18 students win Braille Challenge® awards at Oklahoma School for the Blind

Photos of 3 students wearing medals on ribbons around their necks

MUSKOGEE, Okla. –– Braille literacy is the key to education and eventually employment for many students with vision impairments.

That’s why 30 Oklahoma students competed and 18 of them earned top awards in the Braille Challenge® regional competition held at Oklahoma School for the Blind.

The national Braille Challenge® program is sponsored by the Braille Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on eliminating barriers caused by blindness and severe sight loss.

The Braille Institute is celebrating its 100th Year of free service this year.

Go back in time with us with this classic press release - meet Denise Gallagher



This media release was originally released on Sept. 22, 2014. DRS has been empowering Oklahomans for 25 years.


Enid receptionist copes with hearing loss to serve Youth and Family Services’ clients

Gallagher at her desk on the phone.

ENID, Oklahoma – Hearing loss can’t slow Denise Gallagher down. The busy receptionist at Youth and Family Services of North Central Oklahoma just doesn’t have time.

Gallagher greets 1,500 children and families each year and helps them navigate a range of services offered by 50 YFS staff in Enid, including 24 mental health counselors.

YFS operates an emergency youth shelter, outpatient and school-counseling programs, food pantries, a transitional living program for young adults ages 18 to 22, and drug and alcohol recovery programs.

Gallagher handles the YFS switchboard and helps clients reach their counselors and other staff.

Disability award winners honored at state Capitol

Woman hands document to man

OKLAHOMA CITY –– More than 830 Oklahomans with disabilities and supporters came to the state Capitol March 12 to celebrate the 24th People with Disabilities Awareness Day and honor disability award winners.

Those who were recognized by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services included Meg Wingerter, a health reporter for The Oklahoman, who earned DRS’ he 2018 Excellence in Communication award.

DRS Commissioner April Danahy acknowledged Wingerter’s “well-researched and interesting stories about Oklahomans with disabilities and critical disability issues.”

It's National Rehabilitation Counselor Appreciation Day

a thank you card
Each year, the United States Senate recognizes March 22 as National Rehabilitation Counselor Appreciation Day. Commissioner Emily Cheng and I recognize those who have chosen this profession. As a former vocational rehabilitation client and counselor, I (Commissioner Cheng) have been on both sides of your desk. We sincerely appreciate your commitment to successful employment of Oklahomans with disabilities. You enable and inspire jobseekers to reach their goals for economic independence and an improved quality of life. In Oklahoma, we continue to recognize your master’s-level rehabilitation counseling education and professional certifications as valued credentials that document your dedication to this rewarding career.

You and the administrative and professional staff on your team truly make a difference in our state.

Emily Cheng, Commission for Rehabilitation Services Chair
Melinda Fruendt, DRS Executive Director

Huge turnout for School for the Deaf’s sign language camp

A group of people signing at a table

SULPHUR, Okla. –– Oklahoma School for the Deaf recently hosted an American Sign Language Immersion Camp, which brought ASL to life for 164 students learning sign language at six high schools and seven colleges.

Students from two high schools and one college in Texas participated in the two-day training at OSD’s campus in Sulphur.

OSD’s camp was a sign only event, which challenged students to communicate without using their voices.

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