A Look Back at OCALICON 2019: Stories from Attendees


On November 20-22, more than 3,100 state and national leaders, K-12 education leaders and practitioners, service providers, policy makers, families and self-advocates from 39 states and three countries gathered in Columbus, Ohio at OCALICON. Now in its 13th year, OCALICON 2019 had record-breaking attendance—a trend that has continued over the past three years.

Rather than writing a traditional recap article, we decided to ask a few attendees to share their personal experiences at OCALICON. Don’t forget to save the dates for next year’s conference—November 11-13, 2020, once again at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Details will be coming soon!

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Inspiring Change: A New Podcast from OCALI

Inspiring Change Podcast logo

Hot off the press is OCALI’s brand new podcast, Inspiring Change. Take an audio journey with OCALI through our monthly forum of stories and connections from our ongoing work of inspiring change and promoting access for people with disabilities.

Through candid interviews and conversations with leaders and partners in the field of disability, as well as parents, community members, self-advocates, and others, listeners will discover and understand how different ideas, perspectives, and experiences help fuel OCALI’s continued efforts to impact lives in Ohio and beyond. 

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Be Our Guest—Creating an Inclusive, Fun-Filled Family Dining Experience

Imagine that it’s a typical Saturday night, and you and your family head to a local restaurant for dinner. You walk in and there’s a line out the door. You see service staff buzzing around with trays of food, kitchen staff spouting out orders, and dozens of tables squeezed close together. While this sensory-stimulating environment may not interfere with most people’s dining experience, families with loved ones with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may not be able to easily dine out because of the challenging environment restaurants present.

Designed to provide an inclusive, sensory-friendly, and fun night out for people with autism and their families, Hospitality Listens is a free, dining event hosted by the Hospitality Management Program at The Ohio State University, in partnership with OCALI.

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Office of Policy Update – November 2019

Office of Policy logo

As noted in the October edition of OCALI Now, efforts are underway to develop an action plan to reduce custody relinquishment and improve outcomes for multi-system youth and their families. As part of the Multi-System Youth Action Plan Committee, the Office of Policy is leading a work group focused on modernizing Family and Children First Council, and continues to raise issues and concerns shared by families who have multi-system youth with disabilities. Other work groups include: data; peer mentoring; high fidelity wrap around; safety-net funding; and legal/financial conditions that lead to custody relinquishment.

The Multi-System Youth Action Plan Committee and working groups will meet throughout November and into December. According to the Governor’s office, “Based on this evaluation and action plan, funds will be made available for both sustainability efforts and technical assistance.” Additional coverage of this issue can be found in a WOSU radio broadcast or this Columbus Dispatch article

Check Out Our Newest Resources

People with disabilities and those who support them need access to the right materials, technology, and training to ensure they can live their best lives for their whole lives.

To build their capacity, OCALI provides online training, coaching, professional development, and technical assistance to school districts, human service agencies, families, and many others. Using evidence-based strategies with real-life examples, we help to increase people’s knowledge and enhance their practices to better serve and support individuals, families, and professionals.

Check out our latest offerings and resources.

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5 Things You Don’t Want to Miss at OCALICON 2019

Ocalicon 2019 featuring Inclusive Education Leadership Institute

November 20-22, 2019
Greater Columbus Convention Center | Columbus, OH 

OCALICON is the nation’s premier conference where 3,000+ participants from around the nation and across the globe 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.

With only about a month to go, we couldn’t be more excited to welcome you to Columbus, Ohio! For those already registered or those thinking about attending for the first time, here are a few things you don’t want to miss:

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