Elevating the Voice for Disability and Access Across the Lifespan: OCALI’s Office of Policy

Office of Policy

For the last four years, under the leadership of Melissa Bacon, Director of Government Relations and Stakeholder Engagement, OCALI’s Office of Policy has been recognized as a trusted, third-party resource to help policy-makers, business leaders, and other decision-makers link research to real life and real life to policy initiatives that benefit Ohioans.

“Public policy has the potential to significantly impact the lives of people with disabilities and their families,” said Melissa. “When people with disabilities are left out of the process, when best-practices, research, and data don’t include disability, and when funding decisions don’t consider disability, we’re missing an important voice. We want to make sure that people with disabilities and their families are always part of the discussion and their voices are heard.”

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Julie Stewart: Bringing the Classroom Perspective to OCALI’s Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness

Julie Stewart, Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness

No stranger to the classroom, Julie Stewart uses her 12 years of past experiences as a classroom teacher and educational consultant working with deaf and hard of hearing students to help increase successful outcomes in her work at OCALI.

As an Outreach Specialist for OCALI’s Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness, Julie works to connect resources and foster relationships to equip communities to support families and learners where they are, with what they need, when they need it.

“The transition from the classroom to working at OCALI has inspired a lot of professional growth. While I may not have direct contact with students in my current role, I am impacting school environments in a different way. And, ultimately, when schools are positively impacted, students are positively impacted.”

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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.

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The Assistive Technology & Accessible Educational Materials Center’s Julie Pashovich

For more than 29 years, Julie Pashovich has been working and serving students who are blind and/or visually impaired.

“What I love most about my job is being able to provide students with materials and resources that are accessible for them,” said Julie. “Being able to have the right materials and tools is a critical part of their learning and success, and being a part of that process is special.”

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Promoting the Power of Accessibility: The Assistive Technology and Accessible Educational Materials (AT&AEM) Center

Access for all. That’s the philosophy that guides the Assistive Technology and Accessible Educational Materials (AT&AEM) Center at OCALI.

“In our work, we strive to help teachers, administrators, families, and people with disabilities to understand the power of accessibility,” said Jan Rogers, Program Director at the AT&AEM Center. “Accessibility can be provided through technology supports, creating accessible documents, materials and products, and designing activities inclusively.”

With 13 staff members and consultants, the AT&AEM Center is a responsive resource center that provides accessible educational materials, access to assistive technologies, and highly-specialized technical assistance and professional development support.

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Q&A With the Family Center at OCALI

The Family Center at OCALI connects families to the information they need regarding services, supports, training and resources, including the free OCALI Lending Library. It offers training and products to help families and to support agencies serving them.

Learn more about the Family Center in this Q&A with the program director, Teresa Kobelt.

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