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Join us in celebrating 25 years as an independent agency. On June 11, 1993, then Gov. David Walters signed Senate Bill 356, establishing the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. Its passage was evidence of the state of Oklahoma’s commitment to provide more effective consumer responsive services for its citizens with disabilities. DRS was established to serve many of the major programs important to the disability community including Rehabilitation Services, Visual Services, Oklahoma School for the Blind, Oklahoma School for the Deaf and the Disability Determination Services.

Masonic Charity Foundation grant to empty School for the Deaf waiting lists for senior citizens’ hearing aid program

Four people in business clothes pose with a check

SULPHUR, Okla. – The Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma has awarded a generous grant to purchase 776 hearing aids through the statewide Senior Citizens Hearing Aid Program operated by the Oklahoma School for the Deaf.

As a result, 572 low-income seniors with significant hearing losses will be immediately transferred from waiting lists and receive their hearing aids.

In addition, the grant will fund hearing aids for the next 204 senior citizens who apply for help through the program.

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. 4, Tulsa on Feb. 5 and Lawton on Feb. 6.

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.

Go back in time with us with this classic press release - meet Ray F. Kirk

This media release was originally released on Mar. 13, 2013. DRS has been empowering Oklahomans for 25 years.

Muskogee rancher, Rehabilitation Services commissioner dies after sudden illness

Kirk baits a young students fish home.

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Muskogee thoroughbred and cattle rancher, and community leader Ray F. Kirk died suddenly March 14 in Muskogee after a brief illness.

Commissioner Kirk was the first Muskogee citizen ever appointed to the Commission for Rehabilitation Services, the governing board for the state Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS).

The Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee is a division of DRS.

At the time he was appointed to the commission, Kirk said, “Muskogee is very fortunate to have the school (for the blind) because of the outstanding work the staff does to educate visually impaired students brings attention to our community from all over the state.

Oklahoma students earn top awards at School for the Blind’s Cane Quest

Two smiling young men wear medals and hold while canes used for travel by people who are blind

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Thirty Oklahoma students competed for awards at the sixth Oklahoma Regional Cane Quest competition hosted recently in Muskogee by the Oklahoma School for the Blind.

OSB invited certified orientation and mobility specials and certified teachers of the visually impaired to score each student’s orientation and mobility skills.

Seventeen competitors earned medals in four categories based on grade levels and degree of visual accuity:

Top Scouts: Hunter Kelley – Cushing, Quante Sellers - OKC, Skyler Moore – Keefeton and Angel Cozort - Ketchum

Go back in time with us with this classic press release - meet Bill Austin

This media release was originally released on Jan. 29, 2001. DRS has been empowering Oklahomans for 25 years.

Student eagerly faces challenges of life with a disability

Many might say that the odds have been stacked against Bill Austin from early on. Doctors once told his family that it would be impossible for him to see the age of twenty.

Despite a severe case of muscular dystrophy, Austin, now 49, is proving them all wrong. More than 40 years after the faulty prediction of those doctors, Austin has completed his lifelong goal of earning a college degree. Austin battles muscular dystrophy on a daily basis. The debilitating disease progressively weakens the body's skeletal muscles and has limited Austin’s mobility to five percent use of his right hand. This leaves him with just enough strength to operate the joystick on his motorized wheelchair.

"Life is something that should be loved and cherished by all," said Austin. "I'm not willing to let my disability get in the way of my dreams."

One of the major obstacles that Austin faced in his academic pursuits was an inability to properly utilize a computer keyboard. His disability made independent manipulation of the keyboard nearly impossible. At one point, challenges such as taking class lecture notes and completing homework in a timely manner also seemed insurmountable.