2016 OCALI Awards
The 2016 OCALI Awards recognize the impact, leadership, and accomplishments of individuals with autism, sensory disabilities (including visual impairments, blindness, hearing impairments, deafness, and those who have dual sensory impairments), and/or low-incidence disabilities as well as the parents and professionals who contribute to their development
We’re grateful for these pioneers, innovators, and champions who make things happen.
Organization for Autism Research (OAR) – Excellence in Research and Impact
Excerpt from nomination - "Led by parents and grandparents of children and adults on the autism spectrum, OAR set out to use applied science to answer questions that parents, families, individuals with autism, teachers, and caregivers confront daily. As such, OAR is the only national autism organization whose mission is the promotion of applied research and the subsequent dissemination of evidence-based information."
Joy Zabala – Excellence in Educational Leadership
Lake Jackson, TX
Excerpt from nomination - "Dr. Zabala is a strong supporter of universal design for learning (UDL) as the foundational support for the education of all students and of accessible technologies and materials as complementary supports for those students who require them for active participation and achievement in UDL environments."
Jerry Whittaker – Excellence in Innovation for Technology and Access
Excerpt from nomination – "Jerry Whittaker has dedicated over 50 years of his life to serving students and adults with low-incidence disabilities. Am amazing and dedicated professional, he works long hours to develop or improve resources that he shares with teachers or transcribers serving students with visual impairments and reading disabilities."
Jerod Smalley – Margaret Burley Family Impact Award
Excerpt from nomination – "As a father of two sons with autism, Brady and Tyler, Jerod is an active, passionate, and dedicated father, public figure, and community leader. One of his biggest contributions in recent years, The Autism Puzzle, is a regional Emmy award-winning series that features local stories that showcase some of the challenges and achievements of individuals with autism and their families."
Jon Peterson – Lifetime Achievement Award
Excerpt from nomination – "From 1999-2009, Jon Peterson served in the Ohio House of Representatives working tirelessly to advocate for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder, as well as providing a voice for individuals with physical and developmental disabilities, those with mental illness, and children facing the crisis of daily hunger. As a parent of a daughter on the autism spectrum, Peterson understood the pleas of parents for options to better serve their child's needs and pressed for changes that would provide the vital supports for these individuals and their families."