Public Invited to Disability Program Hearings

Public Hearing DRS logo behind a gavel

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, which will be held in Oklahoma City on Feb. 2, Tulsa on Feb. 3 and Lawton on Feb. 4.

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.

Disability does not define super-achieving Tulsa law school graduate

TULSA, Okla. ─ Julie Hildebrand graduated Friday (Dec. 19) with a 3.48 grade point average after only two years at the University of Tulsa law school.

The pretty, 24-year old Jenks resident has already accepted a contingent job offer at Occidental Petroleum in Houston.

Hildebrand is among the brightest graduates – she calls herself a nerd -- but she won’t be the tallest student.

Hildebrand has a rare form of dwarfism called 3M syndrome.

“My disability is part of me, but it’s not who I am,” Hildebrand explained. “If anything, it’s made me stronger. It’s made me learn how to overcome things and adapt very quickly.”

Raised to be self-reliant, she hesitated before contacting the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation for help with law school tuition, a laptop and adaptations for her vehicle.

“There’s no doubt that I would have to work harder without DRS and my Vocational Rehabilitation counselor C. J. Hurlbut,” she said. “He’s provided a lot of emotional support and helped advise me when I wasn’t sure about my path or direction.”

Though Hildebrand worked and supported herself while attending undergraduate school, she credits DRS with helping her finish law school in a shorter time span than would have been possible if she continued to work full time.
“Because of DRS I was also able to choose what I’m going to do for the rest of my life without worrying about having the right money to pay off my student loans.”

“Julie Hildebrand has been a delight to work with and has truly been a model client,” C. J. Hurlbut said. “Not only has she been exceptionally successful, she has never complained about the many challenges she has in day to day life with her small stature. Instead, she takes pride in her ability and determination to overcome those barriers she encounters.”

Take the Governor’s Oklahoma United We Ride Council Survey

Improve your ride take the survey.

The Governor’s Oklahoma United We Ride Council developed a short survey to gather some information from public transportation riders.  Individual Riders may access the 10-question survey by going online to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/976ZCZH or by clicking on the SURVEY link from the United We Ride Council’s website: www.MyRide.ok.gov

Purpose of the Survey

The survey intends to ask individual riders for input. The information we accumulate will help the United We Ride Council identify unmet transportation needs across the state and will help the Council in developing strategies for meeting those needs. This survey is different from the UWR/ODOT 2011 Transportation Survey which allowed transit providers, government agencies, and advocates of aging, disabled, and low-income populations to share their opinions about transportation.

We want to hear what riders have to say about their own transportation experiences. So the survey is not intended for transit providers. The survey is not intended for government agencies or entities that advocate for people with disabilities, but counselors of an agency/entity may help individual riders access the survey to answer the questions.

October 31 seminar to introduce Oklahomans who are blind to DRS Visual Services

TULSA, Okla. - The Brady District Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Oklahoma will present an informational seminar for people who are blind or visually impaired to learn how to effectively use employment and independent living services offered by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. Slated for October 31, the seminar will take place from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Double Tree Hotel at 616 W 7th St. in downtown Tulsa.

Newly elected Commission for Rehabilitation Services chair shares secret to job success during Disability Employment Awareness Month

Commissioner Tucker and his wife standing outside on a porch.

OKLAHOMA CITY – More than 322,000 working-age Oklahomans -- one in seven -- have some type of disability, according to Jack Tucker, recently elected chair of the Commission for Rehabilitation Services.

Tucker should know. He is a former client of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services with a visual disability and the retired principal of DRS’ School for the Deaf.

He was unanimously elected chair of the governing board for DRS, the agency that once provided his employment services and rewarded his work with a paycheck for more than 40 years.

Students with disabilities invited to self-advocacy workshops Oct 30 with New Jersey poet/advocate

LeDerick Horne portrait

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma middle and high school students with disabilities are invited to explore the concept of self-advocacy on Thursday, October 30, at two free seminars led by spoken word poet and disability advocate LeDerick Horne.

The event will be held in the Boomer Room at the Sooner Legends Inn and Suites, 1200 24th Avenue SW in Norman.

School for the Blind to celebrate White Cane Safety Day October 14

Muskogee, OKLA. – The Oklahoma School for the Blind will celebrate National White Cane Safety Day October 14 with an educational program for the public and a competition to improve OSB students’ white cane navigation skills.

White Cane Safety Day was first established by presidential proclamation in 1964.

“Approximately 109,833 Oklahomans have vision difficulties and may be potential white cane or dog guide users,” Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services Executive Director Joe Cordova said.

The School for the Blind is a division of DRS.

Heartland Council of the Blind, DRS to promote White Cane Safety Day Oct 15 in Bricktown

Woman with a bull horn and man with a white cane in front of a small crown

OKLAHOMA CITY ─ Wednesday, October 15, will mark the sixth time that the Heartland Council of the Blind has involved the public in White Cane Safety Day in Oklahoma City.

Participants will gather at 10 a.m. near the intersection of Sheridan and Oklahoma streets with the morning’s events scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.

Heartland Council members will join forces with Visual Services staff from the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services for a 35-45 minute walk in Bricktown.

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