Path Home Shows 2015 Show Archive October 2015 Show 1543 Claudia Otto - Career and Academic Connections

Claudia Otto - Career and Academic Connections

Educators use instructional differentiation to target all learning styles and intelligences in the classroom.
Claudia Otto - Career and Academic Connections

Claudia Otto - Career and Academic Connections

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Career and Academic Connections


Americans with Disabilities Act

Show Details

Show 1543: Claudia Otto - Career and Academic Connections
Air Date: October 25, 2015



Rob McClendon: Claudio Otto is a disability services specialist for the State Department of CareerTech and joins me now. So, Claudia, how are we doing here in the state?

Claudio Otto: We are, we’re improving. We’re doing really well and we are improving. We have many partnerships that are connecting schools, comprehensive, technology centers, higher education, parents, students and the community. Some of the challenges that I have found are, although awareness is very key, and I do see a lot of awareness when it comes to individuals with disabilities in Oklahoma. We have awareness of individuals who are visibly disabled, but the awareness we are working on now is for those who are not visibly disabled, so for example, a person with traumatic brain injury or a person with autism. So what I have noticed is that a lot of educators are trying to use instructional differentiation in order to target all learning styles, all the different intelligences that are there in the classroom to offer.

Rob: Once education is done, how are we doing with transitioning these people into jobs?

Otto: Well, in certain pockets we are doing fabulous, and the areas where we may not be doing so well, they are partnering with the areas who are. So that is a wonderful thing to see. People are asking, how can I help, how can I better serve this demographic, this population? And I think that’s fabulous. More and more people are not only aware, but they want to learn. And not simply because they have somebody with a disability in their office or in their classroom, but because they know that this is a person who needs services, this is a person like anybody else. So I think that’s a wonderful thing. I’m seeing best practices. I’m seeing technology come into the classrooms. I’m seeing people learning, again not because they have somebody in their classroom, but because they know that this will help a future student.

Rob: Yeah, and when we’re talking about just income, how do they compare to the general population?

Otto: Well, unfortunately there is a disparity. When you look at the median earnings, there’s about a $6,500 disparity when you’re looking at individuals with disabilities and without. So people with disabilities are making approximately $21,000, whereas the median earnings reflect that $28,000 is being earned by those without disabilities. So we still need to work on that, and that’s a scenario that is near and dear to my heart, and I’m working with several agencies now and state level and community level and different communities and people so that we can teach more employability skills, whether they’re hard skills, soft skills, to help these individuals because they want a job. And they deserve a job like everybody else. And when somebody gives them a chance to, you know, become employed, it’s amazing what they can do. You can teach them, and they love what they do, and the employee turnover rate lessens. They come to work every day because they want to be there, and so that’s a fabulous thing, and so that’s what we’re working on right now.

Rob: Well, certainly an important area for our state and for a lot of individuals. Claudia, thank you so much for coming by.

Otto: Thank you.

Rob McClendon: Now, if you would like to see some of the success stories we are talking about, I do have some of our past stories streaming on our value added section on our website at