» Thompson Autism and Neurodevelopmental Center Conference


CHOC Thompson Autism and Neurodevelopmental Center Logo


 Working Together to Expand Horizons


  • Monday, March 20, 2023
  • 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Continental Breakfast & Networking: 8:00 - 9:00 am


Beckman Hall, Room 404
Chapman University
Orange, California


Who Should Attend?

  • Community Members
  • Self-Advocates
  • Families
  • Medical Professionals
  • Psychologists
  • Behavior Support Professionals
  • Students & Educators
  • Service & Care Providers



  • $20 General Admission 
  • $40 for Continuing Medical Education or BCBA Continuing Education Units (price includes general admission)
  • Continental breakfast & lunch is included





CHOC Autism Center teen boy female doctor


CHOC Autism Center teen girl male doctor


CHOC Autism Center toddler boy-mom

Please CLICK HERE to register!


Keynote Presentation 

  • Residents & Staff of Glennwood House of Laguna Beach 
  • Glennwood House is a residential apartment community that focuses on inclusion for adults with disabilities 


  • Journey to Adulthood Through Community Collaboration 
    • Presenters: Dr. Richard Rosenberg, Michelle Kennedy, LMSW, & Erin Benekos, MSN, RN-NP-C, CPHON 
  • Benefits of Using a Co-Occurring Medical Treatment Model 
    • Presenter: Dr. Tom Megerian 
  • How to Be a Social Coach 
    • Presenters: Dr. Jina Jang & Dr. Lauren Couch 
  • Applications of Virtual Reality (VR) for Improving Teacher and Student Skills 
    • Presenter: Dr. Casey Clay 

Closing Panel Presentation 

  • Challenges and Victories in Housing, Employment, and Post-Secondary Education 
  • Featuring Patients, Parents, Rachel Landers, and Dr. Tom Megerian 
  • Moderated by Linda O’Neal 

Accessibility: The conference center is fully accessible via elevator and accessible parking is available close to the site. For additional accommodations, please email tpi@chapman.



Conference Presenters

photo of Casey Clay, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA

Casey Clay, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA

Casey Clay, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA is the Director of Behavior Programs at the Thompson Autism Center (TAC), at CHOC Children’s. Dr. Clay has over 15 years of experience applying and conducting research on behavioral interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder across the nation on the East Coast, Midwest, and Rocky Mountain regions. He has over 30 publications including books and book chapters and is in the process of finishing the 7th edition of Behavior Analysis and Learning, a frequently used textbook in the field of ABA. His research has been funded by internal and federal sources including recent work involving virtual reality.
photo of Erin Benekos, MSN, RN, NP-C, CPHON

Erin Benekos, MSN, RN, NP-C, CPHON

With over 15 years dedicated to Pediatric Hematology Oncology, Erin has been a leader and advocate for adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients across multiple roles. She has worked as an inpatient bedside nurse, Clinical Nurse Educator and Nurse Practitioner in pediatric inpatient and outpatient hematology settings. Her early interest in AYA medicine, particularly the increased mortality seen when patients are lost between pediatric and adult care, led her to train as a Family Nurse Practitioner that is ideal for working across both pediatric and adult healthcare systems.
photo of Faith Manners

Faith Manners

Faith Manners is the CEO of Glennwood Housing Foundation, Inc. Faith has extensive experience in facilitating community partnerships and program development. Prior to coming to Glennwood in 2016, she served as an Executive Director and strategic development consultant for over 20 years to non-profits in the area of human services, residential communities, and education.
photo of Jina Jang, Ph.D.

Jina Jang, Ph.D.

Jina Jang, Ph.D., received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California Los Angeles and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Louisiana State University. She worked for the Center for Autism and Related Disorders as a Senior Therapist for five years and currently practices as a clinical psychologist at the Thompson Autism and Neurodevelopmental Center.
photo of Linda O'Neal, M.A.

Linda O'Neal, M.A.

Linda O'Neal, M.A. Linda earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Southern California and her master’s degree in Special Education from California State University Los Angeles. She has worked in the education field for over 40 years and has experience teaching in grades K-12 as a General Education Teacher, Special Education Teacher and Transition Specialist. Additionally, she worked as an Adjunct Faculty Member for the Chapman University Special Education Department for 25 years.
photo of Meghan Cosier, Ph.D.

Meghan Cosier, Ph.D.

Before stepping into the role of Director of the Thompson Policy Institute on Disability, Dr. Cosier was formerly TPI's Research Director, as well as Director of Teacher Education in the Attallah College of Educational Studies. Dr. Cosier has collaborated with schools and school districts across the country to promote and improve special education service delivery models that allow ALL students to learn and play together.
photo of Michelle Kennedy, LMSW and ACSW

Michelle Kennedy, LMSW and ACSW

Michelle Kennedy, LMSW and ACSW, is a social worker at the Thompson Autism Center at CHOC. She manages the referral and triage process while providing clinical care to patients and families. Michelle’s previous work and volunteer endeavors include serving in AmeriCorps NCCC providing disaster relief and recovery to communities around the country to volunteering with UNICEF and advocating for legislation to be passed on behalf of vulnerable children’s right to immunizations to working at NYU Langone on the Autism Spectrum Disorder team.
photo of Rachel Landers

Rachel Landers

Rachel Landers is the Associate Director of Glennwood Housing Foundation, Inc. Rachel joined Glennwood in 2013 and is instrumental in providing staff training due to her strong background in educating persons with special needs in social interaction skills, personal care, and daily living routines. As Associate Director, Rachel provides assessments and transition planning for persons with special needs who seek to live in an independent living environment.
photo of Richard Rosenberg, Ph.D.

Richard Rosenberg, Ph.D.

Richard Rosenberg received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in Behavioral Disabilities and Educational Administration. He has over 35 years of teaching and administrative experience working for the Whittier Union High School District in the area of Transition. In addition, Richard has been a faculty member at California State University, Los Angeles in the Education Department for the last 35 years.
photo of Tom Megerian, M.D., PhD, FAAP

Tom Megerian, M.D., PhD, FAAP

J. Thomas Megerian, M.D., PhD, FAAP is a board certified pediatrician and child neurologist specializing in Autistic spectrum and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Megerian has extensive interest and experience in designing and executing clinical trials for neurological disorders. He is currently attending neurologist and Associate Professor (volunteer faculty) at CHOC and University of California, Irvine, respectively. Together with many CHOC Colleagues, he assisted in opening the new Thompson Autism Center at CHOC, where he serves as the Clinical Director.
photo of Wendy Altamirano

Wendy Altamirano

Wendy Altamirano is the Executive Director for the Thompson Autism Center at Children’s Health Orange County (CHOC). In this role, she is responsible for the operational, financial and strategic activities of a broad range of service lines and programs across the center. In addition, she continues to provide strategic guidance and financial oversight of CHOC’s Mental Health Initiative. Mrs. Altamirano began her health care career providing parent education for families with children who had autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders over 20 years ago. With experience in operational efficiency, quality improvement and revenue cycle management, she has overseen programs for asthma, population health, mental health, and grant writing.


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