Tal Ourian

Tal Ourian is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the PBS Community Foundation. She is a Parent Advocate and the parent of a child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has over 20 years of experience in advocating for and accessing much-needed services in order to ensure that her daughter (now in her 30s) maximizes her potential and achieves the greatest amount of independence possible. Tal's breath of experience is wide, having served as her district SEPTA president for 5 consecutive years. She has served on the Board of the Nassau County Council of SEPTA's and acted as a Committee on Special Education (CSE) parent-member for 5 years. She has been lending her knowledge and experience to parents at Variety Child Learning Center for the last 15 years.

Tal is a part of the New York Self-Determination Coalition (www.nyselfd.org), which is a group of parents advocating for people with disabilities to have their say in creating and controlling their own lives. Along with other founders of the Coalition, Tal works tirelessly, advocating state-wide for the necessary funding needed for Consolidated Supports and Services (CSS), Individual & Community Supports (ICS) and other funding mechanisms for self-determination. The Coalition provides information to parents and individuals interested in these amazing opportunities for their adult children with disabilities; opportunities that utilize a myriad of approaches and interventions to help them to pursue independent lives in their community.

Tal is very proud that her daughter lives independently in her own apartment, has graduated from Suffolk Community College with an Associate's degree in early childhood education and currently works as a Teacher's Aide at a school for children with Autism in Suffolk County, New York. Tal's inspiration and empowerment as an advocate is credited to her daughter, whose extreme desire for knowledge, independence and full integration in her community exemplifies what true self-determination is all about. In the words of her daughter: "Autism, to me, is just the definition of a different way of thinking and understanding life. I do not have a disability, just a DIFFERENT ability".