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.

Disability agency serving 3,424 jobseekers transferred from waiting lists since January 1

Logo: DRS with circle around the D, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Department of Rehabilitation Services has transferred 3,424 job seekers with significant disabilities from waiting lists to active caseloads since January 1.

DRS’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services staff began providing career planning and employments services to 505 new clients in the most recent group moved from waiting lists on November 7.

School for the Blind to test white cane skills November 15 in Muskogee

Young man followed by a woman uses white cane travels on sidewalk

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Oklahoma School for the Blind expects 32 young white cane users to compete in their sixth Oklahoma Regional Cane Quest on Thursday, November 15.

Cane Quest challenges students to use proper travel techniques and cane skills to complete routes in their communities.

The competition is a national program of the Braille Institute of America, based in Los Angeles, California.

Students from across Oklahoma will compete to earn points and win prizes.

Rehabilitation Services Commission selects executive director to lead disability agency

Smiling woman wearing glasses

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Commission for Rehabilitation Services appointed Melinda Fruendt as executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services on Monday (November 5).

Fruendt, who was briefly interim director, will lead more than 1,000 state employees who served 97,864 Oklahomans with disabilities in 2017.

Go back in time with us with this classic press release - meet Rob Hill

This media release was originally released on July 13, 2012. DRS has been empowering Oklahomans for 25 years.

Eligible for SSDI Tulsa man chose to work for 32 years

Hill walking up the street using a white cane.

TULSA, Okla. – “I don’t fly a plane. Although I may be driving before long,” Rob Hill said. While somewhat joking, the fact of the matter is Google has been test-driving the driverless car, which is perfect for Hill because he is completely blind.

This attitude of you-never-know is strong in Hill. He has the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, which cost him his sight in 1973. However, he didn’t let that stop him from working full time for the last 32 years and doing community service and advocacy work for causes he strongly believes in.

Hill, 67 years old, retired on May 31, 2012 from 211 Helpline in the Community Service Council as a social worker in Tulsa. Along his path to retirement, Hill learned and experienced many things that a man with 20/20 vision wouldn’t have even dreamed of doing.