Jody Fisher and the Center for the Young Child: A Passionate and Rewarding Career in Developmental Disabilities

With nearly 40 years in the field of developmental disabilities, Jody Fisher has a passion for serving and impacting others. As a consultant with OCALI’s Center for the Young Child (CYC), Jody brings an extensive background that spans direct service and teaching, to state and national policy work.

“Advances in brain science have provided us with a new roadmap of how we approach early care and education, and how important our earliest experiences are in the formation of our lifelong health and well-being. Having foundational work experience in home, classroom, and clinical settings, I have learned that services and supports can be more responsive and meaningful if our view considers the whole child and family— the day-to-day experiences, routines, surroundings, and interactions all come in to play,” shares Jody.  

“Part of my role as a consultant for the CYC is to connect dots and look for partnerships and opportunities that support OCALI’s mission at the local, state, and national levels. It’s the diverse perspectives and experiences with people and organizations, the flow of new ideas, and seeing possibilities turn to realities that fuel me,” she says. “What I find energizing about my role at OCALI is working alongside the next generation of leadership in the field of developmental disabilities. It is a privilege to be part of such a talented group of professionals.”

One of the most exciting areas of Jody’s work in the CYC is promoting a solid understanding of how important it is to have the best start to life as early as possible and how to connect people with the right resources at the right time. From families and individuals to professionals and experts—Jody enjoys seeing the benefits and impact of early support and intervention.

“Early in my career, I had the opportunity to work with an infant with developmental disabilities in her home. Many years later, I ran into her mother who shared with me how important those early visits had been for her as a parent, and that her daughter was now an adult living on her own and employed in the community. Yes, it showed my age, but on a serious note, it was a testament to the impact that early intervention can have in setting the trajectory for positive life outcomes.”

For Jody, inspiring change starts with relationships. Her affiliation and involvement with many agencies, organizations, and associations serving and advocating for Ohioans with developmental disabilities has been a source of motivation.

“We can be much smarter in our thinking and way more creative with our ideas when we sit down with the collective brainpower of a diverse group of people to innovate. For me, that is what inspiring change is all about.”  

The CYC values the relationships it has with state agency partners, educators, service providers, and other early care and education stakeholders, and most importantly, individuals and families by encouraging this collective thinking and openness that leads to positive and lasting change.

Outside of OCALI, Jody enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She has been happily married for 27 years and has two millennial sons which keep her constantly challenging herself to “raise the bar” on her technology skills. A self-proclaimed “nature lover,” Jody loves the outdoors and fitness activities. She shares, “I have spent a life-long career in the field of developmental disabilities working to create opportunities for individuals and families to live their best lives. But truth be told, it has been those individuals and families that have impacted my life so deeply in ways too many to count, and I am forever grateful.”