OCALI NOW | Issue 40 • August 2022

Planning for Transition Assessment, checklist image with people
Planning for Transition Assessment

How to Use Partners and Data to Help Students Set, Refine, and Achieve Post-School Goals 

Schools and agencies have an overlapping responsibility to serve and engage with transition youth. Because many youth with disabilities are eligible to receive services from one or more agencies while in school, it is important to plan as a multi-agency team. By doing this, agency professionals and schools are able to come together to meet with the student and family to collaboratively fulfill their separate responsibilities, which helps to properly sequence supports and help the youth toward their adult life goals. 

Age-appropriate transition assessment, often called AATA or simply ‘transition assessment’ is defined by the Division on Career Development and Transition, DCDT, of the Council for Exceptional Children, as “an ongoing process of collecting data on the individual’s needs, preferences, and interests as they relate to the demands of current and future working, educational, living, personal and social environments.” 

The purpose of transition assessment is different than the purpose of assessment for eligibility or progress monitoring. Transition assessment focuses on what the youth can do, their strengths, and assets. Transition assessment also compares the youth’s current profile of Preferences, Interests, Needs, and Strengths or Skills (PINS) to what they need in order to accomplish their adult life goals, which will help the team develop skill development goals, training opportunities, transition services, and other supports to help the youth prepare for their adult life. 

The transition assessment planning process is designed to address five basic questions:  

  1. What are the youth’s adult life goals?  
  1. What are the youth’s PINS? 
  1. How well-aligned are the youth’s current skills to the set of skills needed in the future? 
  1. What other or additional information does the team need to know?  
  1. What assessment tools, methods, and strategies will be used to address the assessment questions?  

For schools, collecting data from the transition assessment is a required part of the Individuals Education Plan (IEP) beginning no later than age 14. However, it is not always clear what data should be collected or how to interpret and use the data. 

That is where the new, online AATA Planning Guide can help. The guide was designed to support IEP team members and transition-age students in thoughtfully and intentionally planning for transition assessment.  The tool begins with an introduction section that focuses on building a multi-agency team to support the youth.  

“We hope this tool will help guide educators, youth, families, and other team members through the transition assessment planning process, making it easier to identify goals, build that full youth profile from all perspectives, and document ‘the gap’ for a student,” shares Alex Corwin, Director, Lifespan Transitions Center at OCALI. “In the end, we want to help the student and their team successfully navigate to the adult life goals and vision 

Two ways learn more: 

  1. Join us virtually at 4 p.m. tomorrow, August 25, for a new InspirED episode on Planning for Transition Assessment. Learn more and register
  1. Visit https://www.ocali.org/project/AATA to view a brief video and explore the AATA Planning Guide. 

OCALICONLINE 2022 All-star Keynote Trio

OCALICONLINE 2022: Bigger and Better Than Ever 

We are just three short months away from hosting OCALICONLINE 2022 – the world’s premier autism and disabilities conference. And while every year is special, this year, we celebrate our ‘Sweet 16’ birthday and our largest gathering ever. Nearly 16,000 – yes, 16,000! – of your peers and colleagues have already signed up – from 50 states and 49 countries, including many first-time attendees from Pakistan, Barbados, Micronesia, Gambia, Iran, Estonia, Tunisia, and many others. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome everyone to this amazing virtual gathering November 15-18, 2022. Whether you are already registered or are thinking about attending for the first time, here are a few things we’re excited about and hope you will be, too.  

  

  1. All-star keynote trio: Tuesday, November 15, 12:30 p.m. EST   

OCALICONLINE 2022 opens with a dynamite panel discussion featuring Judy Heumann, Temple Grandin, and Haben Girma, all three of whom have been at the forefront of leading and inspiring change for people with disabilities. They’ll share their perspectives on current challenges and opportunities and discuss future possibilities and what it really means to be a part of a community. This panel session alone will be worth the price of registration!   

  

  1. Dynamic presenters and diverse content   

With a record number of presenters (nearly 500!) and sessions (nearly 300!) from around the world, there is content for every age and every milestone across the lifespan. From early childhood to school-age to adulthood, OCALICONLINE sessions feature the best-of-the-best in research, best practices, and resources that support the lifelong needs of individuals with disabilities and those who live with, love, and support them. We’ll also feature content from our collaborative partners. Check out the Session Sorter to preview all the content! You can even make your own schedule!  

  

  1. Refresh and recharge  

Need a quick break or a chance to unwind? Check out the OCALI Channel – your streaming destination for continued learning, discovery, and aha moments! In between sessions, you’ll get updates and announcements courtesy of the OCALICONLINE 2022 hosts, the Good Life Ambassadors, plus cameo appearances from the conference team, and “views from the top” as we check in with leaders from OCALI and the Ohio Department of Education’s Office for Exceptional Children. The OCALI Channel also features content from all 10 OCALI Centers – including clips and highlights from OCALI’s numerous video and audio projects and series – as well as coffee and energy break adventures to get you back in the game. Starting Tuesday, November 15, the OCALI Channel runs continuously through the end of the conference on Friday, November 18.   

  

  1. Celebrating moments of impact for 16 years  

Over the past 16 years, we have seen, heard, and witnessed countless moments of impact. These stories are living examples of how those seemingly small moments of inspiration are transformed into action. These stories are of teachers, parents, and service providers whose lives were changed because of what they experienced at OCALICON. They’re people just like you. And these are their moments of impact, when inspiration transformed into action.  

  

Space Is Limited – So Hurry!  

If you’re not registered, what are you waiting for? Due to the overwhelming demand, space is limited. Don’t wait! Register before September 15, and save $50!  


We Love What We We Do - OCALI Is Hiring
OCALI is Hiring!

OCALI is Hiring an Online Professional Development Specialist!  

We are a mission-driven team committed to promoting access and inspiring change for people with disabilities and those who live with, love, and support them. Learn more about our search for an Online Professional Development Specialist. 

Find out why we love what we do.


What’s New at OCALI

InspirED: Planning for Transition Assessment August 25

August 25, 4:00-4:30 p.m. 
NEW: InspirED: Planning for Transition Assessment 

Explore OCALI’s new online Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment Planning Guide to support the process for students with disabilities to set post-school goals, find meaningful graduation pathways, and more.

The Journey: A free webinar series

August 29, 2:30-3:00 p.m. 
NEW: The Journey: How to Decide? Alternatives to Guardianship 

As youth with complex needs transition to adulthood, many families consider applying for legal guardianship. Learn more about options families and allies can use to continue supporting their loved one.

Band Together Central Ohio
Band Together Central Ohio

September 11, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Band Together Central Ohio

Join us for an Autism Open Mic to celebrate the talents of our Central Ohio Autism community. Individuals with autism are invited to participate at The Gahanna Sanctuary on the second Sunday of every month from 2:00-5:00 p.m. Registration is recommended. 

Deaf Education Network

September 12, 9:30 a.m.
Deaf Education Network: Fall Meeting 
The Deaf Education Network Fall Meeting’s goal is to connect professionals and agencies who serve D/HH learners in the state of Ohio and provide them with the most current resources available around the state.

Improving Outcomes for People with Disabilities

September 13, 12:00-1:00 p.m. 
Improving Outcomes for People with Disabilities: Clinical Care Over the Lifespan and During Transition  

The Core Competencies in Health Care Education for People with Disabilities serve as a foundation for this 10-part series. Each session provides attendees the opportunity to hear from and engage with leaders from a variety of disciplines.

Innovation Spotlight Series – Relationships Matter

September 13, 7:00-9:00 p.m. 
SSI Benefits 

Learn the basics of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and requirements to apply for SSI benefits. 

Professionals Serving Students with Visual Impairments

September 16, 8:00 a.m. 
Professionals Serving Students with Visual Impairments: Fall Meeting 

The Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness at OCALI supports networking around Ohio through the Professionals Serving Students with Visual Impairments semi-annual meetings. Join us to connect and collaborate! Learn more and register

Virtual Educational Identification of Students with ASD

November 2022-March 2023
Educational Identification of Students with ASD Virtual Training Series 

This introductory training series with 10 two-hour sessions is designed for school-based evaluation teams that want to learn more about the process for educational identification of students with ASD. Register by October 24. Space is limited.

Featured

OCALI NOW | Issue 39 • June 2022

Living Your Moments Well with Other People
Living Your Moments Well with Other People

Living Your Moments Well With Other People  

When we talk about building and enriching stronger, more inclusive communities, there are many different ideas, theories, and formulas for how to cultivate, nurture, and sustain them effectively. These efforts can certainly be challenging, complicated—even difficult.

But what if they weren’t? What if our collective efforts as professionals, parents, self-advocates, supporters, and allies, could be strengthened and improved simply by being more familiar with each other? What if we could build better connections, networks, and relationships simply by being more involved and participating in more activities together?  

Could it really be that simple?  

Well, that’s exactly the framework that Tim Vogt, Danyetta Najoli, and Jill Mays set out to discuss and explore in a recent conversation highlighted in the latest episode of OCALI’s Inspiring Change podcast. 

Tim and Danyetta both work for Starfire, a Cincinnati-based organization that has been building better lives for people with disabilities since 1993. Jill Mays is a development and community relations coordinator for PSU in Lebanon, Ohio.  

“If you’re in the space of being interested in building a more inclusive world, either through your work or through your family or through your community or for yourself, remember that strategically, it’s not all going to happen at once,” shares Vogt. “It’s going to take small steps.” 

Tim, Danyetta, and Jill have been studying the building blocks of psychology and research around inclusion, including principles related to familiarity, quality connections, and shared activities. These principles don’t apply only to people with disabilities, but really to everyone. 

The Familiarity Principle 

The familiarity principle states that, as human beings, we prefer people and things that we see or experience frequently. It could be someone you see every day on your way to work, for example. 

“Basically, when you break this principle down, we’re talking about our comfort zones,” says Mays. “Whether it’s people with disabilities or people of different ethnicity, representation really does matter—in the media or just in our lives. It makes a difference if we see people and things around us, because it makes us more comfortable and more familiar.”  

Quality Connections Principle 

Simply put, this principle explores the characteristics of high-quality connections, including a person feeling respected, helped, and engaging in ways that are creative or playful. 

Najoli emphasizes the importance of quality connections and inclusion by believing that a person’s quality of life is almost in direct correlation to the person supporting them. 

“I would love for people to be trained and to learn continually and know that it’s not just a static way to be, but you have to continue to learn and grow,” shares Najoli. “And whatever it is for you that gets you into a space of continually learning. It can be personal coaching, life coaching, or growth and development work—anything to keep a person stretching and growing.” 

Shared Activities Principle 

This principle is designed to build trust and connections through shared interests and activities. 

“For me, I’ve seen when shared interests help level the playing field and people just take off their titles and labels,” explains Najoli. “During the pandemic, I saw this in my neighborhood where we put together a street concert. I thought that was a great way to endorse what I love doing because I was willing to spend time to organize it and gather the artists, and it was great seeing people just play together and enjoy music.” 

Connecting the Principles 

“What if the way to build a connected life was through these small, high-quality experiences that people got to see each other over and over, and they were respecting each other, helping each other, and playing around to invent really cool experiences,” says Vogt. “It just feels like we’ve got a huge opportunity in front of us.” 


Creating an Accessible Community at The Ohio State Fair
Creating an Accessible Community at the Ohio State Fair

Sensory-Friendly Morning Offered
August 3, 10am-1pm 

The Ohio State Fair—from the rides and attractions to the concerts, shows, and the ever-famous food, the Fair is an annual event and tradition for thousands of Ohioans. At this mecca of endless fun and entertainment, fairgoers experience the bright lights, loud sounds, and distinguishable smells—you know the ones, the mouth-watering smells of funnel cakes and french fries to the unique scents coming from the animal barns. While these sensory-stimulating features may not interfere with most fairgoers’ experience, others’ senses may be heightened by these things, impacting their overall Fair experience.  

To ensure all Ohioans can positively experience the Fair, OCALI has partnered with the Ohio Expo Commission to host the Fair’s Sensory-Friendly Morning on Wednesday, August 3 from 10am– 1pm. During these designated hours, fairgoers can experience a sensory-friendly morning where the lights will be lowered and the sounds turned down. For those looking to take a break, they can relax in the OCALI Quiet Room. Located in the Ohio Building, this quiet, air-conditioned space will offer a variety of low-tech and mid-tech solutions to support a variety of sensory needs, including fidgets, weighted lap pads, sensory processing toys, and more. The Quiet Room will be operational every day of the Fair, with additional enhancements provided by OCALI on Sensory-Friendly Morning.  

“By turning down the lights and sounds for just a few hours on a weekday morning, we hope to make the Fair a more pleasurable experience for those who need a break from exploring the many activities of the Fair,” shares Alicia Shoults, Assistant General Manager, Ohio Expo Center & State Fair.   

In addition to the Sensory-Friendly Morning, the Fair will build upon its existing accessibility efforts and feature additional wheelchair/mobility charging stations and technology to connect people who are blind or have low vision to an agent who can help with navigation. These efforts are all designed to expand access and ensure inclusivity.  

“At OCALI, we believe in a world where everyone deserves access to their community,” explains Shawn Henry, Executive Director at OCALI. “These features at the Fair help to create a common experience with unique considerations that allow greater access for all.” 

OCALI and other organizations, including Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, have partnered closely with the Ohio Expo Commission this year to carefully plan these features to improve accessibility. 

“When our mission and vision of inspiring change and promoting access aligns with our partner’s mission of community engagement, we allow everyone the opportunity to live their best lives,” shares Henry. “To make change happen, we need to continue to engage in partnerships where people are willing change the status quo, and that’s what this partnership with the Ohio Expo Commission has been about.” 

Shoults agrees. “We’re thrilled to have such a strong partnership with the experts at OCALI. They have been instrumental in providing guidance that will help us to ensure that the Fair can be enjoyable for as many Ohioans as possible.” 


We Love What We We Do - OCALI Is Hiring
OCALI is Hiring!

OCALI is Hiring! 

We are a mission-driven team committed to promoting access and inspiring change for people with disabilities and those who live with, love, and support them. Learn more about our open positions for: Multi-System Youth and Family Regional Coach, Instructional Design Specialist, Accessibility Support Specialist, and Clearinghouse Librarian.

Find out why we love what we do.


What’s New at OCALI

Blue Post it notes with words: Accept, Love, Empower, Advocate
IWGA Registration

IWGA Registration: July 22

Join Ohio’s Interagency Work Group on Autism (IWGA) as they share the latest updates to Pursuing Quality Lives (PQL). These updates were based on input from autistic Ohioans, their family members, and stakeholders. The webinar will feature people that participated in the development of PQL as well as a panel of State leaders sharing how agency efforts will support the priorities of people with autism and their families. 

The Ohio State Fair entry gate
Sensory Friendly Day at The Ohio State Fair

Sensory-Friendly Day at The Ohio State Fair: August 3 

OCALI is proud to partner with the Ohio Expo Commission to host a sensory-friendly morning on August 3 from 10am-1pm. Explore the midway with lights and volume turned down, ride the rides without flashing lights and music, and take a break in a soothing quiet room. 

Band Together Central Ohio
Band Together Central Ohio

Band Together Central Ohio: August 14 

Join us for an Autism Open Mic to celebrate the talents of our Central Ohio Autism community. Individuals with autism are invited to participate at The Gahanna Sanctuary on the second Sunday of every month from 2-5pm. Registration is recommended. 

Virtual Educational Identification of Students with ASD
Virtual Educational Identification of Students with ASD

November 2022-March 2023: Educational Identification of Students with ASD Virtual Training Series 

This introductory training series with 10 two-hour sessions is designed for school-based evaluation teams that want to learn more about the process for educational identification of students with ASD. Registration for next year’s series is now open. Space is limited.

OCALICONLINE 2022 - November 15-18 logo with silhouettes of various people
OCALICONLINE Nov. 15-18, 2022

OCALICONLINE 2022

Don’t miss your chance to join over 15,000 of your peers and colleagues from all 50 states + 50 countries! Register now for OCACLICONLINE 2022 – coming November 15-18 to a laptop, tablet, or smartphone near you! Closing out the 2022 fiscal year? There’s no better time to register! Send your whole team and amplify the impact across your organization or school

Innovation Spotlight - Relationships Matter logo
Innovation Spotlight Series – Relationships Matter

2022 Innovation Spotlight Series – Recordings Available

This spring, OCALI partnered with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities to produce a series of on-demand videos that showcase innovation around the state in person-centered planning, community membership, and employment opportunities for people with disabilities across Ohio.

OCALI NOW | Issue 38 • May 2022

Teacher and student holding blocks with data graphic of bar charts - headline is Special Education Profile Data
Special Education Profile Data: Solving Problems of Practice through Data Analysis

Special Education Profile Data: Solving Problems of Practice Through Data Analysis 

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) established a series of special education “indicators” to measure each school district’s services and results for students with disabilities. The Ohio Department of Education works with stakeholders to set annual targets – or goals – for how districts should perform on these indicators.  

Every year, districts receive a Special Education Profile that shows whether they are meeting their goals, over time, for students with disabilities. The design of the Special Education Profile helps districts use data about services and outcomes for students with disabilities to keep improving their special education programs. These data give schools answers about kindergarten readiness, achievement levels, access to general education environments, preparedness for life beyond high school, services for children with disabilities, and equitable outcomes. 

The primary basis of each district’s 2021-2022 Special Education Profile is the final special education program data that districts submitted through the state’s Education Management Information System (EMIS) for the 2020-2021 school years. The Special Education Profile also reflects a district’s performance on each indicator for up to four previous years. (Source: Ohio Department of Education) 

  

Results for Students with Disabilities 

The Special Education Profiles notify districts of their performance on the key indicators set forth by IDEA. Profiles also inform districts of any activities they must complete based on these indicators. The report includes data only about students with disabilities, unless otherwise shown. 

  

Solving Problems of Practice Through Data Analysis  

In the May 19, 2022 InspirED episode, Shawna Benson from the Teaching Diverse Learners Center at OCALI and Andrea DiFrancesco, Education Program Specialist – Urban Support from the Ohio Department of Education model the use of a data collection template that can be populated with Special Education Profile and other data sets as a tool for problem solving. They explore a sample problem of practice that challenges the service provision for learners with disabilities. Other relevant examples could include topics such as disproportionality, LRE across subgroups, access to Tier 1 instruction across subgroups, graduation outcomes across subgroups, language and literacy outcomes across subgroups, etc.  

Get the Details  

These are just a few of the topics explored in the recent InspirED Virtual Learning Series episode, Revisiting Special Education Profile Data: Solving Problems of Practice Through Data Analysis.


BEST Braille Excellence for Students and Teachers logo
BEST – Braille Excellence for Students and Teachers

Free Summer Braille Series & Other Online Resources   

For 17 years, Ohio has been the recipient of a braille training grant from the Federal Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, known as the Braille Excellence for Students and Teachers (BEST).  

The BEST project is a statewide program of professional development and technical assistance dedicated to braille literacy, braille instruction, braille materials, and braille technology in Ohio schools. The goals of the BEST project include: 

  • Enhancing the competency of preservice and in-service educators, paraprofessionals, and others to provide braille literacy instruction and support across all academic areas including Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM); 
  • Enhancing the competency of pre-service and in-service educators, paraprofessionals, and others to efficiently and effectively acquire and create braille materials; and 
  • Increasing educators’ and others’ ability to apply strategies learned in the BEST project trainings and other activities to more effectively manage the braille needs of their students through the support of follow-up technical assistance or resources. 

As part of the BEST Grant’s goals to support the implementation of braille instruction and braille technology, the BEST Grant is providing professional development trainings and webinars in the following areas: 

STEM: These online training sessions will help you to learn how to teach and provide access to STEM subjects for students who use braille. 

Reading/Writing: Learn braille and how to effectively teach braille to students to access reading and writing activities with these online training opportunities. 

Accessible Documents & The Production Of AEM: These online training sessions offered within this category will focus on the creation and development of accessible documents along with utilizing tools and features within applications to support the production of accessible educational materials. 

Register Now 

Registration is free, but attendees must register in advance. The events have a limited number of participants. Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis.


What’s New at OCALI

OCALI Multi-System Navigation Center; We are Hiring!
OCALI is Hiring! Multi-System Youth and Family Regional Coaches

OCALI is Hiring! Multi-System Youth and Family Regional Coaches 

Looking for a way to make an impact in the lives of young people, while growing a rewarding career with a fun, fast-paced organization? OCALI is hiring professionals with a passion for making a difference for unique positions as Multi-System Youth and Family Regional Coaches. These Regional Coaches work with youth with complex needs (MI/IDD) and their families in their homes.

Computer screen with We Are Hiring text and OCALI Logo
We are Hiring!

Transition to Adulthood Consultant

OCALI is seeking a full-time, experienced Transition to Adulthood Consultant. Essential to this position is the belief that all people can contribute, that youth with disabilities belong in the community and workforce and have the right to engage in opportunities to create a meaningful life.

Unlocking the English Code Free Webinar
Unlocking the English Code

June 2, 9am-12pm: Unlocking the English Code: Assessments for Learners Who Are Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Blind/Visually Impaired   

Identify layers of assessment and how data from each layer can be used for learners who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired. 

STABLE Accounts Parent & Family Virtual Workshop - Happy family of four with young girl in wheelchair
STABLE Accounts Workshop – Learn the Basics & How to Get Started

June 14, 7 pm: STABLE Accounts Workshop   

June 14: Register and learn how STABLE accounts help individuals with disabilities save for eligible expenses, invest for future needs, and keep their benefits. 

InspirED Virtual Learning Series logo
New InspirED Episode

June 16, 4-4:30 pm.: New InspirED Session 

Be At Your BEST – The Ohio Braille Training Grant Program 

For 17 years, Ohio has been the recipient of a braille training grant from the Federal Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, known as the Braille Excellence for Students and Teachers (BEST). The BEST project is a statewide program of professional development and technical assistance dedicated to braille literacy, braille instruction, braille materials, and braille technology in Ohio schools. Learn more about upcoming trainings and resources available.

Virtual Educational Identification of Students with ASD
Educational Identification of Students with ASD Virtual Training Series

November 2022-March 2023: Educational Identification of Students with ASD Virtual Training Series 

This introductory training series with 10 two-hour sessions is designed for school-based evaluation teams that want to learn more about the process for educational identification of students with ASD. Registration for next year’s series is now open. Space is limited.

OCALICONLINE 2022 - November 15-18 logo with silhouettes of various people
OCALICONLINE Nov. 15-18, 2022

OCALICONLINE 2022

Don’t miss your chance to join over 15,000 of your peers and colleagues from all 50 states + 50 countries! Register now for OCACLICONLINE 2022 – coming November 15-18 to a laptop, tablet, or smartphone near you! Closing out the 2022 fiscal year? There’s no better time to register! Send your whole team and amplify the impact across your organization or school.

Innovation Spotlight - Relationships Matter logo
Innovation Spotlight Series – Relationships Matter

2022 Innovation Spotlight Series – Recordings Available

This spring, OCALI partnered with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities to produce a series of on-demand videos that showcase innovation around the state in person-centered planning, community membership, and employment opportunities for people with disabilities across Ohio.

OCALI NOW | Issue 37 • April 2022

Autism Acceptance Month Stamp Logo - What is Your Tried & True
Autism Acceptance Month – What is Your Tried & True?

Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month

Since 2008, April has been recognized as Autism Awareness Month in Ohio. The intent was designed to bring awareness to autism and to encourage and empower individuals with autism in Ohio and their families.  

Last year, Governor DeWine signed a proclamation to recognize April as Autism Acceptance Month, which states, “the purpose of Autism Acceptance Month in Ohio is to spread awareness, foster acceptance, and identify the public policy improvements needed for people with autism to live fully across all areas of life.” 

The transition from the word awareness to acceptance may not seem like a big deal. But, words matter and the shift to acceptance accounts for accommodating the feelings of others and accepting and celebrating our differences. Acceptance requires taking conscious action and shifting from not only seeing and recognizing that autism exists, but seeking to listen and learn, and then adapting our perspectives and behaviors. Just being aware of autism facts and information will not necessarily lead to acceptance or create inclusive and supportive environments in our schools, communities, and relationships. However, by intentionally moving toward acceptance, we can inspire confidence and a vision for possibilities that motivate us to continue to ensure that people with disabilities can live their best lives for their whole lives. 

Acceptance is also the first step toward inclusion. Inclusion then leads to belonging, which is essential to truly connecting and relating to others. Unfortunately, acceptance and belonging are often the biggest barriers to inclusion that people with autism and their families encounter. At OCALI, our mission is to inspire change and promote access to opportunities for people with disabilities. Over the years, we have been working hard to break down traditional barriers for people with autism and other disabilities and explore things that others may not have yet seen as possible. While we have made significant progress, we have more work to do and we continue to explore and learn new ways of listening, understanding, and modeling. Our words and work must then translate into action. 

The good news is that we don’t have to do this alone. As leaders and practitioners, autistic and disabled people, parents, family members, neighbors, and community members, we ALL play a role in inspiring the change we wish to see.  

Throughout the month of April, we encourage you to seek out opportunities that promote acceptance—for yourself and within your own communities. Following are a few simple ideas to get started: 

Learn more. Explore information and resources about autism. A few websites to check out: 

The Autism Center at OCALI 
The Autism Society of Ohio 
Interagency Work Group on Autism 

Show support. Many organizations are hosting Autism Acceptance Month social media campaigns. You can easily show your support by reviewing and sharing the information and using designated social media tags. This month, OCALI is using the hashtags #TriedAndTrue and #AutismAcceptance as part of a month-long email and social media campaign. Each week, we are featuring tips and strategies that families, educators, professionals, and people with autism have found to be TRIED & TRUE in their lives.  
 
Tried & True means: Something that has proven in the past to be effective or reliable. If you have a Tried and True that you would like to share, please send it to us so we can share it through our social media channels, website, newsletters, etc. 

Connect with others. Acceptance is an ‘everyone’ conversation and we all have the power and ability to support acceptance. Simply showing that you’re genuinely open and interested in learning more about autism, particularly from autistic people or their family members goes a long way. 

Now, more than ever, it is important to recognize the unique strengths, challenges, and experiences of each person with autism and their families. Rather than attempting to paint with a broad brush based on a shared label or diagnosis, instead we encourage everyone to thoughtfully engage and inspire. Have meaningful conversations about what is most supportive for each person, in each setting in that moment, and then do those things! By working together to ensure that everyone is supported, accepted, and included, that’s what inspiring change is about.  


Attend OCALICONLINE for Free - Register between April 18-30
Attend for FREE! Register between April 18-30 to attend OCALICONLINE 2022

This Fall, Attend OCALICONLINE—For Free!  

OCALICONLINE returns for a Sweet 16th year, November 15-18, 2022. The premier autism and disabilities conference will once again convene thousands of professionals and parents for four days of learning, discovery, and idea and practice exchange. For the first time ever – and for a limited time – OCALICONLINE registration is free.   

“We want everyone to experience the tangible and transformative effects of inspiration into action,” said Shawn Henry, OCALI’s executive director. “And so everyone is invited to register for free April 18-30. Whether you’re a parent, professional, self-advocate, or family member, don’t miss your chance to learn from national and international experts and network with your peers and colleagues from across the nation and around the world.”  

OCALICONLINE is held entirely online, which means attendees can join from anywhere in the world – the living room, the backyard, the classroom, the airport, the coffee shop, the carpool lane, or wherever. Last year, participants from 43 states and 8 countries participated, highlighting the fact that OCALICON truly does span across Ohio, the nation, and the world.    

With 300+ presenters and partners from around the world, learning sessions highlight content for every age and every milestone across the lifespan. From early childhood to school-age to adulthood, sessions feature the best-of-the-best in their areas of expertise to share research, best practices, and resources that support the lifelong needs of individuals with disabilities and those who live with, love, and support them.  

Another OCALICONLINE benefit is the on-demand feature which allows attendees to watch or re-watch content at their own pace and at their own convenience. This option helps support flexible discovery, learning, and development by allowing attendees a chance to experience sessions they might otherwise miss during the live event. The session schedule and information will be posted later this summer. Additional conference details – including CEU and graduate credit information – is available at www.ocalicon.org.  

“Free registration to OCALICON is a golden, no-risk opportunity,” said Henry. “We want as many people as possible to attend. But you gotta hurry! The free registration window closes April 30!”  

Important Details:  

  • Free registration is available for a limited time only and is available only until April 30. Standard rates apply beginning May 1.  
  • Registration includes access to the live event and on-demand recordings.  
  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and graduate credit will be available.  
  • You will know you have properly completed the registration process when you receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive a confirmation email, this should be a signal that you have missed a step. If you have any trouble with the process, reach out to the conference team at events@ocali.org.   
  • Help us spread the news! A promotional toolkit is available for you to use – just simply copy, paste, and post!  

Questions?  

Visit our FAQ page or contact the conference team at events@ocali.org.  


What’s New at OCALI

ID Early for Autism Spectrum Disorder Virtual Training Series - child with beaded toy in background
ID Early for Autism Spectrum Disorder – Virtual Training Series – Tuesdays in April at 3pm

Tuesdays, 3-4 p.m. in April: ID Early for Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Make plans to join the Center for the Young Child at OCALI every Tuesday in April from 3-4 p.m. for a new series, ID Early for Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you’re a professional working with families and young children at risk and/or suspected of ASD, this series is for you. Hosted in partnership with the Center for the Young Child at OCALI and Ohio Early Intervention, this series provides information, resources, and tools professionals can use to help identify autism earlier.

Compilation of four pictures of young children playing and smiling - Free Webinar for InspirED: The Earlier the Better! Recognizing Autism in Young Children
InspirED Free Webinar: The Earlier the Better! Recognizing Autism in Young Children

April 21, 4-4:30 p.m.: New InspirED Session 

The Earlier the Better: Recognizing Autism in Young Children  

The earlier young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are identified, the more opportunity early childhood professionals have to provide services and supports that will benefit children for a lifetime. Gain a deeper understanding of ASD diagnosis and educational eligibility determination, insight into differences in presentation of ASD in boys and girls, and considerations for making decisions about services and supports

Four young people looking at city skyline with text: The Journey: A free webinar series
The Journey: Free Webinar Series

April 25: The Journey Webinar Series  

Family engagement must be intentional and inclusive. Learn about myths of hard-to-reach families and communication tools to organize and improve your school-home communications in this new webinar. 

Summer Braille Courses – Graduate Level Credit Available

Summer Braille Courses 

Receive FREE graduate credit this summer through Ashland University and the BEST Grant with these summer braille courses

Lending Library Logo of rainbow colored book pages opening
OCALI’s Lending Library

OCALI’s Lending Library Maintenance

Starting April 14, OCALI’s Lending Library system will be updated. During this time, you can continue to browse the library catalog, but items will not be available for checkout until April 28.  

10 Minutes with Barb and Ron 50th Episode design with apples in background
10 Minutes with Barb and Ron celebrates their 50th Episode

50th Episode of 10 Minutes with Barb and Ron 

Celebrate the 50th episode of Barb and Ron with us! Congratulations to this fantastic team. Watch now online or check it on our OCALI YouTube channel.