OCALICON 2018: More Than ‘Just a Conference’

“I’ve been coming to OCALICON since 2007 and I return every year, because in my opinion, OCALICON is the best conference anywhere.”

Imagine connecting with and learning from experts, practitioners, individuals and families, service providers, and many others from across the U.S. and around the world—all in one place. That’s exactly what you’ll get by attending OCALICON 2018, November 14-16, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, OH.

OCALICON is the nation’s premier autism and disabilities conference where 2,000+ participants from across the nation and around the world come together to learn, network, and share research, best practices, and resources to support people with autism spectrum disorder, sensory disabilities, and low-incidence disabilities across the lifespan.

Three presenters talking to an audience with OCALICON 2018 logo

By the Numbers

39 states     7 countries    250 sessions       400+ presenters       90+ exhibitors

This year, OCALI is excited to continue its ongoing partnership with the Ohio Department of Education’s Office for Exceptional Children (ODE-OEC) by integrating the 2018 Special Education Leadership Institute with OCALICON. Through this partnership, attendees will have the opportunity to extend their professional learning and networking experiences.

“The Ohio Department of Education’s Office for Exceptional Children has always partnered with OCALICON,” said Shawn Henry, Executive Director at OCALI. “This year, we are working with them to bring more focus to leadership and what we can do to support leaders from across the state and nation to better serve people with disabilities and their schools.”

“There are so many benefits to partnering with OCALI on this event,” explains Dr. Kimberly Monachino, Director, ODE-OEC. “One benefit is the collaboration we share with the different agencies. But more importantly is our shared passion for serving students with disabilities. I can promise that you will leave this event engaged, inspired, and renewed.”

With three days of speakers, sessions, networking, idea sharing, and FUN, OCALICON is unlike the typical conference experience.

Check out our dynamic speakers, events within the event, and new additions for 2018!

HS Dr. Rosemarie Allen.jpg

Rosemarie Allen
Featured Speaker – Special Education Leadership Institute | Wednesday, November 14
Dr. Rosemarie Allen is a nationally-recognized leader and expert who speaks frequently on the topics of Culturally Responsive Practices, Cultural Competence, Micro-Aggressions, Racial Disproportionality, and Culturally Responsive Practices . Learn more.


Christopher Gillberg

Keynote Speaker | Wednesday, November 14 | 9:45-11:15 am
Christopher Gillberg is a professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He heads the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre. Learn more.



Bill East

Keynote Speaker | Thursday, November 15 |9:45-11:15 am
Bill East, Ed.D., is executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE). Learn more


“OCALICON is great because the relationships that are formed are pivotal, not just professionally, but for some of us at a personal level. It’s a fantastic conference.”

Events within the Event

Braille AT Forum for Families and Professionals
Tuesday, November 13 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Wednesday, November 14 | 8:00 am – 5:45 pm
The Braille AT Forum focuses on student braille literacy, educator braille competencies, assistive technologies to support braille, and more. Access to the Braille AT Forum is included in your OCALICON 2018 registration. Learn more.

Summit on Sensory Disabilities
Wednesday, November 14 | 8:00 am – 9:15 am
The Summit is designed for education professionals and parents who work with or support individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired. Access to the Summit on Sensory Disabilities is included in your OCALICON 2018 registration. Learn more.

University Summit
Thursday, November 15 | 2:45 – 5:45 pm
After a 2-year hiatus, the University Summit returns to OCALICON 2018! Don’t miss your chance to connect with other scholars, researchers, professors, and higher education personnel from across the country as we collectively share ideas and strategies for supporting pre-service educators. Learn more.

“Being here at OCALICON is perfect for me, because I’ve already met people from Connecticut, Arizona, Washington, California. I mean, everybody is here … If you have a passion for people with special needs or if you have a passion for just being a part and making an impact on your community, you need to be here.”

What’s New for 2018?

Artists and Entrepreneurs Showcase
Thursday, November 15 | 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Friday, November 16 | 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
The Artists and Entrepreneurs Showcase features artists, individuals, and companies/organizations who are on the autism spectrum or who have a disability.

“We’re excited to showcase the talents and skills of artists and entrepreneurs in the new featured area,” said Simon Buehrer, conference and events manager. “It’s one way OCALI looks to emphasize and support growth and development across the lifespan.” Stop by to learn about their challenges and successes – and bring your cash or credit card. You’re probably going to find something you want to buy – and can maybe even check off a few items on your holiday shopping list.

Local Marketplace
Friday, November 16 | 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
To help celebrate the 12th year of hosting the conference in Columbus, OH, OCALI is inviting local merchants to attend and showcase their products and merchandise during exhibit hours on Friday only. From artisanal soaps, handcrafted items, t-shirts, and more, you’ll find a wide variety of unique, creative, high-quality items. “These are some of our favorite local businesses,” said Jill Hudson, OCALICON co-coordinator. “It’s a great chance for attendees to find something uniquely Columbus – and commemorate your experience at OCALICON 2018.”

Join us in Columbus, OH on November 14-16, 2018. Learn more and register now!