Oklahomans celebrate Deaf Awareness Week Sept 21-27

Crowd of people pet a dog on a leash

OKLAHOMA CITY - Deaf Awareness Week in Oklahoma kicks off this Sunday, September 21. The event is celebrated each year in the U.S. during the last full week of September.

“The Oklahoma School for the Deaf is planning activities to celebrate their rich deaf cultural heritage and educate others about deafness,” explained Joe Cordova, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

The School for the Deaf is a division of DRS.

Agenda released for 2014 EXPO

Logo for 2014 Expo

2014 Expo Agenda – The Event is Open to Everyone
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014
Location: Metro Technology Center, 1900 N. Springlake Drive, Oklahoma City, OK

8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Registration

9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. -- Opening Ceremony- (Malcolm Stoughtenborough), Welcome (Dr. Elaine Stith) Welcome (Director Joe Cordova)

9:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. -- Career Success Panel (Malcolm Stoughtenborough moderator)

9:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. – Break

Project SEARCH job training leads to permanent jobs for eight Enid interns

ENID, Okla. – High school-age interns in the Project SEARCH program expect to get on-the-job training and ideas about potential careers.

Full-time, permanent employment usually comes later after the students with disabilities finish the nine-month Project SEARCH intern program and go on to complete more education or training.

In Enid, eight Project SEARCH interns completed the program and were immediately hired by employers in the Enid community. All are now taxpaying citizens, less likely to need disability benefits or social services.

Veteran helps other vets succeed at college/career tech through Veterans Upward Bound

Ada, OKLA. – Transitioning from military service to the academic world can be overwhelming for veterans. They trade a structured environment for a new avalanche of choices. Many also juggle families and jobs, or have service-connected disabilities.

Gary Spikes has been there, done all of that – plus he has hearing and vision loss, and has used a wheelchair in the past because of degenerative disc disease.

Veterans Upward Bound Director Mary Meeks hired Spikes as an academic counselor three months ago.

National Federation of the Blind Braille instruction July 28-August 8 at DRS Library for the Blind

A group of people with white canes outside

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The National Federation of the Blind of Oklahoma will partner for the second year with the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and the Visual Services division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services to bring a fun, summer day camp experience to children, ages five to fourteen, who are blind or have low vision.

Students must pre-register for the two-week Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning program – or BELL for short – which builds participants’ self-confidence, positive attitude and Braille skills.

Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week spokesperson’s productivity, ambition pay off at Cintas

Two men smile for the camera

OKLAHOMA CITY – All Peter Broussard really wanted was a chance -- a chance to work hard, fit in at the job and take care of his family, like everybody else.

At Cintas, Broussard, who is deaf and blind, is just one of the guys on a team that rewards productivity and ambition.

Cintas employs 30,000 “partners,” the term they call all employees. The Cincinnati-based corporation, provides products and services that help companies keep their employees and facilities safe.

Thirteen graduate from the Oklahoma School for the Deaf

OSD class 2013

SULPHUR – Thirteen students from the Oklahoma School for the Deaf received diplomas May 21 in a commencement ceremony in the OSD gym, at 1100 East Oklahoma Street in Sulphur.

The OSD 2014 graduating class included Amber Marie Cooper of Lane, Rodolfo Apolinar Jr. of Ardmore, Nathan Christopher Coon of Paoli, Erika Nicole Gillihan of Sulphur, Ty Blake Jenkins of Sulphur, Alex Christopher McCool of Choctaw, Nico Angelo McCormick of Moore, Melissa Susie Pace of Sulphur, Amy Lenn Pena of Altus, Morgan Renee Ponder of Tulsa, Haylee Tess Reynolds of Swink, Trynecka Olivia Sheffey of Pauls Valley and Breanna Lynn Winfree of Guthrie.

“This has been a great group of students. I look forward to seeing what this group of graduates accomplish," KaAnn Varner, OSD superintendent.

Twelve graduate from Oklahoma School for the Blind

OSB seniors pose for graduation photo

MUSKOGEE — Twelve seniors at the Oklahoma School for the Blind received their diplomas Thursday during a commencement ceremony in the OSB auditorium, at 3300 Gibson Street, in Muskogee.

The OSB 2014 graduating class includes Justus Cheyenne Atwood of Eufaula, Moddasy Renee Bateman of Pryor, Taylor Grace Carter of Lawton, Riley Dalton Fly of Edmond, Bryce Anthony Kesterson of Sapulpa, Briar Scott Lostlen of Enid, Montana Rain Nichole Lowrey of Tahlequah, Mykala Sierra Moore of Glenpool, Brandon Walking Bear Northcross of Chandler, Sara Virginia Rawlings of Muskogee, Miranda Louise Young of Muskogee and Aubry Alyn Weatherly of Lawton.

“I would like to wish our graduates the best future possible as this is a very special achievement in everyone’s life. I hope each of our seniors will spend a moment reflecting on how much they have learned in life and where their dreams for the future will take them,” James Adams, OSB superintendent, said.

iPad loan from Library for the Blind lightens educational load for visually impaired Southmoore student

three women with an iPad

OKLAHOMA CITY – Any high school student would rather use an iPad in class instead of a regular, old textbook. For Southmoore junior Katie Loman, who has a visual disability, a 1.45 pound iPad not only customizes print size, it liberates her from juggling more than 60 pounds of text books.

Students with visual impairments generally use three large print books for each standard print book. Braille students use seven to ten volumes.

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