators to assist the parties in coming to agreement.In those instances where the parties are unable to resolve their dispute, SERC provides a fair and impartial hearing system. Fair, impartial and knowledgeable hearing officers conduct administrative hearings to settle the differences of the parties in a timely manner. These processes are in place so that Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment will be available to Oklahoma children. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the Consortium of Appropriate Dispute Resolution (CADRE) have identified Oklahoma as one of four exemplar alternative dispute resolution programs in the United States. Visit http://serc.okstate.edu for more information.
ABLE Tech recently welcomed Shelley Gladden as the new AFP Loan Coordinator. Gladden has spent her career working with individuals with disabilities in long term care and assisted living facilities. She is actively involved in the Stillwater community as a member of the Stillwater Noon Lions, and she facilitates a Dementia Caregiver Support Group. She graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1994 with a B.S. in Leisure Management with emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation. She currently resides in Stillwater with her husband and son.