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Assistive Technology Small Changes... Big Differences
Spring 2016, Issue 2, Volume 16
CATADA, The Center for Assistive Technology Act Data Assistance produces an annual summary of data highlights for all AT Programs. Recently, CATADA published 2015 AT data.
Once again, as shown by the graphic below, Oklahoma ABLE Tech ranks as a high-performing state Assistive Technology Act Program. To view the full report, go to:
The Consortium of Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Education (CADRE) provides technical assistance to all states and territories in the United States in special education dispute resolution on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. This year, CADRE will be organizing a group of two to three states, along with their designated parent centers, to work on designing high quality information that can be distributed to families about dispute resolution options. The states chosen, and the work completed, will serve as a national example of what can be accomplished when state programs work positively with parent centers. The Special Education Resolution Center (SERC), already designated by CADRE as one of four exemplar programs in the country, has been invited to participate in this work-study group. SERC and the Oklahoma Parent Center were one of the three state groups chosen because the working relationship is an outstanding model for all other states and territories. Oklahoma will also be working with representatives from the states of Utah and Pennsylvania.
This SoonerStart team will receive new assistive technology (AT) to include in their county kit. Infants and toddlers under 3 years old and their families will be able to receive demonstrations of the new AT items. These services help families determine appropriate accommodations for children and decide whether or not they need AT.
This SoonerStart team introduced a toddler to the “Taylor Bar.” This distracted the little boy from rolling to his back to scoot across the room. He stays on his tummy now and belly crawls across the room. The parent was so pleased with the outcome of the device, that she shared the “Taylor Bar” website with other parents in a support group on Facebook.
Public school students who use braille can expect to begin completing state assessments in Unified English Braille (UEB) beginning in the 2019-20 school year under a plan recently approved by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. UEB is a revision and extension of English Braille American Edition (EBAE) which is currently used. UEB includes new symbols, eliminates some current contractions, and is designed to better incorporate future changes.
The Oklahoma UEB Transition Plan (PDF or Word versions) was developed by the Oklahoma UEB Committee, which included representatives of ABLE Tech, the AIM Center at the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Liberty Braille, Oklahoma School for the Blind, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, Select Teachers of the Visually Impaired, and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
The Plan includes a timeline for schools to acquire materials in UEB, for educators to learn the differences between UEB and EBAE, and to provide student instruction in the new code for two years before being tested using the new code. Teachers of the Visually Impaired and transcribers are expected to complete a UEB transition course before school starts next fall. There are several online courses available; some free and some for a fee. Find online courses at http://brailleauthority.org/ueb.html#learn
The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) officially adopted UEB code in 2012, with an implementation goal of 2016. The mission of BANA is to assure literacy for tactile readers through the standardization of braille and/or tactile graphics, and promote and facilitate the uses, teaching, and production of braille. BANA makes interpretations and renders opinions pertaining to braille codes and guidelines in North America. BANA and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) have provided guidance to states in determining an implementation schedule.
If you are an Oklahoman you take tornadoes seriously and take precautions to survive storms that occur. Did you know according to the OSDH, Center for Health Statistics, 10 times more people die, on average, every year in home fires than from tornadoes in Oklahoma? Yet, do we take the simple precautions that are readily available to us to be alerted to a fire in our home so we can get out?
For the third consecutive year, the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT) has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to install smoke alarms and specialized alert equipment in the homes of Oklahomans with disabilities. This equipment alerts the consumer and gives them as much time as possible to escape a fire in their home.
This year’s grant provides this life saving equipment for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or have low vision or use a mobility device. Trained professional installers from grant partners: Oklahoma ABLE Tech, Fire Protection Publications, and Fire Service Training (all at Oklahoma State University), install the equipment for the consumer by appointment. Doing this provides customers valuable fire prevention education to help them with fire safety in their homes.
Assistant Director Nancy Trench at Fire Protection Publications said, “We are fortunate that we are able to provide this equipment to alert individuals with disabilities and give them as much time as possible to escape a home fire. The education we give these individuals teaches them how to prevent fires from happening.”
These grant partners have a long history of saving lives by installing smoke alarms and specialized alert devices through past grants. Direct feedback from Oklahomans who have received this equipment has documented 18 “saves” from grant projects.
“We want every Oklahoman to know what to do in the event of a fire. This grant allows us to follow our mission of providing the resources for Oklahomans with disabilities to maintain the greatest independence in their environment,” commented Linda Jaco, Director of ABLE Tech.
There is no cost to the consumer for the equipment or the installation. Time is limited and equipment is available while supplies last.
Applications and information is available at www.okabletech.okstate.edu or by calling ABLE Tech (888-885-5588). To qualify applicants need to have a professional attest to their disability.
Suzanne Thompson, (age 53 from Norman) received a Rollator Walker from OKDMERP. The walker she was previously using was defective and caused several problems that affected her daily life. Suzanne was so excited to receive her new walker. “The Rollator Walker I got from the program is like heaven on wheels,” she said. OKDMERP helps Oklahomans like Suzanne everyday.
Oklahoma ABLE Tech and its partners operate assistive technology device demonstration and short-term loan programs to increase access to assistive technology. Inventory is available and searchable online, and individuals may borrow devices for up to six weeks at no cost.
Search our online inventory! Over 2,000 Devices Available at http://oec.okstate.edu/loan
Oklahoma ABLE Tech
Hearing Loss Association of Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City, 405.717.9820
The Children's Center
Oklahoma City and Tulsa, 855.811.9699
Oklahoma State University Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Total Source for Hearing-loss and Access
Department of Rehabilitation Services
Visual Services Center Division
Oklahoma City and Tulsa, 800.845.8476
Pathways Therapy Center
John W. Keys Speech and Hearing Center
Oklahoma City, 405.271.4214
In the Built Environment
Accessibility begins in parking lots. Make sure that accessible parking spaces are marked with a sign that is mounted above the ground. The Americans with Disabilities Act says that signs should be at least 60 inches above the ground, measured to the bottom of the sign. This will ensure that people driving in tall vehicles have an easier time identifying the accessible parking spaces.
If there is an image in a web page, Word document or PDF file, there needs to be a way people who cannot see the message can still understand the meaning the image conveys. Every authoring tool has a way to attach alternative text to an image. Most of the time it is just a click or two away. Assistive technology reads alternative text so people who cannot see the screen can perceive it. If a document has meaningful images like pictures, charts or graphs, then be sure
to add meaningful alternative text.
• Read more on alternative text from WebAIM (http://webaim.org/techniques/alttext/)
• Read how to add alternative text to Microsoft Office files (https://goo.gl/acn28m)
• Read how to add alternative text to Adobe PDF files using Acrobat Professional (http://goo.gl/0y5LzZ)
The Oklahoma Equipment Exchange (OEE) is a FREE program to help Oklahomans with disabilities acquire affordable equipment. To donate, sell, or locate equipment, visit our website or call us at 888.885.5588 (v/tty).
Here is a quick preview of items you can find online at the exchange!
• Disposable diapers & underpads, several types and sizes
• Lap tray for wheelchair user
• Sitz bath
• Toilet seats and risers
• VPAPs with H5i humidifier
• Several wheelchair cushions
• Several manual electric wheelchairs
• Hospital beds
In Oklahoma City, you may call the Oklahoma Durable Medical Equipment Reuse Program (OKDMERP) at 405.523.4810 for FREE durable medical equipment such as canes, scooters, and hospital beds. Donations are always needed for items such as: wheelchairs, commodes, and walkers.
AccessU Conference, Austin, TX
OPC Annual Conference, Reed Center, Midwest City
Oklahoma Parents Center Behavior Conference, Owasso
OSDE AT Boot Camp, Boy Scouts of America, OKC
OSU Department of Wellness
1514 W. Hall of Fame
Stillwater, OK 74078
Ph: 405.744.9748 or 888.885.5588 (V/TTY)
Kirk Wimberly, Interim Director, OSU Department of Wellness
Oklahoma ABLE Tech
• Linda Jaco, Associate Director for Sponsored Programs
• Brenda Dawes, Program Manager
• Milissa Gofourth, Program Manager
• Kimberly Berry, AT Teacher
• Rob Carr, Accessibility Coordinator
• Shelley Gladden, Loan Coordinator
• Tammie Honeyman, Sponsored Programs Administrative Associate
• Lynda Halley, Marketing Coordinator
• Allyson Robinson, SLP, AT Specialist
• Dina Anderson, Occupational Therapist Specialist
• Shelby Sanders, AT Specialist
• Diana Sargent, Senior Administration Support Specialist
• Lisa Croston, Sponsored Programs Coordinator
• Jo Anne Pool Blades, SERC Program Manager
• Shannon Esmeyer, SERC Administrative Assistant
• Katie Woodward, OKDMERP Program Manager
• Brian Sargent, OKDMERP Site Coordinator
• Haley George, OKDMERP/ORC Administrative Assistant