OCALI, The Nutcracker, Turkey Trot and more.

2009 OCALI Conference and Exposition
The 2009 OCALI Conference and Exposition, November 17-19 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, will continue the goal of furthering state- and system-wide capacity to improve programs, implementation, support and overall outcomes for those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and low-incidence disabilities (such as hearing impairments, visual impairments, traumatic brain injury (TBI), orthopedic impairments, etc.). Conference participants will have the opportunity to experience high-quality professional development and networking opportunities with peers and leaders in the areas of education, interagency collaboration and continuum of services. Over 200 sessions and nearly 100 exhibitors will be featured.

The Wednesday keynote speaker is "Poppin'" Joe Steffy, a small-business owner of Poppin' Joe's Kettle Korn, based in Louisburg, Kansas. Steffy was diagnosed with autism and Down syndrome and is nonverbal. He will use his AAC device to convey his story of perseverance and success, accompanied by his parents and coworkers, Ray and Janet Steffy.

The Thursday keynote is Dr. Ann Turnbull, distinguished Professor of Special Education and co-director of the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas, where she co-directs the Beach Center's doctoral program focusing on systems change in order to enhance quality of life outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

The OCALI Exposition, 4-8 p.m., November 17, is the opening event for the conference and is free and open to the public. 1,500-2,000 participants from Ohio, around the United States and across the globe are expected to attend the 2009 OCALI Conference and Exposition. For more information, go to www.ocali.org.

Visions of Sugar Plum Fairies will dance in your child's head
Whether continuing your holiday tradition or discovering it for the first time, BalletMet Columbus' The Nutcracker offers your family memories to treasure forever. The much-loved production enchants audiences at the Ohio Theatre, December 11-23.

The young and the young-at-heart adore the many colorful characters that Clara and her Nutcracker Prince encounter on their adventure, including the larger-than-life Mother Ginger, the mighty Chinese Dragon, the graceful Sugar Plum Fairy and more. With more than 100 dancers and spectacular sets and costumes, the production is an unforgettable experience that brings together generations. Children find something new to love in each viewing, and the magic begins the moment they step into the majestic Ohio Theatre.

Tickets are available through balletmet.org, (800) 982-2787, or (614) 469-0939. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more at (614) 229-4848. Visit balletmet.org/Nutcracker for special events and extras.

Join Columbus Parent Magazine at the Columbus Turkey Trot
The Columbus Turkey Trot is a 20-year tradition of fun, family and exercise.

The event, started in 1989, has grown to almost 4,000 runners and walkers who gather each Thanksgiving morning to compete in a non-competitive 5- or 2-mile run or walk. Voted Best Hometown Favorite by Runner's World Magazine, the Columbus Turkey Trot is best known for awarding over 2000 Kroger pumpkin pies to top finishers.

Hosted by the Shops on Lane Avenue, this year's race hopes to raise $20,000 for Easter Seals and its efforts to fight autism. Participants are asked to bring their lightly used running shoes or canned good items for distribution to the needy.

The morning consists of the Chase Bank Columbus Turkey Trot 5-Mile Run/Walk at 9 a.m., Columbus Parent Magazine Walk and Talk 2-Miler at 9 a.m., and McDonald's Tot Trot at 8:45 a.m.

Get some exercise, meet new friends and help raise money for Easter Seals by participating in this year's Columbus Turkey Trot. For details go to www.columbusturkeytrot.com, or call (614) 332-5205.

The Cookie Cop
The Cookie Cop says you have the right to remain healthy and still eat cookies! That's right - there are no taste infractions in these goodies because they're made with quality gourmet ingredients and are loaded with nutrients. Another plus: there are no eggs or milk in the recipe and they're low in sugar, too.

The staff of Columbus Parent Magazine was lucky enough recently to meet with The Cookie Cop himself, Craig Lee. A former police officer, Lee was a hit in the precinct for his delectable cookies. Once he left the police unit, he went full force into the cookie biz. Our staff had the opportunity to taste The Cookie Cop cookies and let us tell you - it's good stuff. Only catch is if you eat more than one of these tummy fillers, you just may need a nap.

For more information on these arrestingly delicious morsels, visit www.thecookiecop.com, or call (614) 855-8843.