By Michelle Motil, Family Support Liaison, Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to help kids. It’s tough being a kid, particularly a kid with a disability. If there’s anything I can do to help make kids’ lives easier and their futures better, I want to do it.
Being the Family Support Liaison for the Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness at OCALI provides me a unique opportunity to ensure kids and their families receive what they need to achieve their best lives. An important aspect of my job is spreading awareness about disability-related information and resources. There is a lot to learn and navigate. However, if I am able to learn it, I can then inform families, which ultimately benefits the children. Family engagement is important for the success of learners with sensory disabilities.
A project I am currently working on and excited about are the MedEd Resources for Families. These guides are designed to connect medical and educational information for families of deaf/hard of hearing (D/HH) or blind/visually impaired (B/VI) children. The two guides serve to build families’ capacity to learn about the resources, professionals, and service agencies available. With this information, they will be better able to make informed decisions for their children.
Before coming to OCALI, I wanted to teach high school English. I firmly believe that a good education can produce compassionate, competent, and happy adults. While I didn’t end up being a teacher, I was given the opportunity to help kids like me—that is, kids who have sensory disabilities. This was the first non-teaching job that I applied for and I don’t regret it for an instant. While I’m not directly in the classroom, I’m still involved in education and I’m helping students, like myself, who are deaf and blind. It makes me feel good knowing that I am helping families to overcome challenges that I have faced.
My favorite parts about working at OCALI are the employees and our opportunities to impact students with disabilities across the education system. Our team is very knowledgeable and everyone has personal experiences that benefit the people we serve.
In my role at OCALI and as a person who is deaf and blind, I personally aspire to empower as many people with disabilities as I can. I believe I can do this by encouraging self-determination and being an advocate to help students and their families navigate through all of the information and support resources available.
I am very curious about everything that does not involve math. I like learning. I’m full of random factoids. I am an avid reader who likes flowery, descriptive language. I enjoy laughing. Given a choice, I would rather spend time outside in nature than inside. Intellectually stimulating conversations are deeply exciting. That about sums me up.
For more information about the Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness, visit https://deafandblindoutreach.org/. You can also engage with Michelle by joining the Outreach Center’s new Facebook group.