Disability agency serving 3,424 jobseekers transferred from waiting lists since January 1

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Department of Rehabilitation Services has transferred 3,424 job seekers with significant disabilities from waiting lists to active caseloads since January 1.

DRS’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services staff began providing career planning and employments services to 505 new clients in the most recent group moved from waiting lists on November 7.

In 2017, VR and VS staff helped 2,014 clients successfully prepare for and find employment and served 11,765 Oklahomans with disabilities working towards that goal. The new taxpayers earned an average of $22,212 per year and paid $3,332 in average taxes, while reducing or eliminating dependence on disability benefits and government services.

DRS’ waiting lists have been in place since March 13, 2017, due to prior year revenue reductions.

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Ada native wants to put training, technology to work

ADA, Okla. – Donald Gore only missed six days in the fourteen years he worked at Folger’s Drive-In in Ada.

“I like to work and be on time,” Gore said. “It’s no fun to stay around the house and be bored.”

Problems with increasing vision and hearing loss led Gore to seek help from Roy Alexander, a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the Chickasaw Nation.

Gore, who has Usher Syndrome, is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

The genetic condition combines hearing loss with retinitis pigmentosa, resulting in progressive loss of side vision due to degeneration of the retina.

Usher syndrome is the most common condition that affects both hearing and vision loss.

Alexander introduced Gore to Gayle Lee, a vocational rehabilitation counselor for Visual Services, which is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Alexander and Lee turned to a team of Visual Services experts to help Gore learn new skills and use technology to re-enter the workforce.

Lee contacted Visual Services’ specialists on deaf-blindness Jeri Cooper and Stephanie Butler. Cooper, a rehabilitation teacher who is deaf-blind herself, travels the state to help clients with vision and hearing loss. Stephanie Butler became Gore’s new vocational rehabilitation counselor due to her expertise in deaf-blindness.

Liz Scheffe helped him improve orientation and mobility skills so he could travel safely and efficiently in the community.

Sharon Shipe provided more rehabilitation teaching training to help Gore adjust to loss of vision and develop practical skills.

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New Deaf/Hard of Hearing Car Visors in Oklahoma

Look whats new! Car visors for police interaction!! DRS partnered with OAD and also DGMU-Ok last fall to create these. These will replace the current visors. 

These for Oklahoma residents, can be picked up at DRS Deaf Services in OKC and Tulsa. We thank DRS, for including us in input and also for creating and ordering these for our community. 

DRS information and location pick up:
Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
2401 NW 23rd Street, Suite 51
Oklahoma City, OK 73107
Office: (405) 522-7930 Email: SDHH@okdrs.gov 

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Public Invited to Disability Program Policy Hearings

OKLAHOMA CITY - 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 in Oklahoma City on Feb. 5, Tulsa on Feb. 6 and Lawton on Feb. 7.

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.

Proposed policy changes effect the following chapters: Chapter 1 - Administrative Operations, Chapter 3 - Management Services Division and Chapter 10 - Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services.

The changes include housekeeping items such as removing the references to the Independent Living Program, which is no longer operated by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, or adding language to clarify the Division of Visual Services may serve individuals with sight threatening progressive conditions or functional limitations due to sight loss. As well as an updating agency and program names to remove obsolete references.

Other changes include definition updates, removal of extended evaluation language and removal of homemaker employment outcome language to reflect recent federal law changes.

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In time for the holidays: OSB's new Family & Friends Cookbook

Look what’s cookin’! Allison Garner reports that the Oklahoma School for the Blind Family and Friends Cookbook will be available soon. OSB staff has worked hard to get the cookbook ready in all formats. Several DRS staff throughout the agency submitted recipes and may be interested in purchasing a cookbook. OSB’s cookbook is available in print, Braille, and PDF versions that are either screen reader friendly -- or not. Get a $2 discount per item if you buy five or more items.

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