Skip to main content

July 2024: Summer is in full Swing

July Transition Newsletter

View as a webpage / Share  |   Foreign language options

Image of DRS Transition masthead with multicolor paint splatters and the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Services logo.


Building Employment Skills Across Oklahoma

In June, many Oklahoma students gained valuable life skills through the Building Employment Skills for Today (BEST) program. BEST is the first part of the BEST STEP summer program. Youth spend a week with Oklahoma Pre-Employment Transition (Pre-ETS) Specialists learning about many important areas such as workplace readiness, job exploration, post-secondary education, work-based learning, and self-advocacy.

BEST is facilitated by highly skilled Pre-ETS Specialists who are committed to teaching students with disabilities that they can live fulfilled, productive lives. These are the same Pre-ETS Specialists who work hand in hand with school districts in all areas of the state throughout each school year, so during BEST, everyone gets to meet one another and begin building a lasting connection that typically translates in students gaining confidence and a clear vision for their future. DRS staff was also present through the week of BEST and also has a chance to work closely with students in a way that allows the students' needs to be better understood.

Staff and participants all seemed to enjoy the time they spent in the BEST program. DRS staff in the Moore-Norman location said, "I am very excited to participate in BEST STEP this year!" Even more exciting, participants in the Idabel BEST location told us they learned a lot about what it takes to succeed at work as a valuable team member.  One participant said, "We want to be an "Involver" in the workplace." An Oklahoma City BEST participant also let us know how much they learned when they said, "asking for what I need to help me accomplish the job is called self-advocacy." Staff and participants alike seemed to have good things to say about their experience in the BEST portion of the BEST STEP program.

Overall, BEST was a win-win where students and staff had fun, and everyone got to know each other better - all in the spirit of preparing for a bright future. For many students, BEST was only the beginning of the summer program. After completing BEST, number of students became eligible to work in a paid summer internship through the Summer Transition Employment Program (STEP).

Internships are conducted with employers located in the communities closest to BEST. Along with the amazing partner employers who allowed the interns to work for them this summer, DRS was able to partner with local Workforce Boards, and with OU's National Center for Disability Education and Training to create unique hands-on work opportunities. Best of luck to all STEP summer interns!


Stay Up-to-date with Transition

July 2024: Inclusive Communications Conference

Image of a graphic, 2024 Inclusive Communications Conference Inclusive minds, Unified hearts: Empower through communication!

Date: Wednesday, July 17th, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Location: Metro Tech; 1900 Springlake Drive, Oklahoma City 73111

Unlock the power of inclusive communication at the 2024 inaugural Inclusive Communication Conference, hosted by the Autism Foundation of Oklahoma, Beyond the Spectrum OK, and the Down Syndrome Association of Oklahoma. The one-day conference aims to bring together K-12 educators, providers, and caregivers for a comprehensive discussion on communication in various forms, particularly addressing the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities and complex communication disorders in academic settings.

Featuring keynote speakers, breakout sessions, panel discussions, and resource vendors from both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors from all over the state of Oklahoma!

Registration for attendees is FREE, but space is limited, so make sure to register today!

CLICK HERE for attendee registration

July 2024:  Adaptive Family Swim

Image of four children in swimming pool, Adaptive Family Swim, Details in paragraph below

OKC Parks and SoonerSUCCESS invite you to attend their Swim Party for families raising a child/adult with a disability or special health care need on Tuesday, July 23rd from 7:30pm-9pm. There will be door prizes and snacks. This event will be held at the Earlywine Aquatic Center in SW OKC. Space is limited and registration is required.

Address:  3101 W 119th St, Oklahoma City, OK  73170

Click here to register  

Summer 2024: TechNow STEM Camp

graphic, TechNow STEM Camp 2024 logos of TechNow, Inc. and OKDRS, images of laptop, t-shirt, bracelets and racecars

TechNow STEM Camp is open to Oklahoma students with disabilities, ages 14-19 who are on an IEP or 504 Plan or who have other documented physical, mental, or cognitive disabilities. At STEM Camp, students will learn different ways to interact with computers, software, and related technologies to design and create: Power Racer dragster, HT Racer, full color patches for jackets, pants, and shirts.

They will get to make shirts, hats, mouse pads, pin back buttons, and bracelets. Students will develop new skills while interacting with peers and making memories that will last a lifetime. The camp is held from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. over three days. Below are the remaining dates and locations of the STEM Camps for Summer 2024:

Davis STEM Camp:
Tuesday – Thursday, July 9-11, 2024
Davis High School
400 E. Atlanta St.
Davis, Ok 73030
From 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Click here to download Davis STEM Camp Flyer   ]

Atoka STEM Camp:
Monday – Wednesday, July 22-24, 2024
Atoka-Kiamichi Technology Center
1763 W. Liberty Rd., Atoka, OK 74525
From 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Click here to download Atoka STEM Camp Flyer   ]

Skiatook STEM Camp:

Monday – Wednesday, July 15-17, 2024
Newman Middle School Gymnasium
2000 W. Oak St.
Skiatook, OK 74070
From 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Click here to download Skiatook STEM Camp Flyer

Tulsa Area and Oklahoma City Area Transition Fairs

Image of a graphic of a chaulk board with Transition Fairs Calendars for the Tulsa Area and Oklahoma City Area, links to calendars below, check back often.

NEW resource! Anyone can learn about transition (resource) fairs happening in both the Greater Tulsa and the Greater Oklahoma City areas.  The calendars can be accessed from a computer through the following links:

Click here for Tulsa area transition fairs

Click here for Oklahoma City area transition fairs


Student/Youth Spotlight

Image of Cooper Smith

Meet Cooper

Serving and inspiring Oklahoma's students with disabilities is our passion; our purpose.  Each month, we hope to highlight a student whose story encourages others. This month, we are shining the spotlight on Cooper, a recent graduate from Berryhill High School. He talked with Tracy Keeley about life, work, and the importance of having a good attitude. Here is how their conversation went:

What are your interests and hobbies?

I like to go on walks, and I like meeting new friends.  I also like running errands with my mom.

What activity do you enjoy the most during the summer?

I like to walk and get a lot of exercise.  I don’t mind the heat at all!

What is your preferred summer drink?

My favorite drink in the summer is unsweet tea.

If I were to provide you with $50,000 to create a positive impact in your community, how would you use it to bring about meaningful change?

I would give most of the money to the homeless.  I would give a little of the money to my mom.

Have you ever had any prior work experiences or volunteer opportunities?

Yes, I have worked at Skates, in Sand Springs.  I cleaned and helped the skaters get their correct size of skates.  I also worked at Berryhill High School through the School Work Study program.

Could you share your experience with the BEST STEP program?

I love the BEST camp because I get to meet new friends.  I have stayed in contact with many of the friends I met at BEST camp.

What is something you learned from the BEST STEP program?

I learned how to participate in a job interview.

What are your plans after you complete BEST STEP?

I plan on working.  I also want to go to BEST camp again.  I had so much fun!

What is your dream career?

I don’t have a particular dream career.  Most of all, I want to help people.

Can you share one challenge you’ve faced due to your disability and how you managed to overcome it?

In school I was bullied sometimes.  I learned that the best thing to do was to ask an adult to help me.

What advice or tips would you like to share with other youth?

My advice to other youth is to be helpful, respectful, and have a good attitude.

What would you like the world to know about you?

I would like the world to know that I am a dreamer and have a great future.

Is there anyone specific you’d like to give a shoutout to?

I would love to give a shoutout to my BEST STEP work skills trainer, Dennis!  I’m very thankful for the job he helped me get.

Transition Student Spotlight; Nominate Someone Today

How to nominate a Student:

If you know a current or former student who has participated in Transition events or who has found success through Transition services, please let us know by submitting this nomination form.

Click here to nominate a student


Transition Resources

Image of logo, SunHive Collective

SunHive Collective

SunHive is a day program for those needing higher support in specific areas and focuses on what they call “meeting Members where they are at”.

Located on 20 acres in Northeast Norman, they provide a homestead (non-residential) with countless opportunities to help their “hive” operate.

Natural freedom to participate–guided by a daily routine of choices - create additional ways for their members to learn proper socialization, emotional regulation and learn more about themselves along the way. SunHive Collective also offers additional social events that are open to the community. Keep an eye on social media and their website for those announcements each month.

Those who are interested in volunteering or in learning more about SunHive Collective can contact:

Loralei Gann, Co-Founder and Director
Phone: 405-562-0457



All Social Media: @sunhivecollective

Image of logo, OKDRS Business Services Program

DRS Business Services Program

A program of Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, Business Services Program (BSP) is a team of employment-focused professionals who are focused on connecting employers with some of their area's brightest and most highly motivated job seekers with disabilities.

Often overlooked, people with disabilities can be a great asset to employers. BSP staff stands ready to successfully bring the two groups together.

They do this by strengthening and helping maintain the knowledge of employers on a variety of disability-related employment topics, and by working with job seekers on critical job placement areas such as determining a career path, creating a resume, applying for a job, interviewing for a job, and excelling in the job.

If you are a "job seeker with a disability "looking for help with job placement, please contact your DRS Counselor about BSP services or inquire about our employment services at 800-487-4042.

If you are an "employer" looking to learn more about the advantages of hiring people with disabilities contact Yasmin Avila Guillen at .


Grant Opportunities

Here are some exciting grant opportunities to be aware of:

Kids in Need Foundation: Supply A Teacher program*

·         The program seeks to remove the burden of having to provide necessary resources from teachers in underserved schools.

·         Teachers receive items they need to fuel a full semester of active learning for their entire class of students.

·         Visit  for more information about the program.

Pervasive Parenting Center: Classroom Grant*

·         Offers a grant of up to $200 per school year to local special education departments.

·         This grant is available to schools in LeFlore, Sequoyah, Latimer, Adair, Cherokee, and Haskell Counties.

·         Applications are accepted throughout the school year and are awarded based on approval by the board and pending funding.

·         Visit for more information about the program.


Meet Dylan

Dylan Sansom comes to us as an Employment Consultant and Work Skills Trainer at the National Center for Disability Education and Training (NDCET) through OU Outreach with the Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS). He has been in this role for a year and a half and absolutely loves it. Recently, he purchased a house in Midwest City where he has two dogs, Bella, and Sophie that keep him busy! Dylan was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, but was raised in Edmond, Oklahoma. Before joining OU, he worked at SkyZone in Edmond for five years, spending a year and a half as a manager.

Dylan has two stepbrothers with autism and has been an advocate for people with disabilities throughout his life. He is pursuing his passion and empowering students and adults with disabilities in their daily lives, whether in the workplace, at school, or with family and friends. Dylan has also been awarded Class Clown within the DRS Transition Realm. He cherishes his friends and loves traveling with them. The five of them have been to Denver, Colorado and Las Vegas, Nevada together. Their next destination that they are shooting for is Italy or Mexico. Despite Dylan’s love for travel, he is not a fan of airplanes. He is an avid Seattle Seahawks fan and has a passion for soccer and football.

Image of Dylan Sansom

Dylan Sansom
Work Skills Trainer
Vocational Rehabilitation
ph. 405-657-9938

Meet Sharon

Sharon Hultgren, a Texas native, is a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) professional in Tulsa. She recently joined the team after spending many years in a variety of disability advocacy and disaster response roles. She studied Child Development in college but did not immediately pursue a career working with young people. With her knowledge in that field, Sharon brings a lot to the DRS team. She is passionate about helping others and is looking forward to continuing this career path in her role supporting students with disabilities. Sharon grew up in a family of eight and is the proud daughter of a fallen firefighter who lost his life in the line-of-duty.  Although that experience was difficult, it gave Sharon perspective on the beauty of life. As  part of DRS, she hopes to do all she can to help others live the best life they can. Sharon is a dedicated, fun, and smart professional who believes advocating for people with disabilities is important work. We are lucky to have her on the team.

Image of Sharon Hultgren

Sharon Hultgren
Rehabilitation Technician
Vocational Rehabilitation
ph. 918-581-2330


What is Transition?

The Transition program provides services to prepare students with disabilities for employment and life after high school. Services may include career counseling, vocational evaluation, work adjustment training, on-the-job training, work-study, and job development and placement. The Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired divisions jointly run the Transition program so the youth can easily move into adult services when it is time.

Start the Application Process

Contact Us:

Renee Sansom Briscoe
Phone: 405-951-3488

Chris Compton
Phone: 405-605-9651

Tracy Keeley
Phone: 918-581-2322

Kevin Randall II
Phone: 405-255-9663

Image of Logo, Oklahoma Rehabilitation Services

Image of Logo, Oklahoma Works - a proud partner of the American Job Center network  [ ]


Image of Empowering Oklahomans with Disabilities, with a paint brush.

We can help create the blueprint for your youth’s success  

Select the needed language above