» TPI Highlight

November 17, 2020 - Dr. Audri Gomez Joins Chapman's Million Dollar Club

Dr. Gomez Presenting at DisAbility SummitDr. Audri Gomez, Associate Director at TPI, was recognized today during Chapman's State of Research and Creative Activity event for her efforts in securing over $1 million in funding from outside sponsors. Dr. Gomez has received funding for her work from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Children's Hospital of Orange County. Congratulations to Dr. Gomez on joining the prestigious Million Dollar Club! The State of Research and Creative Activity virtual event can be viewed by clicking here. The Million Dollar Club presentation, including Dr. Gomez's thank you speech, begins at the 18-minute mark.

November 9, 2020 - TPI Announces CalEPIC

CalEPIC Logo
TPI is currently developing a proposal for a California-based Educator Preparation Innovation Center - CalEPIC. The CalEPIC network will build the capacity of California’s diverse, well-prepared, and thriving educators to support equity, inclusivity, and the whole child. The development of CalEPIC is made possible with the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
For more information about CalEPIC, please read the blog post from Attallah College of Educational Studies and visit the CalEPIC website

November 2, 2020 - Inaugural Board of Advisors Meeting

Transition Board Meeting

TPI held its first Board of Advisors meeting virtually in November. Along with Chapman and TPI leadership, the Board of Advisors is comprised of experts in the fields of education and disability. The Board of Advisors will meet twice each year to provide support for TPI's programs and services. For more information, please visit the Board of Advisors page. 

October 1, 2020 - 2020 Summary of Findings

Front of MuscoThe 2020 Summary of Findings is now ready! Click here to read about the research and initiatives happening at TPI!

September 30, 2020 - TPI Welcomes Jill Perez

Headshot of Jill PerezTPI is excited to welcome JILL PEREZ to the team as the Professional Learning Specialist. Jill is an Education Coach and Consultant with over 22 years of experience in education. It is her passion to support schools and districts in their mission to become more inclusive for students with disabilities. Jill prides herself in providing practical supports for teachers to make inclusive schooling a reality for all students.

Prior to working as a consultant, Jill worked as a special education teacher in the San Diego Unified School District where she and a team of teachers transformed a school from using segregated practices for students with disabilities to inclusive practices for all students. Since that time, Jill has had the opportunity to work with schools in multiple districts and states, increasing access for students with special needs in general education and supporting schools through inclusive school reform.

Jill holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and holds both general education and special education (Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe) teaching credentials. Jill also works as a lecturer for California State University San Marcos, and teaches Inclusive Education classes for Trinity Washington University in Washington D.C. She also consults in public and private schools across the nation.

September 9, 2020 - TPI Launches Transition CA Resource Webpage

Transition CA Logo

TPI has collaborated with the Regional Center of Orange County (RCOC), California Department of Rehabilitation, and other local transition partners to develop a comprehensive website dedicated to transition services. This project has been years in the making and TPI is excited for the community to utilize this important resource. For more information, read the Attallah College of Educational Studies blog. Please visit the Transition CA website

August 24, 2020 TPI Welcomes New Director of Families and Students Together @ CHOC Children’s

Headshot of Elissa Green KaustinenElissa Green Kaustinen is the newest member to the Thompson Policy Institute as the Families and Students Together Director @ CHOC Children’s. Prior to joining us Elissa has working within the public school system the last 17 years, which included 7 years as a school psychologist and 10 years as an administrator within special education. Most recently Elissa served the community of Newport Mesa Unified School district in the role of Special Education Coordinator. As a Special Education Coordinator Elissa has experience in many areas including special education assessments, inclusive practices, developing Individual Education Plans, counseling, developing and implementing behavioral programs, autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. Throughout Elissa’s career she has promoted a culture of inclusivity and advocated to support all students.

August 10, 2020 - New Active Education Webinars for Fall Announced

Laptop with word "webinar" written on screenTPI has teamed up with the Orange County Department of Education once again to offer a new series of Active Education Webinars for pre-service teachers, new teachers, and the educators who support teachers. There will be a series of four webinars and all four will be free thanks to generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Thompson Family Foundation. For more information and to register, please visit the Active Education Webinar page

July 21, 2020 - TPI Announces the 5th Annual DisAbility Summit Rescheduled in Virtual Format

Collage of DisAbility Summit Presenters

The 5th Annual DisAbility Summit was scheduled for March 27; however, the event had to be postponed due to COVID-19. TPI will live stream the DisAbility Summit on Friday, October 9 from 9:00 - 11:00 am. The theme for this event is Inclusion and Transition: Each Enhancing the Other. Joe Xavier, Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation, will be the keynote speaker addressing transition in his presentation "If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?" In addition, Dr. Richard Rosenberg and Linda O'Neal, M.A. will be presenting information on California transition initiatives. For more information about the DisAbility Summit, please visit the blog or the 2020 DisAbility Summit page. To register for the event, please visit Chapman Ticketing

May 20, 2020 - Original research study that TPI conducted published

Don Cardinal presenting at DisAbility Summit

An Investigation of Increased Rates of Autism in U.S. Public Schools

Dr. Don Cardinal, along with Dr. Amy Jane Griffiths, Zachary Maupin, and Julie Fraumeni-McBride, recently had the original research study that TPI conducted published in Psychology in the Schools. This study was intended to enhance our understanding of the dramatic increase in autism prevalence rates across the United States. A robust national and multistate sample of children and youth (5–22 years of age) was gathered and analyzed, using visual and statistical analysis of autism eligibility over a 15‐ to 17‐year period. Although the impact of environmental or genetic influences could not be entirely ruled out, the TPI research team identified significant shifts in eligibility trends that substantially contributed to the remarkable increase in autism prevalence. Assessment procedures and criteria for autism have sustained an indelible influence from this diagnostic migration, which has had a lasting impact on public schools. To read the article, please click here

 April 21, 2020 - TPI Offers Active Education Webinars for Teacher Candidates

Screenshot from an Active Education Webinar

In an effort to support public education and ensure an uninterrupted pipeline of future educators during COVID-19, the Thompson Policy Institute on Disability (TPI) came together with its partners to create the Active Education Webinar Series. To read about the Active Education Webinars, please read the blog post "Thompson Policy Institute's Active Education Webinars Provides Vital Training and Clinical Hours for Teacher Candidates."

February 20, 2020 - Research from First DisAbility Summit Published in Book

Autism in the workplace cover

Chapman University faculty -- Drs. Amy E. Hurley-Hanson, Cristina Giannantonio and Amy Jane Griffiths -- recently had a book published that explores how to improve employment and career experiences for individuals with ASD. The empirical data included in the book was one of the first research projects that TPI supported. The data was presented at a DisAbility Summit and will now reach an even larger audience through the publication of the book. The book, Autism in the Workplace: Creating Positive Employment and Career Outcomes for Generation A, can be purchased through Amazon

January 30, 2020 - TPI Team is Editor for International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

Cover of IEJEE journal

Drs. Audri Sandoval-Gomez, Meghan Cosier, and Don Cardinal of TPI were the editors of a Special Issue in the International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education (IEJEE). In addition to editing, they had an article on inclusion published in the issue. Chapman faculty members, Drs. Amy-Jane Griffiths and Angel Miles Nash, along with TPI's Graduate Research Assistant, Sneha Kohli Mathur, also had an article published on preparing girls with disabilities for STEM careers. To read the issue, please visit IEJEE.

January 28, 2020 - New Partnership Signed with Thompson Autism Center at CHOC Children's

TPI team at CHOC opening

TPI will extend the successful Families and Schools Together (FAST) program to the Thompson Autism Center at CHOC Children's. This program helps families, schools, and community service partners to collaborate with one another in order to build an effective, high-quality learning plan for each individual child. The program will be open to serve families this fall. To learn more about this program, please visit the blog

November 19, 2019 - William and Nancy Thompson Family Foundation Honored at Chapman's State of Research Event

Bill & Nancy Thompson at Gala

The William and Nancy Thompson Family Foundation was recognized at the Second Annual State of Research and Creative Activity for their support of TPI. The William and Nancy Thompson Family Foundation has become a leader in the United States for autism-related research, legislation, and supports. For more information about the award ceremony, please read the blog post about the event. 

November 7, 2019 - TPI Welcomes New Research Director

Dr. Meghan Cosier presenting at DisAbility Summit

Meghan Cosier, Ph.D., has joined TPI to further TPI's mission to bring inclusive education to schools. Dr. Cosier is also the Director of Teacher Education in the Attallah College of Educational Studies. Her work focuses on systematic development and implementation of inclusive supports and services, and the role of leadership teams in sustainable school reform. Dr. Cosier's scholarly research interests include inclusive education, school reform, teacher preparation, and professional development. 

October 31, 2019 - TPI Receives Gates Foundation Grant

Dr. Audri Gomez presenting at DisAbility Summit

The Thompson Policy Institute received a $417,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a collaborative California Special Education Residency Project. Dr. Audri Gomez, Associate Director of TPI, is the Principal Investigator for the grant. This grant will help fund research and training to remove barriers facing students with disabilities. TPI will team up with University of Kansas and University of Florida for the project. To learn more about this exciting grant, please visit the blog

May 22, 2019 TPI Hosts Policy Summit in Sacramento

 CAIS team at CCTE conference

TPI, as part of the California Alliance for Inclusive Schooling (CAIS), hosted the Policy Summit on Disability during the California Council on Teacher Education (CCTE) conference. Megan Gross, California Teacher of the Year and National Teacher of the Year Finalist, gave the keynote address on preparation toward inclusive schooling. CAIS also presented a policy panel that examined what is next for inclusive education in California. 

April 19, 2020 - TPI Presents the 4th Annual DisAbility Summit

Dr. Villa prresenting at DisAbility Summit

Dr. Richard Villa presented the keynote address titled, "Advocating for Inclusive Education: What can one person do?" TPI research associates presented on the state of inclusive education in California school districts and on making STEM education inclusive for girls and women with disabilities. The director of TLC, Dr. Jessica Tunney, presented on inclusion in action. To learn more about the 4th Annual DisAbility Summit, please read the blog post or visit the 2019 DisAbility Summit page

February 12, 2019 - TPI Hosts OCDE Workshop on Inclusive Education

OCDE Workshop

TPI, in collaboration with OCDE, hosted a full-day interactive workshop for educators throughout Orange County. Dr. Jacqueline Thousand and Richard Villa lead the workshop on differentation of instruction in inclusive classrooms. The workshop was made possible through the Inclusion Technical Assistance Collaborative (I-TAC) grant. For more information about the I-TAC grant or the OCDE workshop, please read the blog post

Oct. 29, 2018 - California Alliance for Inclusive Schooling

Slogan: Here to build a more equitable future

The California Alliance for Inclusive Schooling held its first organizational meeting. The mission of the Alliance is to support, unify, and promote efforts to increase inclusive schooling in California. Learn more about the California Alliance for Inclusive Schooling.

Aug. 20, 2018 - Collaborating for Mental WELLth in the Schools

Wooden blocks that spell Mental Health

Amy Jane Griffiths, PhD, NCSP and member of the Orange County Transition Initiative speaks about the rising number of individuals especially children and adolescents impacted by mental health. Griffiths believes that schools can play a major role in mental health prevention and intervention process and that the most effective way to do so is through collaborating for mental WELLth.

May 7, 2018 - 3rd Annual DisAbility Summit

Collage of the previous disability summit. Pictures include event speakers such as Dr. Don Cardinal

TPI hosts its 3rd Annual DisAbility Summit

Mar. 22, 2018 - Transforming Family: Foster Youth with Disabilities

Anne Steketee, blog post author

Anne Steketee, M.Ed., discusses the foster care transition system for young people with disabilities.

Mar. 7, 2018 - Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) Feature

Shayne Brophy
Meet Shayne Brophy who has an interest in how student's self-concepts are impacted by disability labeling.

Feb. 22, 2018 - Perceptions of Disability in the Vietnamese American Community

Kim Dieu, blog post author 
Kim Dieu, educational psychologist at the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (Families and Schools Together) and doctoral student at Chapman University, discusses the different perceptions of disability within the Vietnamese American Community.

Feb. 12, 2018 - TPI Graduate Research Assistant Feature

Sneha Kohli Mathur
Meet Sneha Kohli Mathur, who has a research focus on transition to adulthood for individuals on the spectrum.

Jan. 22, 2018 - Person-First Language and What it Means to Me by Adriana Smith

Adriana Smith, blog post author

Adriana Smith shares her thoughts on the importance of Person-First Language.

Nov. 2, 2017 - Sarah Stup

Sarah Stup, blog post author
Sarah Stup, an author with autism, shares her thoughts on her educational journey and inclusion.

Oct. 24, 2017 - Meghan Cosier, Ph.D.

Dr. Meghan Cosier

The Thompson Policy Institute and the Attallah College of Educational Studies welcomes Dr. Meghan Cosier back to Chapman University!

Oct. 24, 2017 - Audri Gomez, Ph.D.

Dr. Audri Gomez

Learn more about Dr. Audri Gomez, the new Associate Director at TPI, in her interview.

Oct. 13, 2017 – TPI Team at the Autism Center Gala

TPI team at the Autism Center Gala

Oct. 6, 2017 – Transition to Work by Linda O'Neal

Linda O'Neal, blog post author

Transition Specialist and long-time educator, Linda O'Neal, discusses the key factors in the transition to work process on TPI's blog.

Oct. 3, 2017 – Don Cardinal – Million Dollar Club

Don Cardinal, TPI director, with the Million Dollar Club award

Dr. Don Cardinal receives Chapman University's Million Dollar Club for his work. Read more about the Million Dollar Club.

Sept. 12, 2017 - Melissa Shang by Robert A. Slayton, Ph.D.

Robert Slayton, blog post author

In his blog, Robert Slayton, Ph.D. writes about Melissa Shang and her accomplishments. Melissa Shang is a 14-year-old author who was born with a form of muscular dystrophy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth. To learn more about Melissa Shang, read Slayton's article.

Aug. 27, 2017 – TPI team and friends with Bruno Serato at Caterina’s Club Red Carpet Gala

TPI team with Bruno Serato

July 14, 2017 - A Wish for Authentic Disability Representation on Television to Continue
by Beth Haller, Ph.D.

Beth Haller, blog post author

Beth Haller, Ph.D. is one of the first mass communication scholars to study the representation of disability is mass media. She discusses the importance of authentic disability representation on television and its effects.

May 2, 2017 – Stephen Hinkle’s standing ovation from the 2nd Annual Disability Summit

Stephen Hinkle's standing ovation

Keynote speaker, Stephen Hinkle, receives a standing ovation at TPI's 2nd Annual DisAbility Summit. Interested in Hinkle's work? Read his post, Pushing societal limits, on TPI's blog.

May 3, 2016 – Inaugural Disability Summit and photo

TPI's 1st Annual DisAbility Summit Summary of Findings Report cover

TPI hosts its first ever Inaugural DisAbility Summit. Learn more about the DisAbility Summit.

Oct. 6, 2016 – Thompson Policy Institute announced

Don with Thompson family and check

William S. and Nancy E. Thompson Foundation donates $3 million to Chapman University to establish the Thompson Policy Institute on Disability and Autism.