#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)

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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Newly Released Videos on HKNC Website

The Helen Keller National Center announces two new training videos for deaf-blind individuals and family members. These videos were developed and are presented by deaf-blind individuals and are fully accessible with captioning and transcripts.

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‘He Can’t Hear You!’: Deaf Man Shot Dead by Oklahoma City Police as Neighbors Scream in Horror

A deaf man carrying a metal pipe was fatally shot by Oklahoma City police on Tuesday night as neighbors frantically tried to tell officers that he couldn't hear their commands.

Magdiel Sanchez, 35, was shot and Tasered on a porch on Tuesday around 8:15 p.m. after he allegedly advanced toward officers following a hit-and-run involving his father, Police Capt. Bo Mathews said Wednesday.

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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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SHEP Moves Towards Bridging the Gap for Deafblind and Substance Abuse Resources

Sensory disabilities, such as blindness and deafness, can be frustrating and challenging to manage in a sight- and sound-focused world. This challenge becomes even greater if the person with the disability has a substance abuse problem. While addiction treatment can provide the tools and skills needed for an individual to recover from and manage substance use or abuse, many facilities are not equipped up to manage the needs of those who are vision or hearing impaired.

As a result, people who are blind or deaf and need substance abuse treatment may be turned away from some facilities or don't get the message and help they need. In many cases, they have even avoided trying to find treatment, due to the concern that they won't have the services or resources available at the facility.

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Mustang investment advisor named spokesman for Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week

Daniel Meek, investment advisor and accountant from Mustang, relied on assistance from Visual Services’ employment programs to adapt to his vision and hearing disabilities. Meek was asked to represent deaf-blind Oklahomans during Deaf-Blind Awareness Week by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

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Working miracles: New program to provide help to blind/deaf Oklahomans

FOR people who are both deaf and blind, the world can be a daunting place. It’s dark and quiet, and not many people know how to communicate with someone whose senses are limited.

In the U.S., about 70,000 people people live in a dark, quiet world, according to Helenkeller.org. Cassandra Oakes, of Bethany, is one. In 2010, Oakes and her husband, Tim Oakes, started a program to help others who have lost their vision and hearing: Sight-Hearing Encouragement Program — or SHEP.

“I want to teach them to come out of their closets, come on out of their predicament, come out of being mad at the world, come out of that negative energy,” Oakes said.

Through the program, service support providers (SSPs) spend time with their blind/deaf companions, taking them shopping or to lunch or to run errands. They describe the sights and sounds their companions are missing.

(Click to read more...)