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Chapman’s new Thompson Policy Institute explores data on autism at its first annual DisAbility Summit, May 3

Left to right: Chapman Chancellor Daniele Struppa and TPI principal investigator Don Cardinal accept the first installment of a $3M gift from Nancy and Bill Thompson, establishing the Thompson Policy Institute for Disability and Autism at Chapman.
Left to right: Chapman Chancellor Daniele Struppa and TPI principal investigator Don Cardinal accept the first installment of a $3M gift from Nancy and Bill Thompson, establishing the Thompson Policy Institute for Disability and Autism at Chapman in fall 2015. TPI presents its first DisAbility Summit on May 3, 2016 at Chapman’s Musco Center for the Arts.

Chapman University’s Thompson Policy Institute (TPI) on Disability and Autism will present its findings at the inaugural DisAbility Summit, to be held in Chapman’s new Musco Center for the Arts on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

The DisAbility Summit, which will run from 9 a.m. to noon (9-10 a.m. registration and networking; 10 am-noon conference), is free of charge to all attendees, and is expected to attract an audience comprised of individuals with disabilities, families of people with disabilities, education professionals, government officials, direct-service providers and other community stakeholders.

Though admission is free, all conference attendees must register in advance at www.chapman.edu/tpi.

The TPI’s purpose is to provide independent information on critical issues in disability and facilitate action. In line with its purpose, the Institute’s co-founding directors, Drs. Don Cardinal and Amy-Jane Griffiths, will present results of data analysis toward understanding the increasing rates of autism and other disabilities in Orange County and California and present a recent research report on Autism in the Workplace. A short discussion will follow the presentation on what needs to happen next from professionals toward benefiting children, adults, and families in this important area. This inaugural DisAbility Summit will be the TPI’s first step in convening community leaders to drive action on specific areas of need. Throughout the year, TPI will continue to facilitate community change by providing an environment designed for these leaders to collaborate, connect and implement actionable goals.

Opening remarks will be offered by Chapman Chancellor/President-Designate Daniele Struppa and TPI benefactor and thought-leader William Thompson.

Last fall, Chapman University received a $3 million gift from the William S. and Nancy E. Thompson Foundation to establish the Thompson Policy Institute on Disability and Autism, a think-tank that gathers data and develops its own independent research to study and facilitate action on issues in disability and autism. The Institute’s goals are to educate policy-makers and decision-makers on these topics and to facilitate action plans, thus helping to improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities and their families.

“In areas like autism, there’s new information to consider almost daily,” said Don Cardinal, Ph.D., co-founding director of the TPI.  “This conference gathers our findings on these critical issues and presents them in a way that can be clearly understood by all interested parties.  Central to our mission, we are dedicated to an independent view of all issues on which we focus.”

“Public policy is much more than research and data,” said Amy Jane Griffiths, Ph.D., co-founding director of the TPI.  “We believe that sharing this knowledge will be a powerful tool in making significant and lasting change in our society, positively impacting the real lives of people with disabilities, their families and their communities.”

Among the findings to be presented at the May 3rd Summit, Dr. Cardinal will present:

  • Making sense of the increasing rates of autism in young people (3-22 years old)
  • An analysis of diagnostic patterns found over the most recent 15 years of data
  • A model outlining the policy implications of these findings

Dr. Griffiths will:

  • Discuss issues that young adults with disabilities (particularly autism) frequently face when attempting to meaningfully participate in the workforce
  • Share results of a new research study addressing the current state of employment of youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the local area, as well as the availability and gaps in services required to support improved employment outcomes
  • Propose a model to address some of the barriers to meaningful employment of youth with disabilities

ABOUT THE THOMPSON POLICY INSTITUTE ON DISABILITY AND AUTISM

The Thompson Policy Institute (TPI) on Disability and Autism at Chapman University is a new think tank that gathers data and develops its own independent research to study critical issues in disability and autism.  The TPI’s purpose is to provide independent information on critical issues in disability and facilitate action in areas that require community change. Throughout each year, the TPI will produce research that results in  recommendations to decision-makers at the local, state and eventually national levels. More information: www.chapman.edu/tpi

 

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Mary Platt

Mary Platt is director of the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University

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