OCALI NOW | Issue 44 • January 2023

New Year of Learning Opportunities and Resources text on background image of fireworks and out of focus circles
New Year of Learning Opportunities and Resources

Welcome 2023!  

With the start of a new year comes and an exciting line-up of new professional learning opportunities and resources to share. Let’s check out what’s new at OCALI: 

The Outreach Center’s Learning Hub 
The Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness is excited to announce that its new Learning Hub is available! If you’re looking for a flexible learning experience with FREE on-demand, accessible training, this is a great resource. The Learning Hub offers: 

  • Free PD certificates and CEUs 
  • Unique user profile to track your progress 
  • ASL interpreted and audio described learning 

Online Modules: Supporting Learners Series: Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired 

When learners are healthy, safe, engaged, challenged, and supported, they are more likely to enjoy learning, develop positive social skills, and achieve greater success. Find out how teachers of the visually impaired are working with teams to address the whole child. Check out the module in the Learning Hub. 

Curriculum Kits 
The Teaching Diverse Learners Center at OCALI has new Curriculum Kits for teachers, educators, and intervention specialists…for FREE from OCALI’s Lending Library. The Curriculum Kits cover a variety of subjects and themes, including: fairytales, desert habitats, 50 states, pets, Dr. Seuss, and more! Each Curriculum Kit includes different books, resources, and manipulatives like stuffed animals, measuring devices, books on CD, and figurines. Take a look

AIM Courses Added 
Register for new Autism Internet Modules (AIM) courses through April 7, 2023. Earn graduate credit online with no face-to-face meetings! Register today.  

OCALI’s Lending Library 
#DidYouKnow that OCALI’s Lending Library offers more than just books? Explore new accessible materials, assessment tools, curriculum kits, children’s books, DVDs, and more! If you live in Ohio, materials can be shipped to you free. Check it out!  

New Podcast Episode  
Take a listen to our newest Inspiring Change podcast episode, There Is Strength In Every Community: A Conversation about Special Education in Rural and Urban Settings. Listen now.  

ID Early 
Finding information, resources, and training to meet your unique needs when it comes to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can take a different path. The Center for the Young Child’s learning pathways support each person’s journey towards earlier identification. Check it out!

Federal Quota Registration white text on background image of person typing with braille and keyboard
Sweet Sixteen Success! OCALICONLINE 2022

Registration Deadline is February 17

Ensuring access to the right materials and technology for students who are blind or visually impaired is a priority for the Assistive Technology and Accessible Educational Materials (AT&AEM) Center at OCALI. 

“It’s essential for students with visual impairments to have their materials at the same time as their classmates,” explains one central Ohio teacher for the visually impaired. “It’s an issue of equity. It’s an issue of allowing them to be engaged in their learning. If you don’t have your materials in front of you, how do you engage? It lets students be active learners in the moment and gain the most out of the lesson that’s going on.” 

Each year, the AT&AEM Center at OCALI conducts the Federal Quota Registration of Blind Students on behalf of the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children, to qualify for the federal quota allotment of funds to purchase accessible educational materials. These include textbooks and equipment available from the American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. (APH) for each registered student.  

Dating back to the 1800’s, the Federal Quota Act was created for the “specific purpose of ‘manufacturing and furnishing books and other materials specially adapted for instruction’ for students who are blind in the United States and its Territories. As the first law enacted by Congress to support the education of students with visual disabilities, it has become a landmark.” 

“The Federal Quota program provides supplemental funding for materials and technologies to ensure access to the curriculum for blind students,” said Jen Govender, AEM Specialist.  “Braille textbooks, devices such as the Refreshabraille or the Perkins Brailler, table and handheld magnification devices, and instructional materials are some of the accessible educational materials produced by the American Printing House for the Blind for eligible students through the program. 

In December, a letter with instructions from the Ohio Department of Education was emailed to superintendents and/or directors requesting them to register each student who is legally blind and attending school in their district. Braille and large print textbooks and other specialized materials are expensive, so it is important to register each eligible student. The deadline to submit registration is February 17, 2023.  

Once registration forms are electronically submitted and signed, the AT&AEM Center then administers the allocation based on the number of registered Ohio students who are legally blind. As early as March, teachers can start requesting materials for their new students. The Center encourages teachers to be proactive and request materials for the following year. Once requests come in, the AT&AEM Center processes and fulfills those requests. Then, teachers receive their materials and can start using them right away with their students. 

2023 Eligibility Requirements 
View the complete 2023 eligibility guidelines and more on the Obtaining AEM Federal Quota webpage https://ataem.org/obtaining-aem/federal-quota.   

Contact us at fqaemsupport@ocali.org,

What’s New at OCALI

OCALICONLINE 2023 logo with black background and border of multicolor circles that move

OCALICONLINE 2023: Early Bird Registration Open
Connect with your peers and colleagues at OCALICONLINE 2023 – the premier autism and disabilities conference – November 14-17, 2023. Early Bird registration is now open. Secure your spot today!

Band Together Autism Open Mic text with image of old microphone and hearts over a red banner
Band Together Autism Open Mic

February 12, 2-5 p.m.
Band Together: Autism Open Mic
Join ASCO, OCALI, and The Gahanna Sanctuary to celebrate the talents of our Central Ohio autism community. We invite those with disabilities to share their gifts on stage at The Gahanna Sanctuary, 82 North High St., Gahanna, OH. Our next Autism Open Mic is Sunday, February 12th at 2pm. If you are a musician, poet, comedian, or have another art you would like to share, please join us!

The Audiogram: An Introduction white text on purple box with background image of white headphones
InspirED: Supporting the Wellness of Students and Staff

February 15, 4 p.m. 
The Audiogram: An Introduction 
Join us on to learn more about this assessment tool and how you can use that information to ensure access and unlock the secrets that you feel may be hidden in this technical document.

PBIS Lessons Learned Part 3: Transition Age February 16 text on blue background with photo of teens smiling
InspirED: Engaging Families in the Alternate Assessment

February 16, 4 p.m.
InspirED: PBIS Lessons Learned Part 3 
Explore implementing PBIS at the high school level and hear how teams have overcome challenges unique to the high school environment, including supports for students’ wellbeing. Additionally, learn how to incorporate student voice in PBIS implementation across all grades.

The Journey: A Free Webinar Series featuring image of youth looking at a sunset over a cityscape
The Journey: A Free Webinar Series

February 27, 2:30 p.m.
The Journey: Effective Practices: Supporting Youth In School, Community & Work
Explore the Transition Framework Effective Practices Tool and how to select and evaluate effective practices for individual students.

The Eye Report: An Introduction white text on purple box with background image of eye tool
Inspiring Change Podcast

March 22, 4 p.m. 
The Eye Report: An Introduction 
Eye reports provide information about a person’s vision that can be used to provide needed supports and home, at school, and in the community.  

Virtual Meet & Eats text on green background with photo of a lunchbox on desk filled with sandwich and fruits
Virtual Meet & Eats

Monthly Meet-n-Eats with the Outreach Center 
Starting in January, join the Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness for monthly, 30-minute Zoom sessions designed for SST consultants and those supporting districts to provide a quick overview of the Center’s resources.

10 Minutes with Barb and Ron white text on red background with apples logos
10 Minutes with Barb & Ron

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 YouTube 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.  

OCALI’s Resource Crosswalk

Looking for professional learning, tech assistance, evidence-based practices, or implementation supports to enhance experiences and outcomes for all learners? Check out OCALI’s NEW Resource Crosswalk.


OCALI NOW | Issue 43 • Nov/Dec 2022

Access Belonging & Community with A B and C underlined for emphasis
Access, Belonging, Community

Access, Belonging, & Community 

By Shawn Henry

If you attended OCALICONLINE this year, you likely heard me talk about the equation A + B = C, where A stands for access, B stands for belonging, and C stands for community.  

You see, we cannot have true community until we have access and belonging for all. If you have belonging but not access, you are not including everyone in the equation. If you have access but not belonging, you are merely providing space but not engagement. C is only achievable when A and B are both parts of the equation.  

Consider the outdoor movies that communities host in their local parks. Imagine the big, colorful television screen, the cool night air, and people sitting on blankets. It’s a wonderful community experience. But, how many of them are not truly COMMUNITY experiences?  

What simple things could happen that could facilitate the A plus B equals C equation?  

Maybe it is ensuring that there is a paved area so that people in wheelchairs can easily get there to watch the movie and sit with their families. Perhaps it is turning on the captions on the movie so that those who are deaf and hard of hearing can read the screen. Or maybe it’s offering technology that allows those who are blind or visually impaired to experience the movie with audio descriptions. 

Moving From Exceptions to Expectations 

While the concept may seem simple, I often find that implementation is the most difficult. To put this equation into practice, we must intentionally ensure that we are putting these principals into action. A + B = C happens when we go from access and belonging being exceptions in our community to being expectations in our community. It becomes the rule by which we design our community experiences. We build the ramp first because everyone can use the ramp instead of building the steps first and then deciding to build a ramp. 

We need the A + B = C equation to be part of the daily conversation so that instead of people with disabilities asking, “Do you have this,” they are able to ask, “Where is it?”  

Instead of asking, “Do you have a sensory room,” the question becomes, “Where is the sensory room?” Instead of asking, “Do you have a place where I can watch the movie from my wheelchair,” you ask, “Where is the space for me to watch the movie from my wheelchair?”  

That is when we know we have made the A+ B = C equation a reality. 

From Why to How 

To do this, we must build confidence within our communities to be able to ask the right questions and make the right decisions when they are designing spaces, places, and events. Instead of asking why, we need to ask how? So often, we are quick to say it’s never enough. We must start looking at small wins as true wins so that we can appreciate them and then build on them—take that one gesture and use it to start building capacity and confidence so that it snowballs into the A + B = C equation. We often think that one little change isn’t enough, so why bother with the one little change? Well, little things really do matter. Small gestures really do matter in our lives. Small gestures in our day can make a huge difference in cultivating a sense of belonging for those in our communities who most need it. We have to take the wins, big or small, and build on them until we reach true belonging and accessibility, so that we can reach a spirit of true community. 

Cultivating Confidence & Competence 

Since our founding, OCALI has been focused on the three P’s—partnership, policy, and practice. It takes all three of these to build that confidence and competence within communities, but perhaps the most important is partnerships.  

In the coming year, we will be prioritizing the opportunity to identify new partnerships and opportunities within our communities to cultivate this sense of belonging so that our goal of ensuring people with autism and disabilities have the opportunity to live their best lives for their whole lives is truly realized. As an organization, this is how we will make our A + B = C equation work.  

It is only by working together that we can ensure that everyone in our community truly has access to and belongs to our community. It’s as simple as A + B = C. And it just adds up. 

Colorful snapshots of people on a lavender background with confetti
Sweet Sixteen Success! OCALICONLINE 2022

OCALICON’s 16th Edition a Sweet Success

Conference Welcomes Record Number of Participants 

I would recommend this to anyone who works with children with disabilities. There is something for everyone!” 

“The amount of information that I took away from this conference was amazing! I am looking forward to implementing many of the strategies I’ve learned. I will be back next year!” 

“It was so wonderful being able to attend virtually an international conference from my own home in New Zealand – while I would have loved a trip to America – being able to join online made it so achievable!”  

I love the inclusion you all create here!” 

These are just a few of the comments from participants in OCALICONLINE 2022, the premier autism and disabilities conference. This year, OCALI celebrated its “Sweet 16” from November 15-18, with over 16,000 registrants from all 50 states and 50 countries. “We are so thrilled to welcome state, national, and international leaders, educators, related services professionals, parents, and self-advocates to our largest event ever,” said Shawn Henry, executive director. “It is so inspiring to convene such an energized and passionate community to focus on solutions and strategies for addressing our biggest challenges and opportunities.” 

The event opened on Tuesday with a thoughtful and candid keynote conversation between 3 luminaries, leaders, and legends in the field – Temple Grandin, Judy Heumann, and Haben Girma. Weaving in examples from their own personal and professional journeys, Temple, Judy, and Haben provided insights and observations on different ways of thinking about and approaching issues related to access, universal design, and education. One attendee commented – “I loved being able to see the conversation between these three women. It was really interesting to learn about their personal experiences, but also how those experiences can be used to make positive changes in the present and future.”  

After the opening keynote, attendees could “choose their own adventure” in selecting from over 300 sessions offered Tuesday afternoon through Friday. “We had over 60 different topics this year,” said Jill Hudson, content specialist. “From Behavior to Early Childhood to PBIS to Transition and Adulthood to Universal Design for Learning – there were numerous sessions and discussions designed to help further understanding, expand capacities, and build access and opportunities for people with disabilities. It’s a real privilege and honor to showcase and share the knowledge, understanding, and experiences of the more than 500 presenters and facilitators that participated this year. We’re so grateful for the sharing of their time, talents, and expertise.” The online Session Sorter tool lets attendees peruse the entire catalog to find sessions that best match their work and interests. “While the volume of offerings can be overwhelming, the Session Sorter really lets you fine tune your choices and schedule so you can maximize your participation in the conference, and find what works best for you,” said Hudson. 

CEUs and Graduate Credit were offered through a multitude of licensing agencies, organizations, and universities. Additional highlights included the 2022 Award Winners and the streaming of OCALI’s programs and projects through the OCALI Channel. “The OCALI Channel ran continuously throughout the conference,” said Simon Buehrer, event specialist. “We used it to showcase some of the projects and personalities behind our work and offerings. It’s also where our hosts, the Good Life Ambassadors, helped attendees stay on track with reminders and suggestions and re-energize between sessions.” Each afternoon was also punctuated with an Energy Break hosted by the conference team. “Those are always a fun addition to the event,” said Buehrer. “It gives everyone a chance to sit back for a few minutes to relax and recharge before jumping back into sessions and networking.” 

Daily 2022 highlights videos are posted on the OCALI YouTube channel. Attendees can continue to access on-demand sessions through Thursday, December 15, 2022. “We’re excited that the learning and discovery continues for a few weeks after the live event,” said Hudson. “Attendees can catch sessions they might have missed – or rewatch their favorites.” 

“What an amazing year,” said Henry. “We’re excited to build on this year’s gathering and continue the connections and community into the new year – and beyond.” 

OCALICONLINE 2023 will take place online November 14-17. The Call for Proposals opens in late winter 2023.  

What’s New at OCALI

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training with Pete Wright
Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training with Pete Wright

December 10, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 
Family University Virtual Training  

Families and guardians of children who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, blind, or visually impaired, are invited to a FREE virtual training: Family University: Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training with Pete Wright.

Band Together Central Ohio Autism Open Mic on background with microphone with a red Santa hat
Band Together Autism Open Mic

December 11, 2-5 p.m. 

Band Together 

Join us for an Autism Open Mic to celebrate the talents of our Central Ohio Autism community. Individuals with autism are invited to participate. Registration is recommended.

Supporting the Wellness of Students and Staff text on blue background with a circular picture of a teacher with two young female students
InspirED: Supporting the Wellness of Students and Staff

InspirED Episode:
Supporting the Wellness of Students and Staff
December 15, 4-4:30p.m.

Since the pandemic, school districts and educators have had to ramp up their mental health and behavioral services to support student wellness. Learn how to strengthen partnerships with families and agencies.

Engaging Families in the Alternate Assessment text on blue background with a circular picture of a teacher with two young female students
InspirED: Engaging Families in the Alternate Assessment

January 19, 4-4:30 p.m. 

InspirED: Engaging Families in the Alternate Assessment 

Learn more about how families should be included in discussions related to alternate assessment decision-making for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

The Journey: A Free Webinar Series featuring image of youth looking at a sunset over a cityscape
The Journey: A Free Webinar Series

January 30, 2:30-3 p.m. 
The Journey: Autism & Trauma 

In this session, Tom Galperin will discuss how persons on the autism spectrum experience trauma and will provide some concrete examples on how professionals can help.

Virtual Meet & Eats text on green background with photo of a lunchbox on desk filled with sandwich and fruits
Virtual Meet & Eats

Monthly Meet-n-Eats with the Outreach Center 

Starting in January, join the Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness for monthly, 30-minute Zoom sessions designed for SST consultants and those supporting districts to provide a quick overview of the Center’s resources.

Inspiring Change Podcast text on black background with hanging microphone
Inspiring Change Podcast

New Podcast Episode 
Take a listen to our newest episode of Inspiring Change, There Is Strength In Every Community: A Conversation about Special Education in Rural and Urban Settings.

Grab and Go Resource Gallery Kit text on green and blue background with graphic of tote bag with various books and resources spilling out
Grab and Go Resource Gallery Kit

Grab-n-Go Resource Gallery Kit 
This kit, available through our Lending Library, offers a variety of interventions with how-to explanations to support all learners, including those with autism spectrum disorder.

Text says Children's Books on black background with colorful stacks of books, apple and caterpillar in foreground
Children’s Books on Autism

Children’s Books on Autism 
Discover books to use with children ages preschool through high school to learn more about autism.

InspirED logo on computer with purple and white background - headline says Watch InspirED episodes on YouTube!
InspirED on YouTube

InspirED Episodes on YouTube  
Did you miss a session? Do you want to go back and re-watch your favorite episodes? Check out our InspirED Playlists on our YouTube Channel, including our latest episodes on PBIS Lessons Learned Parts 1 & 2.