Thompson Policy Institute to host 2nd Annual DisAbility Summit Event is free and open to the public

Chapman University is hosting its 2nd Annual DisAbility Summit on Tuesday, May 2. This half-day event features experts in the fields of children and young adults with disabilities. Hosted by Chapman’s Thompson Policy Institute on Disability and Autism the summit takes place from 9 a.m. to noon in Chapman’s Musco Center for the Arts. The DisAbility Summit is free and open to the public.

“Our goal with the summit is to combine the complex world of research with the realities of everyday life for people with disabilities and arrive at meaningful and useful guidance for all decision-makers, including families, agency and government leaders, and most importantly, for people with disabilities who desire to take control over their own lives,” said Don Cardinal, Ph.D., director of the Thompson Policy Institute and professor at Chapman. “People with disabilities do not need to be fixed, nor pitied. Providing proper support and an open society willing to accommodate difference, is at least half the battle. We believe we can help in this incredible and important journey.”

The 2nd Annual DisAbility Summit will feature keynote speaker Stephen Hinkle – an international speaker on disability with experience as a person with autism and as a former special education student. He now holds a master’s degree in disability policy and has been on the speaking circuit for 16 years.

bearded man smiling
Stephen Hinkle

Additionally, Dr. Cardinal will speak on, “Where is the problem in disability and what does the TPI plan to do about it?” as well as present summary results from a recent national study, “Autism Prevalence in the United States: Are our policies aligned with the facts?”

Dr. Amy-Jane Griffiths of Chapman’s College of Educational Studies, and a licensed clinical psychologist, will speak on, “Research to Local Action: The Orange County Transition Initiative – What are employers saying about hiring people with disabilities?”

Dr. Meghan Cosier, an expert on special education and inclusive education from Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C., will discuss, “Why do inclusive practices in schools vary so greatly? A California and New York Study.”

Speaking on a panel as well as receiving Excellence in Disability Awards are Dr. Joe Donnelly, a professor of pediatrics at UC Irvine; Linda O’Neal, a 38-year advocate for young adults with disabilities; and Dr. Richard Rosenberg, the regional manager of Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (CaPROMISE), a federal research project supporting 14 to 16 year olds in becoming self-sufficient. All speakers will be available at the end in a panel to take questions from the audience.

The event will take place in Chapman’s Musco Center for the Arts on May 2, from 9 a.m. to noon, and is free and open to the public. Registration and continental breakfast begins at 8 a.m. Guests can register at For more information, please visit the Thompson Policy Institute website or contact Margie McCoy at (714) 997-6970 or

The sponsors of TPI’s DisAbility Summit are the Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, the William & Nancy Thompson Foundation, and Mary Rose Daniels. Partners include: Ability Magazine,, Orange County Department of Education, the University of Missouri Thompson Center for Autism & Neurological Disorders, the Regional Center of Orange County, Chapman’s MLAT Lab, CHOC Children’s, Dayle McIntosh Center, The Anaheim White House Restaurant, Children & Families Commission of Orange County, and Chapman University’s College of Educational Studies and Easterseals Southern California.

The Thompson Policy Institute (TPI) on Disability and Autism is designed to reduce barriers to the full access to learning, living, and working, and the pursuit of a complete and quality life through impacting social policies based on knowledge. To accomplish this goal, the TPI assesses, researches, and acts on the critical issues facing people with disabilities, their families and those individuals and agencies that share these same values. TPI outcomes are shared regularly throughout the year and summarized annually at the DisAbility Summit at Chapman University.

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Sheri Ledbetter

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