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Transition For Youth with Disabilities

DRS Transition offers students with disabilities who are eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) or Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI) a variety of job-related services. These prepare them for the future workforce and life after high school. Specially trained Transition counselors are assigned to each high school and able to help students with the following programs:

  • Vocational counseling and guidance:  through direct contact, the DRS counselor assists teachers, parents and students in developing appropriate career goals.
  • Vocational assessment and evaluation:  helps determine students' employment-related strengths and interests and provides recommended career fields to investigate
  • School Work Study (SWS) is arranged through school contracts. From jobs at the school, its district or the community, students earn job readiness skills, a minimum wage paycheck and high school credits.
  • Work Adjustment Training (WAT) is a program that provides jobs through school/community contracts. It gives students a firm foundation in job skills. Because of this, students are better prepared for competitive, integrated employment after high school.
  • On-the-Job Training (OJT) provides students the opportunity to obtain community employment. The students’ jobs are in their career of choice with permanent employment as a goal. This program is available during the second semester of their senior year.
  • Supported Employment (SE) helps senior Transition students with the most significant disabilities into permanent employment. A job coach helps in searching for jobs, filling out applications, interviewing, learning the job and working toward independence on the job.
  • Job Development and Placement specialists help students make job searches more successful. They help students identify their interests and strengths. The specialist and student then find possible businesses with job openings, complete the job application, and prepare for the interview. Throughout the process, the specialists will work closely with the DRS counselor.

After graduation, DRS counselors and students continue to work toward vocational and employment goals. Some services are available to all eligible individuals without charge. At this point, individuals may be asked to share the cost of some services, depending on income and financial resources.

To find the DRS office that serves your high school, follow this link.

[A young man in a restaurant in a uniform]

Man #1: My name is Dee,

[same man in hip clothes standing in front of nice house and Tessla]

Man #1: and I dream big.

[A young woman is a large room with chairs around, wearing a Mercy uniform and a badge. DRS logo appears on the screen]

Woman #1: I need a good job to get what I want, so I signed up for DRS Transition.

Man #1: Are you a teen with a disability?

Man #2 using American Sign Language: Get free career counseling.

Woman #1: Work experience.

[A young woman who is visually impaired outside on the sidewalk in a wheelchair waving handfuls of money]
Woman #2: And a paycheck!

Man #1: DRS Transition helped us get ready for life.

Woman #1: DREAM BIG!

Man #1: DREAM BIG!

[DRS logo with phone numbers and website sliding in]
Voice over: Contact the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. 800-487-4042 or

3 Questions Under 3 Minutes with Renee Samson Briscoe

Fast numbers counting down from 3 minutes to zero and a kitchen timer rings. Voice over says “Three questions under three minutes” and a number three falls from the top of the screen and the words minutes under questions trade places to reveal the title 3 questions under 3 minutes.

Dana: Hi everyone. Today we're here with Renee Sansom Briscoe, the DRS Coordinator and she's here to answer three questions under, three minutes. Hey Renee how are you doing?

Renee: I'm doing great Dana, thank you for having me today.

Dana: What is Transition?

Renee: Wow Transition is so many things. And I just want you to know that it is a passion of mine, but let me start by saying that Transition is a process that students and families take a dive into for life after high school, to identify their desired outcomes and to plan their community and school experiences, assuring that the students have the acquired.... have acquired the knowledge and skills they have to live outside of the high school years and their, you know, desired goals.  The idea of Transition is very simple but it is a very complex, daunting task and you know, we are here, with the Department of Education and DHS and DDS and OU Pre-Employment Services contract. We're here to weave together the appropriate combination of education services and social services for our clients.

We also have summer programs throughout the summers.

We have multiple programs throughout the year for different students.

They can ... some of those programs you can be a potentially eligible client, you can be a DRS client. There's so many things that we can offer for students to help them navigate that life after high school decision.

So it's super exciting. Transition is exciting

Dana: For a student to join Transition, what age do they have to be?

Renee: So a student can receive pre-employment Transition services, which is Pre-ETS at the age of 14 and they can also be potentially eligible, which also means they can be under the age of 22 and the age of 14 and have some kind of documented disability and be attending some kind of educational program, whether that be high school, vo-tech, college.

Now at DRS, for DRS services age 15 1/2 is how ... is what age we actually start the application process and at 16 is where services usually get involved because at that age you're able to legally go to work.

Dana: Are all students in special education courses automatically in the Transition program?

Renee: No, they're not automatically eligible you must provide some kind of documented disability to the counselor; however, we do work with our social security. You can be presumed eligible if you if you're getting Social Security and then at some point, you would need to provide medical documentation to your counselor so that they can update your group of disability. So no one's actually like automatically in the program. There are steps you have to go through.

(Kitchen timer starts ticking and rings.)

Dana: Very good. Well thank you Renee and that's 3 Questions Under 3 Minutes.

Renee: Thank you, bye.

Pop style theme music, voice over saying “three questions under three minutes.” DRS logo comes in piece by piece, with 2021 at the bottom.

Training For The Hispanic Community - Disabilities are Abilities: Realizing Dreams within Special Education - (Language Barrier vs Parental Advocacy Longitudinal Study).

We are working on a research project with Oklahoma State University (OSU) and the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS). The purpose of this research project is to support the Hispanic families in Oklahoma communities regarding, advocacy for their children with special needs’ progression through PreK-12 public schooling and into adulthood by providing informational workshops in Spanish.

Special education is a targeted and specific process complicated by consistently changing special education laws, updated technology, and the newest evidence-based research practices. By offering workshops in native language, the hope is all parents have access to the knowledge and information to navigate and advocate for their child within the special education process.

The trainings consist of SPED Law and Parents Rights, for example, IDEA  and the IEP, SPED Documents, for example, the IEP within the SPED process, Transition to Adulthood, for example, DRS and services, and Advocacy, for example, the three parts of advocacy for parental involvement. Please contact Claudia Maldonado-Otto at OR Renee Sansom Briscoe at for more information!

For more information in Spanish click here



Entrenamiento Para La Comunidad Hispana - Discapacidades Son Habilidades: Realizando los sueños dentro la educación especial:

Estamos trabajando en un proyecto de investigación con la Universidad del estado de Oklahoma (OSU) y el departamento de servicios de rehabilitación (DRS). El propósito de esta investigación es para apoyar a las familias hispanas en las comunidades de Oklahoma sobre la defensa del progreso de los niños especiales que atienden el colegio público de Pre-kínder al 12 grado hasta la edad adulta y proveer talleres de información en español. La educación especial es un proceso especifico y dirigido que se complica por los consistentes cambios de leyes de educación especial, con la tecnología actualizada, y la más nueva practica de investigación basada en evidencia. Ofreciendo talleres en la lengua nativa, tendríamos la esperanza que todos los padres tengan acceso al conocimiento e información de navegar y abogar el proceso de educación especial para el bien de sus hijos. ¡Póngase en contacto con Claudia Maldonado-Otto en O Renee Sansom Briscoe en para obtener más información!



Youth Attend Independent Living Skills Camp from Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Transition offers summer camps for transition-aged youth to learn independent living skills, job skills or just to have fun interacting with other kids with disabilities or who are blind and visually impaired.

Webinars and Resources

NEXT STEPS - Parents — your child with disabilities can achieve their dreams of an education and an independent future. Learn about the services we offer that can assist your child in securing a bright future.

To learn more, contact Renee Sansom at On the web at,or call 1-800-845-8476.

Transition School to Work - Dream Big Video

( 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

Share Fair Round 1 - Featuring Central Tech's Shelly Rentz, Sooner SUCCESS' Erin Strayhorn, Developmental Disability Services' Jennifer Upshaw and Department of Rehabilitation Services' Renee Sansom.

A screen shot of the presenters

Share Fair Round 1

Share Fair Round 2 - Featuring DRS' Jason Price and Ali Bolz regarding Social Security and Benefits Planning.

Speaker Ali Bolz

Share Fair Round 2

Project SEARCH

Are you a student who has a disability between the age of 18 to 24 and want to earn some work experience? Project SEARCH may be for you.

This program introduces a group of young adults to the workplace with real world job experiences over the course of nine months through a nonpaid internship. 

Oklahoma Transition Council

How to apply

Step 1: Locate an office nearest you, use this link to find the state office and contact information that serves your area.

Step 2: Call for an appointment

Step 3: Fill out an application

Step 4: Gather as much medical information as you can

Step 5: Show up for the appointment to complete the application


You may complete an online self-referral, and someone from DRS will contact you to initiate the application process.


Keys to Success

  • Keep in contact with your counselor
  • Let him or her know if you move or change phone numbers
  • Complete any assignments


A person may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if he or she has a significant physical, emotional, mental, or learning disability that is a substantial barrier to employment and requires VR services to prepare for, obtain, keep or return to work.

A person may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation from Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired if he or she has blindness or a significant visual impairment that is a substantial barrier to employment and requires SBVI services to prepare for, obtain, keep or return to work.

What to bring

Copy of documentation verifying the disabling condition(s), copy of academic transcript(s), Social Security card, picture ID, immigration status documentation if not a US citizen, medical insurance verification, if available.

Oklahoma Works brings all of our state’s workforce resources together, connecting employers, employees and job-seekers to information and programs that help build Oklahoma’s workforce.