ASD in the News

Regional News

Challenging Behavior - Expect Success

Hear Terryl Swejk, State Support Team 9 Consultant, and the Challenging Behavior: Expect Success team from Stark County Educational Service Center, including Chelsea Ball, Kathleen Toth, and Ali Burkett, reveal the keys to how assessing and building a behavior plan together and using data throughout the process yielded success for their student.

South-Western City Schools

South-Western City Schools team members Libby O’Brien, Shannon Miller, Jaclyn Donaldson, and Raechel Staugler share how attending the Preschool ASD Training Series and receiving onsite coaching from OCALI staff provided their team with the necessary tools to support young children with ASD.

Perry Local Schools in Lake County, OCALI, and State Support Team Region 4 Collaborating to Build District Capacity to Support Positive Behavior Changes

Lisa Shields, Director of Special Education, shares how Perry Local School, OCALI and State Support Team 4 are collaborating to build capacity within the district to support positive behavior changes in students with complex needs.

Western Reserve Local Schools, State Support Team 5 and OCALI Working Together to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners

Deborah Farelli, Elementary Principal, and Denise Malkovits, Consultant with SST 5, talk about how they are collaborating along with OCALI to address the needs of diverse learners within the elementary setting by participating in both the District Autism Training and Challenging Behavior Training Series through OCALI.

Centerburg Local Schools, OCALI and State Support Team Region 7
Collaborating on the Establishment of a District Autism and Behavior Support Team

Connie Hatley and Lisa Nudelman share how their district, OCALI and State Support Team Region 7 have collaborated to support their district in serving students with ASD and other diverse needs through the formation of a District Autism and Behavior Support Team.

Wilmington City Schools, OCALI and State Support Team Region 14
Collaborating to Meet District Needs

Listen as Natalie Harmeling, Director of Pupil Services of Wilmington City Schools, talks about how OCALI and SST 14 have supported her district with building capacity in ASD through the establishment of a District Autism Team.

For more information on the autism training used by Wilmington's Peers Helping Peers Program, check out ASD Strategies in Action at

Collaboration Supports Change: Tallmadge City Schools, OCALI and State Support Team 8

Tallmadge City Schools, SST 8

Tallmadge City School District is taking advantage of opportunities provided by State Support Team 8 and OCALI to build capacity in their district and improve outcomes for students. Tallmadge teams have participated in the Expect Success Challenging Behavior training, the Educational Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder series and the District Autism Team training with ongoing follow up.

Tracy Mail, SST 8 Consultant, shared that the collaborative pilot of the Expect Success Challenging Behavior series over the past few years has been beneficial to districts in the region. "The training is team oriented and that makes it a capacity building piece. We have observed changes in attitude and knowledge through the expanded functional behavior assessment process. We have seen the process spread across other students and through staff practices becoming job embedded," Tracy stated.

Karen Kanotz, Director of Student Services of Tallmadge City Schools, Lauren Krysa, High School Intervention Specialist, and Tammie Habbyshaw, High School Intervention Specialist shared that the Expect Success training was needed to approach more difficult behaviors with a different framework. They use the framework and accompanying forms to learn about students and to help staff see strengths and underlying issues in students. The staff that completed the training has trained other staff through meetings, modeling, and feedback. Increasing consistency and fidelity of practices has been emphasized and is making a difference in student outcomes. The district's teams are working through the behavioral issues and are not in need of calling outside consultants as often. In addition, the district's hiring practices now include special education personnel and administrators who have experience with challenging behaviors during the interview process.

The Tallmadge team also talked about how the Expect Success process has impacted individual student outcomes. Teams are now addressing sensory and communication challenges rather than just seeing these challenges as "behaviors". In addition, staff are looking at possible environmental changes including classroom adjustments (such as seating, lighting, etc.), staff positioning, and adding visual supports/structure before applying strategies that directly involve the student. Furthermore, positive reinforcement systems are now a first consideration in helping to teach missing skills. Finally, making data-based decisions as intervention plans are implemented is the regular district practice.

With the professional development provided by OCALI and the SST 8 as well as the follow up support, Tallmadge City Schools is building capacity in the area of autism spectrum disorder and striving to improve student outcomes and support staff.

OCALI would like to thank Tallmadge City Schools for their efforts to improve student outcomes and support staff. OCALI would also like to thank Tracy Mail, SST 8 Consultant, and Jennifer Hood, retired SST 8 Consultant, for their collaboration in piloting the Expect Success Challenging Behavior series.

Ross-Pike Educational Service District, OCALI and State Support Team 15

Listen as Lori Lowe, Special Education Director with the Ross-Pike ESD, shares how OCALI and SST 15 have supported her organization with building capacity in ASD as well as the local districts within her region of the state.