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Informational Videos

( Female Announcer): OK DRS presents, "Dream Big."

Suli: My dreams are to be in the entertainment business.

Robert: My dream is to have me a car,a house, go off to college for business management.

Urooj: To go to college to study graphic design and get a real job.

Christian: Move out of my parents' house and live on my own.

Nathan: Get married some day, have a family.

Emileen: To become a director in the future, go back to school, make a lot of money hopefully.

Michael: My dream is to become a master chef and own my own restaurant.

Katie: I'd like to become a college professor and teach psychology.

(Anncr): What is Transition?

Katie: There's a cool DRS job program called Transition.

Michael: It's only for high school students with disabilities.

Emileen: They help you with a lot. They help you how to do resumes. They help you how to do interviews.

Christian: You get ready for the real world.

Emileen: And figure out what we need to do in life and find where we fit.

Robert: It might be little skills I'm learning, but those skills all add up to something great.

Katie: Transition is about freedom-freedom I get when I work and earn money.

(Anncr): What do you do?

Christian: I enter warrants into the computer and help catch criminals.

Suli: I get to arrange flowers for the country club and that's really exciting.

Nathan: People need important documents and I find them.

Katie: I get to help create audio books for people who have issues with their eyes.

Robert: I'm helping my company make a good first impression.I create business cards, letterheads, notepads.

Emileen: I digitize records so oil fields can have access to them online.

Michael: I'm a cook at Chesapeake and I make the best omelettes in town!

(Anncr): What is the best thing about your job?

Christian: The best part about my job would have to be meeting new people.

Urooj: I fit in, and I'm part of the team.

Robert: I got skills. I got to meet people.

Suli: We get a paycheck. I'm sure everybody enjoys doing that.

Katie: The best thing is not having to explain my issues and just kind of being accepted for it.

Michael: They treat me like everyone else.

Nathan: My boss is really cool and easy to work with.

Emileen: I say my coworkers, because they feel like a family to me. They help you with anything you need.

Katie: If I do something wrong, they help me get it right.

(Anncr): Dream big!

Katie: Are you a high school student with a disability?

Emileen: You have to go out there and figure out, "Where do you go? Where is your place in life?"

Suli: I think everybody should sign up for the DRS program.

Michael: It feels, it feels really great.

Emileen: We're all unique in our own certain way. And just be you.

(Anncr): Call the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services at 1-800-487-4042. Or visit

Copyright 2014
Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Urooj Ali,
Suli Hargrave,
Robert Jeffery,
Katie Loman,
Michael Lofties,
Christian Lunow,
Nathan Madison,
and Emileen Pinon

Thanks to: Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Cleveland County Sheriff's Office, Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and Trochta's Flowers

Take Charge

(ANNCR): The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services presents Take Charge: real life accounts of people who overcome obstacles to reach their goals.

Howard: My name is Mark Howard and I'm a psychiatrist specializing in psychosomatic medicine.

So I have a condition that's genetic called cone dystrophy. I had it at birth. That's a condition that has left me as a person that is legally blind since early childhood.

With correction- meaning with my contacts in like today or glasses on sometimes, I see 20/200 which means what a person typically sees at 200 feet, I have to be at 20 feet to be able to see.

So I had a pretty typical childhood. Growing up I was involved in a lot of sports. I did wrestling, and track and cross country in high school. I did academic bowl. I was involved with the Boy Scouts and I became an Eagle Scout.

My parents encouraged me a lot to do those things that I wanted to do. Well actually in high school and even in college I was pretty interested in the mind and understanding how the mind and the body work together.

(ANNCR): Mark shared his goal to attend medical school with his Oklahoma DRS visual services counselor.

Nelson: My name is Jane Nelson and I was the counselor for Mark when he first applied for services.

Howard: Jane had some reservations or some doubts about whether or not I'd be able to achieve my goals.

Nelson: I really tried to discourage him from that. Mainly because of my own doubts, not his. I told him that it was very difficult for anyone to get into medical school and then to have the significant visual impairment that he had, it would be a really huge leap. But that didn't seem to deter him.

Howard: But even though she had those doubts, she never stood in my way in any way. She always provided me opportunities to be successful.

Nelson: He was very quiet, very determined, very focused. He knew what he wanted and he was going to achieve it.

ANNCR): After he was accepted into the University of Oklahoma Medical School, Mark got a call from university officials. The Dean of Medicine wanted to meet with Mark to be sure he was up to the challenge.

Andrews: I am Dewayne Andrews, I'm Vice President for Health Affairs of the Health Sciences Center, and the Executive Dean of the College of Medicine.

Well I think at first he was just more curious and friendly. And as the meeting went on he became progressively more encouraged that I would be able to do it.

He convinced me that he really had a passion for medicine, that he was committed to it, that he knew he was going to have to work hard. He knew that he might have to adapt in certain ways that other students didn't.

And although it was a bit of a risk at that time, as I viewed it, I thought it was certainly a worthwhile risk.

Howard: So the challenges of medical school with respect to my vision were pretty steep. I mean, it started off with the academic challenges. The volume of material that you have to learn, the tons and tons of readings that are assigned.

And there were definitely times where I was faced with my own self doubt. But I really just pushed through despite that.

ANNCR): More challenges awaited Mark as he began his clinical rotation at the Veterans Administration hospital. There he met one of his first mentors.

Orwig: My name is Steve Orwig and I'm the associate chief of staff for education at the VA hospital here in OKC.

Howard: I was pretty nervous going in to the clinical years because I wasn't sure how my vision would translate into that setting because it was completely unfamiliar versus the academic setting.

Dr. Orwig though treated me just like any of the other medical students. And he was actually somebody who was very impactful because he was such a good clinician and such a good teacher.

Orwig: Even before I met Mark, even before he came over to the VA, I remember thinking that for someone to go through the first two years of medical school, all the basic sciences all the classes. Learning thousands of new words and all these new ideas and relationships. That's really difficult and challenging for anyone.

And so I knew for someone who had some sort of sensory impairment to be able to go through that they had have particular intelligence and persistence and commitment and hard work.

(ANNCR): Mark continued to work hard and graduated from medical school. Today he's a successful psychiatrist practicing in Boston, Massachusetts.

Howard: I think the biggest take away to anyone that has special obstacles in their life is that they've got to find the ways that they can be successful.

Figure out what it is that they need to overcome their hurdles and how to position themselves so that they can overcome them.

Lean on those supports because those are really important. And believe in yourself. Because if you don't believe in yourself, nobody else is gonna step up to the plate and believe in you either.

(ANNCR): Learn more about the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and find out if they can help you or someone you know. Call toll free 1-800-487-4042 or visit us on the web at

What You Need to Know


ANNCR: Vocational rehabilitation is an employment program for Oklahomans with disabilities. If you have a disability and want to get or keep a job, VR could be the right choice for you. We call this video “What You Need to Know About Oklahoma Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services.” It will tell you how the VR program works what we will do to help you find or keep a job and what you should do to reach your own career goals.

How does the VR program work? The name of our agency is the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services or DRS. Two DRS’ divisions provide vocational rehabilitation and employment services. Visual Services helps Oklahomans with vision impairments or diabetes. Vocational Rehabilitation helps those with physical or mental disabilities.

Having a disability does not always mean you are eligible for services. You are eligible if your disability makes it difficult to get or keep a job and you need VR services to prepare for, get, keep or return to work. There must be a chance you can benefit from VR services in terms of an employment outcome. You must be able and willing to go to work after receiving VR services. If not, other agencies may have services that can better meet your needs. Your counselor will give you information, whenever possible, about those programs.

There are seven steps in the VR process: Application, Evaluation, Eligibility, Planning, Services, Employment and Post-Employment Services.

Step one: Application.

First, complete the VR application and a health checklist form. Our staff can help if you need assistance. Meet with your counselor about your background and employment goals. Please bring your medical, psychological and education records if you can. You may get records from a doctor, psychologist or others who have useful information. All your information is kept private and not released without your permission. If you can’t get to our office, call to ask about other options. The application is also available online. You can bring someone with you to the meeting with your counselor.

Your counselor will ask for information about your disability, work experience, medical history, education or training and employment goals. The counselor needs the names of doctors or therapists and any medications you are taking. You may be asked to sign a release form so that others can provide information about you to Vocational Rehabilitation or Visual Services.

The counselor will ask for information about your financial situation. Some services such as evaluation, counseling and job placement are provided at no charge. You may be asked to pay for other services, depending on your income and financial resources. The cost of services and who will pay for them will be written down in your Individualized Plan for Employment or IPE.

Step 2: Evaluation.

Visual Services or Vocational Rehabilitation will evaluate your disability to find out if you are eligible for services. Your counselor will use the records you bring or help you get information from your doctor, school or other agency. If new tests are needed to find out if you are eligible, your counselor will arrange an appointment at no charge to you with a physician, psychologist or other health care professional. Vocational evaluations may be needed at any point in the rehabilitation process. Your evaluation could be done in the beginning to find out if vocational rehabilitation is the right program to help you go to work.

Step 3: Eligibility.

You can expect to be told within 60 days or less whether you qualify for vocational rehabilitation services. If you are eligible, you will make decisions about your career choice, what services are needed for you to go to work and who will provide those services. Your counselor will provide information and resources that will help you make these important decisions together. We call your decisions “informed choice” because you will have the information needed to make the right decisions about your career.

Step 4: Planning.

Once you are eligible, you will develop an Individualized Plan for Employment based on your specific needs. Your IPE will list the services needed to help you find or keep the job you have chosen. The purpose of the IPE is to get you ready for work. The counselor will work with you or you can choose someone else to help you write your IPE. Either way, the counselor must approve the plan. You and your counselor will sign the IPE. You will get a copy. If your needs change while you’re in vocational rehabilitation, your plan may be changed. It is important that you are involved in planning and following through on your IPE so that you can reach your employment goal.

Step 5: VR Services.

VR services help people with disabilities prepare for and find jobs. Each service is based on your disability and what is needed to overcome your barriers to employment and increase your ability to go to work. You and your counselor will decide what services are needed to reach your employment goal. Counselors provide vocational evaluation, counseling and career planning guidance throughout the rehabilitation process.We give you information and sometimes refer you to other agencies for services we don't provide. Please remember to keep your counselor informed of changes to your phone or address so we can continue to work together. Employment services, including job search, placement and follow-up services, help consumers go to work. Assistive Technology is any item, equipment, system or service that helps people with disabilities prepare for employment and function more effectively in the workplace, Training includes vocational, post-secondary, on-the-job, job search skills development and job coaching. Treatment of physical and mental disabilities may be provided to help consumers go to work. Transition School-to-Work services help high school students with disabilities prepare for and reach employment and other post-school goals. Instructional services, such as rehabilitation teaching and orientation and mobility services, assist individuals who are blind. Self-employment programs help individuals who want to work for themselves or operate their own businesses. Supported employment helps individuals with significant physical, emotional, mental or multiple disabilities work successfully in the community. Specialized programs assist consumers with vision, hearing or speech disabilities and those with significant disabilities.

Step 6: Employment.

Getting or keeping your job is the GOAL of the vocational rehabilitation program. When you go to work, you become a self-sufficient taxpayer, reducing or eliminating your need for disability benefits or social services. Contact your counselor as soon as you accept a job. Once you start working, your VR counselor will follow up to be sure everything is going well. After you work 90 days successfully you and your counselor will close your vocational rehabilitation case.

Step 7: Post-Employment Services

Even after your case is closed, you may be eligible for post-employment services to keep your job, get your job back or move to a better job. If your situation changes, you can call your counselor to find out about post-employment services.

If you are not satisfied with a decision about your case or have another problem, you can talk with your counselor at any time. Working together to solve the problems is usually the best approach. If you are not satisfied, ask the staff at your Visual Services or Vocational Rehabilitation office to schedule an appointment with your counselor’s supervisor. If you are still having problems, you can ask for a Fair Hearing or use mediation to find a workable solution. You can also bring a civil action asking a state or district court to review the decision. You can also ask an advocate from the Client Assistance Program to help you at any time. CAP will help with the appeals process and talk to the Department of Rehabilitation Services on your behalf. Your counselor will give you a “Rights and Responsibilities” handbook when you apply and when you enter the vocational rehabilitation program. There is more information about your appeals rights and the vocational rehabilitation program. The handbook is available in accessible formats, such as Braille, large print, audio CD or cassette or your other preferred format, to the maximum extent possible. Thank you taking time to learn about the vocational rehabilitation program. If you are ready to go to work at a job that is right for you, take the next step. Apply for vocational rehabilitation and employment services.

Opening doors to opportunity. That’s the mission of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. DRS counselors and staff will open the door to employment success, but you must walk through it to achieve your dreams. To find the nearest Visual Services or Vocational Rehabilitation office, call 1-800-487-4042. Call the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services at 1-800-845-8476. Or visit DRS on the Web at

Copyright 2010 Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services.

Last Modified on Mar 17, 2023
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