Joy Zabala Spirit Award

The Joy Zabala Spirit Award is a recognition program, hosted by ATIA, that celebrates Joy Zabala’s work in assistive technology and education. Joy served as ATIA Conference Education Chair for many years and led the talented team of ATIA Strand Advisors, leaders, and experts in their content areas in curating the conference education program and ensured each education session met the diverse needs of conference attendees.

The Joy Zabala Spirit Award is awarded to speakers at ATIA 2024 whose sessions have been selected as exemplifying the passion Joy brought to her work in AT and education.

The 2024 Joy Zabala Spirit Award recipients are:

Joy Zabala Spirit Award Celebration at ATIA 2024: Friday, January 26

Please join us to congratulate the Joy Zabala Spirit Award recipients on Friday, January 26, at the ATIA 2024 conference in Orlando. We will be celebrating the awardees during the Welcome Session in Grand Ballroom 7A from 8:00 – 8:20 a.m.

Honoring Joy ZabalaJoy Zabala

Dr. Joy Smiley Zabala was a special educator who worked with students, families, education agencies, and others across the U.S. and abroad for more than 25 years to expand the use of assistive technology to increase the communication, participation, and productivity of people with disabilities. She was a strong supporter of Universal Design for Learning as the foundational support for the education of all students and of assistive technology and accessible materials and technologies as complementary supports for those students who require them for active participation and achievement in UDL environments. Joy was the ATIA Education Program Chair for many years, the developer of the SETT Framework, a former president of the Technology and Media division of CEC, a founder of QIAT, and the co-director of the Center on Inclusive Technology & Education Systems (CITES) at CAST.

Joy embodied all those things that make us better by having known her. Few professionals reach rock star prominence as Joy did and she did so humbly and graciously, sharing her knowledge and deep commitment to building access for children with disabilities. Regardless of how and where you may have met her or heard her, we all knew Joy had important things to share.