OCALI NOW | Issue 28 • May 2021

OCALICONLINE 2021 15 year anniversary logo
OCALICONLINE 15 year anniversary

Celebrating 15 Years of Inspiration Into Action

OCALICONLINE Returns This November

Inspiration can come in many forms. A conversation, a connection, a bit of information that sparks a new perspective. Sometimes it happens gradually, and sometimes it happens in an instant. Inspiration opens the door to imagine new possibilities. And action breathes life into those possibilities that can bring about real change.

As the premier autism and disabilities conference, OCALICONLINE reaches across disciplines, age groups, and audiences to impact people’s lives for their entire lives. Along with our partners, we bring you world-class speakers and sessions with a variety of experiences and perspectives, so there’s something for everyone. 

Reflections Over the Past 15 Years

OCALICONLINE 2021 marks the second year of hosting the event exclusively online, but the 15th year of providing participants with ample opportunities to transform inspiration into action. As we reflect on the last 15 years, we take stock of not only how far we have come within the field of disabilities and as a conference, but as a society. Much has changed. We look back on the last 15 years knowing we have come a long way, but we look ahead to the next 15 years knowing there is still much work to do.

Everett Bradley is one such person who has seen that change over the last 15 years, ultimately experiencing on a very personal level what it looks like to turn inspiration into action. Bradley joined the conference team for the inaugural conference in 2007, to oversee the numerous volunteers needed to stage the event. His business background enabled him to efficiently streamline and coordinate the volunteers, and his role was largely behind-the-scenes. It wasn’t until his youngest daughter was diagnosed with autism that his trajectory changed. He was no longer just the volunteer coordinator. He was now a beneficiary of the ideas, strategies, and expertise offered through OCALICON.

“The knowledge I learned from OCALICON gave me the courage and strength to start asking questions,” Bradley shares. “Personally, there is no doubt that the conference was the catalyst for my family into understanding my daughter.”

“Everett has been an essential team member from that very first conference in 2007,” says Simon Buehrer, one of the conference coordinators. “We’re thrilled and humbled to hear his personal story of how discoveries and connections he made through OCALICON had a direct impact on his family.”

“That’s exactly why we do this.”

“OCALICON focuses on supporting needs across the lifespan,” says Jill Hudson, another one of the conference coordinators. “So, we hope Everett and his family will continue to benefit from OCALICON as his daughter grows through the schooling years and into adulthood.”

“It’s been such an honor and privilege to be part of this community of professionals, parents, and self-advocates and see it grow and evolve over the last 15 years. It’s important to celebrate all their achievements and accomplishments in 2021 – and even more exciting to think about all the opportunities that are in progress and the possibilities on the horizon.”

New for 2021

The planning team is always looking for fresh new content, ideas, and presenters to keep attendees engaged and inspired. This year, the event will include several new features, including:

  • Expanding the event from three days to four, allowing time for additional content and a modified structure with more breaks between sessions.
  • Hosting an Artist Spotlight, showcasing the talents and skills of people on the spectrum or with a disability—from artists to musicians, filmmakers to poets.
  • Inviting community members from around the state to serve as hosts and emcees.
  • Offering one single closing keynote instead of a keynote every day.

Introducing Our Keynote

Judy Heumann keynote for OCALICONLINE 2021
Judy Heumann

OCALICONLINE 2021 will feature Judy Heumann, a lifelong advocate for the rights of disabled people. She contracted polio in 1949 and began to use a wheelchair for mobility. She is an internationally recognized leader in the disability rights community, and featured in the Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary Crip Camp, released in 2020.

“Judy has been leading the charge for disability rights for decades, and it’s an honor to host her,” shared Courtney Yantes, event specialist. “She holds a perspective of not only someone who has been down in the trenches doing the hard work of advocacy and fighting for disability rights, but she’s also been flying up at the highest levels of the government, seeing a much larger picture than most of us will ever see.”  

Join Us November 16-19

For some of you, OCALICONLINE 2021 may be a starting point. Your young child is newly diagnosed, and you’re looking for answers and connections. For others, OCALICONLINE 2021 is a continuation of years spent investing in and raising up a new generation of students. Or you may be a self-advocate celebrating your yearly reunion with peers and colleagues. Whether it’s your first time at OCALICON, or you’ve been with us for all 15 years, each of us has an important role to play in this experience. The knowledge we share and connections we make when we come together as a community, empower each of us to move Inspiration into Action.

Don’t miss OCALICONLINE 2021 November 16-19. Join us online. We’re saving you a front-row seat.

Supporting your personal and professional learning this summer

Supporting Your Personal and Professional Learning This Summer

The 2020-2021 school year has been unlike anything we have ever experienced—transitioning from virtual to hybrid to in-person learning models, managing stints of quarantine, and in many cases, trying to figure out how to meet students and individuals where they were at any given time. It was a year that tested us and pushed us in new and different ways, and yet it was a year that also inspired us to be more flexible, innovative, and creative.

As many educators and parents prepare take a ‘pause’ from the school year—taking a mental health break, planning the long-awaited vacation, or just getting ready to enjoy a more relaxed schedule, we want to remind you that we are here to support your professional and personal learning and have a variety of resources available—many of which are free and several that offer the opportunity to earn graduate or continuing education credit. You can access these resources any time, in your own home, and at your own pace.

For people with disabilities and those supporting them—families, educators, caregivers, service providers, and others—it is essential to have the latest knowledge, skills, resources, and tools to ensure they can live their best lives for their whole lives. For more than 15 years, OCALI has been a trusted source of providing high quality research, resources, and training.

As you consider your professional learning plans—for yourself or your teams—OCALI has compiled some resources to get you started.

InspirED Virtual Learning Series

Last fall, OCALI, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education’s Office for Exceptional Children, launched the InspirED Virtual Learning Series. The free learning series consists of 30-minute recorded, facilitated sessions focused on increasing successful engagement of diverse learners in a remote/virtual instructional environment, linking the users with appropriate resources and tools. The InspirED Video Gallery has recently been reorganized by audience – for families and professionals – and by topic, including: accessibility, autism, early childhood, family and community, PBIS, remote learning, transition, universal design for learning, wellbeing and self-care, along with assessment and data for professionals. As always, all sessions include interactive transcripts, audio description, and supporting materials, and the opportunity to earn a professional development certificate by completing a survey at the end of each session. It’s a great way to get FREE professional development hours.

Ask Abbey: Developing Literacy Skills for Learners Who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing Gallery

This interactive learning series is designed to provide practical, easy-to-use strategies to increase auditory skills, visual language skills, and reading and writing print for learners who are deaf or hard of hearing. Each 30-minute session includes a 10-minute webinar with simple tips and strategies, followed by 20 minutes of Q&A with Abbey Weaver, an itinerant teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing in Ohio. Certificates of completion for the 30 minute sessions are available and provided on completion of the webinar and accompanying survey.

Addressing Challenging Behavior Webinar Series

Every person is unique and has different strengths, talents, and skills. When addressing challenging behaviors for people with complex needs, it is essential to individualize the process in order to develop effective intervention plans. This 14-part webinar series is based in positive behavior intervention supports (PBIS), functional behavior assessment (FBA), and behavior intervention planning. The series explores the belief system and a systematic process essential to understanding and addressing challenging behavior. It also includes team-based strategies that focus on matching evidence-based interventions to a target behavior, after in-depth exploration of the individual’s strengths and challenges. This series is ideal for anyone supporting school-age children, adolescents, and adults. Inclusive of the components of PBIS, this training can support educational teams working with students in need of Tier 3 support.

Assistive Technology Internet Modules (ATIM)

ATIM is designed to provide high-quality information and professional development on assistive technology (AT) for educators, professionals, families, persons with disabilities, and others. Each module guides you through case studies, instructional videos, pre- and post-assessments, a glossary, and much more. ATIM modules are available at no cost. Fee-based professional development certificates and graduate credit hours are available and continuing education credits are coming soon.

Suite of Resources for Early Childhood Professionals

If you’re an early childhood professional who needs hours toward your credential, or you want to build your knowledge about early childhood topics, the Center for the Young Child’s Suite of Resources is a great place to start. These modules have received the Ohio Approved (OA) designation and are also eligible for Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities continuing professional development (CPD) unit in the area of developmental specialist/supervisor, EI service coordinator/supervisor.  If you’re a developmental specialist who needs hours toward your credential or you are an early care or education professional who wants to build their knowledge around child growth and development, check out the Early Care and Education Seminars.

The Journey: Webinar Series Video Gallery

The transition from school to adult life is an ongoing journey. Youth with complex and unique needs often require teams to have access to a variety of tools, resources, and people to plan and prepare for the future. These webinars are designed for teams assisting youth with complex support needs and their families to better navigate the process of the own journey to adulthood. If you missed a session or want to go back and re-watch, check out the video gallery. This gallery is also a great resource to share with colleagues and others who may benefit from the information.

10 Minutes with Barb and Ron and #UDLChat

Join Barb and Ron for 10 minutes of light and fun chats infused with a perspective on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). These videos are geared toward parents, educators, college students, and administrators. Also check out the #UDLchat, which occurs every 1st and 3rd Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern on Twitter.

From My Perspective

Created by OCALI’s Family and Community Outreach Center, From My Perspective is a podcast featuring people with disabilities, their families, friends, and others in their lives sharing about everyday life, their interests, opinions, and more. Check out the latest episodes on belonging or check out other past episodes.

OCALI’s Lending Library & Know More Do More Campaign Resources

During the month of April, OCALI shared information and resources from our Lending Library by launching the #KnowMoreDoMore campaign. These resources featured different topics, including social-emotional wellbeing, supporting family interactions, early childhood, supporting independence in adolescence and adulthood, and more. The OCALI Lending Library is a great resource to connect you with accessible materials, resources, and technology. We offer Ohioans an extensive collection of FREE books, videos, assistive technology devices, assessment tools, and other resources that are available to borrow and shipped directly at no charge.