Chapter 11: Rehabilitation and Independent Living


Section 1: Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)

Email: info@okdrs.gov

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) expands opportunities for employment, independent life and economic self-sufficiency by helping Oklahomans with disabilities bridge barriers to success in the workplace, school and at home.

To connect to the DRS office in your area call 800-487-4042.

  • Vocational Rehabilitation: Employment services for people with any disability, except blindness.
  • Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Employment and independent living services for people who are blind or visually impaired.
  • Disability Determination Services: Determines medical eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.
  • Oklahoma School for the Deaf: Educational programs for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Oklahoma School for the Blind: Educational programs for children who are blind or visually impaired.

Counselors and technology specialists provide assistive technology evaluations, devices and services to agency clients based on individual needs related to achievement of employment goals. They also help employers locate appropriate adaptive equipment for employees with disabilities. Contact your local Vocational Rehabilitation or Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired counselor for information. See DRS Offices Statewide, Rehabilitation section for contact information.

DRS provides vocational rehabilitation, employment and limited independent living services to eligible individuals with disabilities. Medical equipment, assistive technology and related services may be provided if they are part of the Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) developed with a vocational rehabilitation client. In some cases assistive technology devices and services may be provided for independent living purposes.

Assistive technology services which may be available based on a person's eligibility and plan of service include evaluation for assistive technology needs, recommendations for suitable equipment, worksite evaluation for adaptive equipment needs and training in use of specialized equipment.

Current DRS clients should discuss assistive technology needs with their DRS counselors. Applications for DRS services can be made by contacting local DRS offices. See DRS Offices Statewide, Rehabilitation and Independent Living section.

State Office
3535 N.W. 58th St., Ste. 500
Oklahoma City , OK 73112

Voice: 

405-951-3400

Toll Free: 

800-845-8476

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Disability Determination Division

Disability Determination Division (DDD) determines if applicants are medically eligible under Social Security law for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income payments. A team consisting of a physician or psychologist and disability examiner will consider all the facts in the case, using medical information from doctors, hospitals, clinics or other places where the client has been treated. You can apply for disability benefits by phone, by mail or by visiting any Social Security Administration office.

Disability Determination Division
P. O. Box 24400
Oklahoma City , OK 73124

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Oklahoma School for the Deaf, Equipment Distribution Program

Email: jsledd@osd.k12.ok.us

Equipment Distribution Program provides adaptive equipment for telephone and communications access for individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing or speech impaired. Items available include TTYs, phone amplifiers, ring signalers, visual signaling devices and other adaptive devices for use in the home. Equipment is free for those meeting income guidelines, with sliding scale charges for persons above set income levels. Call 866-309-1717 or 580-622-5850 for more information.

Hearing Aid Program for Seniors provides assistance purchasing hearing aids for income-eligible senior citizens. Persons exceeding the income criteria may receive partial assistance. For information and applications call 866-309-1717 or 580-622-5850.

Oklahoma School for the Deaf
1100 E. Oklahoma Avenue
Sulphur , OK 73086

Voice: 

580-622-4900

Toll Free: 

888-685-3323

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Email: klohr@okdrs.gov

The primary vocational rehabilitation services are counseling and guidance with job placement. However, other services may also be provided as needed for an individual to compensate for, correct or prevent disability-based barriers to employment. These services can include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical or mental restoration;
  • Vocational, college or other training;
  • Assistive technology evaluations, equipment and training;
  • Information on disability resources;
  • Personal assistance services while receiving VR services;
  • Transportation in connection with VR services being provided;
  • Supported employment;
  • Self-employment assistance;
  • Transition school-to-work services for youth with disabilities; and
  • Other services based on individual needs.

The services a person receives are determined by the person's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). This plan outlines a person's employment goal and the services that are needed to enable the person to achieve that goal. The IPE can be written by a VR client and counselor working together, or it can be written by the client according to guidelines the counselor will explain.

Eligibility: A person may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if he or she has a visual, physical or mental disability that is a barrier to employment and if the person can benefit in terms of employment by receiving VR services.

Cost: Some services, such as medical examinations to determine if a person is eligible for vocational rehabilitation, counseling and job placement, are provided at no charge to the client. For some other services, a client may have to share in the cost, depending on his/her income and resources.

Applying for Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired vocational rehabilitation services: Contact the nearest DRS office at 800-487-4042 or follow this link to a list of DRS offices statewide.

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
3535 N.W. 58th St., Ste. 500
Oklahoma City , OK 73112

Voice: 

405-951-3400

Toll Free: 

800-845-8476

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Business Enterprise Program

Email: mhamerick@okdrs.gov

This program trains and licenses legally blind individuals to manage food service facilities in government buildings and other public or private facilities around the state.Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired secures and equips locations and provides ongoing technical support for facility managers. Persons interested in pursuing this self-employment option should contact the nearest Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired office.

Business Enterprise Program
3325 N. Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City , OK 73105

Voice: 

405-523-4800

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Deaf Blind Specialist

Email: jblake@okdrs.gov

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides advocacy, information and referral, evaluation, and guidance and counseling services for individuals who are deaf-blind and their families. Tactile, vibratory and other equipment which assists people in communicating and receiving environmental information is available.

Individuals may be referred for deaf-blind services who are legally blind (or have progressive visual disabilities that will result in legal blindness) and severe to profound hearing losses (or significant difficulties communicating in home or community settings). There are no age requirements for services; however, this program primarily serves adults.

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired Deaf Blind Specialist
2401 N.W. 23rd, Ste. 91
Oklahoma City , OK 73107

Voice: 

405-522-3333

Fax: 

405-522-3332

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Instructional Services

Email: reboykin@okdrs.gov

Rehabilitation Teachers of the Blind provide instruction and counseling services through a home visitation program which helps individuals adjust to the loss of sight. Contact local SBVI offices for Instructional Services, which may include:

  • Adjustment counseling;
  • Communications skills instruction including (as needed) braille, keyboarding skills, low vision technology and adaptive techniques and devices;
  • Personal and home management skills instruction;
  • Daily living skills instruction for functioning independently at home;
  • Travel techniques (orientation and mobility);
  • Skills for participating in recreation and leisure activities;
  • Information on community resources; and
  • Information on adaptive devices and how to obtain them.

Contact the nearest DRS office for more information by calling 800-487-4042 or follow this link to a list of DRS offices statewide.

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Instructional Services
2401 N.W. 23rd St., Ste. 91
Oklahoma City , OK 73107

Voice: 

405-522-3382

Fax: 

405-522-3332

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Older Blind Program

Email: ctipps@okdrs.gov

The Older Blind Independent Living Program expands independent living services for people who are 55 years old or older and legally blind. Rehabilitation teachers located in Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired offices throughout the state provide one-on-one assistance to assist older people in adjusting to blindness and regaining or maintaining maximum independence and self-sufficiency.

Voice: 

918-551-4925

Toll Free: 

800-829-3255

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Orientation and Mobility Specialists

Email: reboykin@okdrs.gov

Instruction in using white canes and other techniques for traveling independently in the community as a person with blindness or low vision.

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Orientation and Mobility Specialists
2401 N.W. 23rd St., Ste. 91
Oklahoma City , OK 73107

Voice: 

405-522-3382

Fax: 

405-522-3332

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Rehabilitation Technology Lab for Blindness and Low Vision

Email: drobison@okdrs.gov

  • Individual assistive technology evaluations;
  • Recommendations for assistive technology to meet individual needs;
  • Demonstration of adaptive computer technology;
  • Employer consultation on technology for employment situations; and
  • Information on assistive tech options for blindness and low vision.
Rehabilitation Technology Lab for Blindness and Low Vision
2401 N.W. 23rd. St., Ste. 91
Oklahoma City , OK 73107

Voice: 

405-522-3436

Toll Free: 

800-523-0288

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Transition Program

Email: RSansom@okdrs.gov

The Transition Program helps students with disabilities who are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for employment and life after high school. Services available through Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired counselors assigned to each high school include:

  • Vocational counseling and guidance assists teachers, parents and students in developing appropriate career goals.
  • Vocational assessment and evaluation helps determine students' employment-related strengths.
  • Work study provides job readiness skills, work experience and high school credits.
  • Work site learning, arranged through "cooperative agreements" with schools, provides minimum-wage work in the community or at school, job readiness skills, work experience and high school credits.
  • Work adjustment training is purchased from community-based facilities.
  • On-the-job training is arranged in the community for students in the second semester of their senior year with permanent employment as a goal.
  • Supported employment helps students in the second semester of their senior year transition into permanent employment.
  • Job development and placement specialists help students make job searches more successful.
Transition School-to-Work Program
2401 N.W. 23rd St., Ste. 59
Oklahoma City , OK 73107

Voice: 

(405) 951-3488

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Vocational Rehabilitation

Email: dbowers@okdrs.gov

The primary vocational rehabilitation services are counseling and guidance with job placement. However, other services may also be provided as needed for an individual to compensate for, correct or prevent disability-based barriers to employment. These services can include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical or mental restoration;
  • Vocational, college or other training;
  • Assistive technology evaluations, equipment and training;
  • Information on disability resources;
  • Personal assistance services while receiving VR services;
  • Transportation in connection with VR services being provided;
  • Supported employment;
  • Self-employment assistance; and
  • Other services based on individual needs.

The services a person receives are determined by the person's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). This plan outlines a person's employment goal and the services that are needed to enable the person to achieve that goal. The IPE can be written by a VR client and counselor working together, or it can be written by the client according to guidelines the counselor will explain.

Eligibility: A person may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if he or she has a physical or mental disability that is a barrier to employment and if the person can benefit in terms of employment by receiving VR services.

Cost: Some services, such as medical examinations to determine if a person is eligible for vocational rehabilitation, counseling and job placement, are provided at no charge to the client. For some other services, a client may have to share in the cost, depending on his/her income and resources.

Applying for Vocational Rehabilitation services: Contact the nearest DRS office at 800-487-4042 or follow this link to a list of DRS offices statewide.

Vocational Rehabilitation
3535 N.W. 58th St., Ste. 500
Oklahoma City , OK 73112

Voice: 

405-951-3470

Toll Free: 

800-487-4042

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Vocational Rehabilitation, Assistive Technology Lending Lab

Email: Lmosley@okdrs.gov

Assistive and adaptive technology equipment available for demonstrations and lending.

Assistive Technology Lending Lab
2401 N.W. 23rd St., Ste. 21
Oklahoma City , OK 73107

Voice: 

405-522-2506

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Vocational Rehabilitation, Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing - Oklahoma City

Email: JPenny@okdrs.gov

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) provides specialized employment services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Our offices of Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing includes three specialist counselors in the Oklahoma City area and two specialist counselors in the Tulsa area. Our counselors have specialized training and are able to provide direct communication with clients with hearing loss by using sign language or other techniques to effectively communicate.

A specialized transition program is also available for high school students with hearing loss that addresses the unique issues encountered by the students and prepares them for their transition to work or college.

Our VR counselors for the Deaf and hard of hearing also work with other VR counselors, services, agencies and organizations to provide information regarding hearing loss.

Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing - OKC
2401 N.W. 23rd. St., Ste. 65
Oklahoma City , OK 73107

Voice: 

405-522-7930

Toll Free: 

800-833-8973

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) - Vocational Rehabilitation, Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing - Tulsa

Email: SKeese@okdrs.gov

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) provides specialized employment services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Our offices of Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing includes three specialist counselors in the Oklahoma City area and two specialist counselors in the Tulsa area. Our counselors have specialized training and are able to provide direct communication with clients with hearing loss by using sign language or other techniques to effectively communicate.

A specialized transition program is also available for high school students with hearing loss that addresses the unique issues encountered by the students and prepares them for their transition to work or college.

Our VR counselors for the Deaf and hard of hearing also work with other VR counselors, services, agencies and organizations to provide information regarding hearing loss.

Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing - Tulsa
8740 E. 11th St., Ste. F
Tulsa , OK 74112

Voice: 

918-836-5556

Toll Free: 

800-833-8973

Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

Email: VGolightly@drs.state.ok.us

Provides books and periodicals in recorded and other alternate formats for children and adults who are unable to use standard print due to visual or physical disabilities. Cassette players and talking book machines are loaned and maintained free of charge. Descriptive videos (with narration describing visual action) can be checked out. NEWSLINE service gives over-the-phone access to major newspapers read via computer speech.

Accessible Instructional Materials Center (AIM) - The Library provides textbooks in braille and other alternate formats for visually impaired students in public schools. Teachers are urged to request braille instructional materials well in advance of need, to the extent possible.

300 N.E. 18th St.
Oklahoma City , OK 73105

Voice: 

405-521-3514

Toll Free: 

800-523-0288

Oklahoma School for the Blind

Email: REchelle@okdrs.gov

OSB is a residential and day school for children and youth with visual impairments. The School also serves as a statewide resource for the education of blind and visually impaired children in the public schools. Programs and services include:

  • Academic instruction through 12th grade;
  • Instruction in specialized adaptive skills such as braille, orientation and mobility, use of assistive technology and low vision aids, and independent living skills;
  • Vocational training and work-study opportunities;
  • College preparation;
  • Social, cultural and recreational activities including sports teams, music, band competitions, and a variety of student organizations;
  • Outreach services providing technical assistance to help teachers and parents develop appropriate individualized education programs for visually impaired children in public schools;
  • Related services such as student assessment, counseling, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, audiological services, health care and parent education and counseling; and
  • Library and Media Center with educational materials in alternate formats including Braille, large print and recordings. Assistive devices to try out or borrow include talking appliances, magnifiers, closed-circuit TVs for print enlargement, electronic Braille notetakers and much more.
  • Summer Enrichment Program: Oklahoma Kids: A Kaleidoscope. For 1st - 12th grade students who are blind or visually impaired. The summer program is for children and youth who do not regularly attend the School for the Blind. The program offers specialized skills instruction, remediation, reinforcement in academic skills, training in use of assistive technology for the blind, recreation and social skills development. Children are transported home each weekend of the four week session.

3300 Gibson St.
Muskogee , OK 74403

Voice: 

918-781-8200

Toll Free: 

877-229-7136

Oklahoma School for the Deaf

Email: LHawkins@okdrs.gov

OSD is a residential and day school providing specialized educational services to children and youth who are deaf or hard of hearing. The School also serves as a statewide resource for the education of deaf and hard of hearing children who attend public schools in Oklahoma. Programs include:

  • Early Childhood Development Program for children ages 2-6;
  • Regional preschools in Collinsville and Edmond are provided by OSB in cooperation with local schools;
  • A comprehensive curriculum for residential and day students, with instruction in reading, language arts, math, social studies, science, physical education, fine arts, communication skills, computer skills, and other subjects;
  • Vocational and technical training;
  • Work experience in the community;
  • Social, cultural and recreational activities;
  • Student organizations;
  • Sports and athletic competitions; and
  • Outreach services including psychological and audiological evaluations, parent education programs, captioned videos, vocational and career education, counseling, and sign language instruction.

OSD Satellite Pre-schools:
Edmond Regional Preschool
University of Central Oklahoma
Box 176
Edmond, OK 73034
405-974-5961 Voice

Chickasha Early Childhood Center
on campus of USAO, Canning Hall
1727 W Alabama Ave, Chickasha, OK 73018
405-574-3630 Voice
405-574-1220 Fax

Reading and Literacy Program for Children who are Deaf. For deaf and hard of hearing youth ages 11-17 (5th - 11th grades) are held in the summers. The five-day program helps students learn to appreciate reading and advance their literacy skills. Students are tested and grouped by reading level. They receive five hours of instruction each day. Afternoons and evenings are filled with recreation and field trips.

1100 E. Oklahoma St.
Sulphur , OK 73086

Voice: 

580-622-4900

Toll Free: 

888-685-3323