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.


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


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.