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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#SolidarityOEADeafAccess

OAD sent an open letter to Oklahoma Education Association in solidarity with other organizations and grassroots. This letter comes after prior solidarity efforts mentioned in their organizations vlog. 

March 28, 2018
Alicia Priest, President
Oklahoma Education Association

This is an open letter to the Oklahoma Education Association.

Dear President Alicia Priest,

On behalf of the organizations listed below, we stand in solidarity to extend our gratitude to the Oklahoma Education Association with respect to our collaborative efforts regarding effective communication with our community.

This community includes, but is not limited to, Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing individuals, interpreters, professionals, parents, students, and other stakeholders who are wholly supportive of education in Oklahoma.

Our organizations and grassroots associations representing the interests of Oklahomans recognize the respect OEA demonstrated toward our community. Our coalition shares the same vested interest of ensuring that highly qualified, certified interpreters and Deaf Education teachers positively impact Oklahoma’s educational system. In order to establish a cooperative legacy, we are inviting OEA to collaborate with us to bridge a distinct alliance between associations. This collaborative effort will go a long way in benefiting the future of our communities.

We look forward to working with you. If you agree, we kindly request that you respond back at your convenience. Once again, thank you for stepping up, coordinating with us, and engaging in our concerns.

Sincerely,

Presidents/Leaders, on behalf of our organizations/grassroots:
Renee’ Sites, Oklahoma Association of the Deaf (OAD) 
Anne Byrd, Oklahoma Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (OKRID) 
Donna Fine, Deaf Grassroots Movement United-Oklahoma (DGMU-OK)
Tiara Oakes, Sight-Hearing Encouragement Program (SHEP)
Andrew Pitchford, Central Oklahoma Association for the Deaf and HoH (COADHI)
Christina Williams, Oklahoma Black Deaf Advocates (OKBDA)
Jennifer Grigsby-Fannon, Oklahoma City Association of the Deaf (OKCAD) 
Caroline Crawford, Enid Association of the Deaf (EAD)