Public Invited to Disability Program Hearings
Proposed rule changes potentially affecting several programs for Oklahomans with disabilities will be the focus of a public hearing held by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council.
The public is encouraged to attend the meetings, which will be held in Oklahoma City on Feb. 3, Tulsa on Feb. 4 and Lawton on Feb. 5.
Programs affected by the proposed new rules are administered by DRS and include vocational rehabilitation and employment services for Oklahomans with all types of disabilities.
DRS provides a variety of services that help individuals with disabilities achieve employment, personal independence and self-sufficiency. The Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council advises DRS on development of policies and plans for rehabilitation services.
The Majority of changes throughout involve the name changes associated with the Office of State Finance becoming Office of Management and Enterprise Services and the related integration of other agencies into OMES. Changes to Chapter 10 are to demonstrate that some determinations by DRS are not subject to the Fair Hearing Process and updating procedures for Special Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Due to state and federal audits, minor changes to the Business Enterprise policies section, Chapter 25, must be made.
The public is invited to comment on proposed rule changes.
— View the policies with proposed changes
Oklahoma School for the Blind hosts Cane Quest
Muskogee, Okla. – The Oklahoma School for the Blind will pilot an orientation and mobility challenge for students with visual impairments who use a cane to navigate their surroundings. On Oct 28, 2013, from noon to 4 pm at OSB, 3300 Gibson St., Muskogee, OK 74403 teams of students will travel through 13 stations and demonstrate orientation and mobility skills.
“The purpose of this event is to provide a personal challenge for students to learn where they excel and where they need to grow,” Sherry Holder, OSB Outreach Coordinator and Cane Quest organizer, said.
Teams will consist of one volunteer and one visually impaired student. Teams earn coins based on how well they demonstrate each orientation and mobility skill as they travel through each station.
Cane Quest, a national program of the Braille Institute, is open to third to 12th grade students who are legally blind and who have received appropriate instruction in the use of the white cane. Students must be physically able to walk independently for an hour at a time.
—More OSB Cane Quest article
Agency celebrates national employment awareness month by helping Oklahomans with disabilities go to work
Jason Price manages an innovative return to work program for the Department of Rehabilitation Services that saved taxpayers $47.09 million in between 2009 and 2012.
OKLAHOMA CITY –The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October with job preparation and employment services that last year helped 3,106 Oklahomans with disabilities become taxpaying employees.
“When this happens, these Oklahomans reduce or eliminate the need for disability benefits and social services,” DRS Executive Director Joe Cordova said. “They have significantly more income to spend in their own communities and the freedom to be more independent and self-sufficient.”
In federal fiscal year 2012, DRS’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services staff provided 16,562 clients with career counseling, vocational education and training, special technology, job placement and medical services to improve their employment opportunities in the near future.
The agency’s innovative return to work program dramatically accelerates the number of former recipients of Social Security disability benefits who become taxpayers in Oklahoma. Between 2009 and 2012, DRS staff helped 435 Oklahoman get off Social Security disability benefits, saving taxpayers saved an estimated $47.09 million because of disability checks that will not be paid over the working life of these individuals.
Jason Price manages the several DRS innovative program that help Oklahomans clients start their first jobs or return to work. A former client himself, Price was born with cerebral palsy. He recognizes the commitment of Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services counselors across the state who “help clients assess their potential and find the jobs they need to succeed.”
—More Disability Employment Month article
Students learn what to expect from the future at OSB’s Future Shock
In past years, Audrey Farnum came to OSB’s Future Shock to talk with the students about life after high school when you have a visual disability. Audrey is a practicing lawyer for the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
Muskogee, Okla. — The Oklahoma School for the Blind Parent Teacher Organization and the Oklahoma School for the Blind will host the tenth annual Future Shock Career Day from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., November 7, 2013 at the OSB campus, 3300 Gibson Street, Muskogee, OK. Students who are blind or visually impaired from every school district in the state are encouraged to attend Future Shock, a free career day specifically designed for these students.
“We target a specific group of students and offer a different approach to informing these young adults about the career opportunities that are available to them,” Linda Graber, PTO president, said.
This one of a kind educational experience is designed for the blind and visually impaired students across the state of Oklahoma, their families, teachers of the visually impaired and other interested individuals.
“Any student who has a visual disability in the state can attend Future Shock. One unique feature is that the majority of our speakers are blind and visually impaired,” Graber said. “The speakers have achieved the success and independence the students at OSB hope to do in their lives as well. They can share their real world experiences – good and bad – on a level that students can relate to.”
—More OSB Future Shock article