The William S. and Nancy E. Thompson Family Foundation has awarded an additional $500,000 to Chapman University’s Thompson Policy Institute on Disability (TPI), continuing its support of TPI’s mission to reduce the barriers that limit access to learning, living, and working for individuals with disabilities. The Thompson Family Foundation is a national leader in autism-related legislative efforts and an active partner with Chapman in the support of new research, interventions, and education.

Founded in 2015 with support of the Thompson Family Foundation, TPI produces original research and provides training and advocacy in the areas of inclusive education and services.

“We’re so thankful for the Thompson Family Foundation’s support,” said TPI’s Director Meghan Cosier, Ph.D. “Their renewed commitment enables TPI’s continued work of bringing policy, practice, and research together to ensure equity and inclusivity for people with disabilities and their families across California and nationally.”

TPI Programs and Services

Through a network of more than 50 local, state, and national partners including CHOC and the California Alliance for Inclusive Schooling (CAIS), TPI offers research-based education and training services to improve the lives of people with disabilities and promote inclusive education. With funding support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, TPI develops and facilitates technical assistance programs for in service teachers and administrators.

TPI’s Families and Schools Together (FAST) program also helps families, schools, and community service providers collaborate with one another in order to build effective learning plans for school-age children. Often embedded within neurodevelopmental centers, customized versions of the FAST program have been implemented in partnership with CHOC, UCI Health’s Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and the Regional Center of Orange County (RCOC).

Spread over the next three years, the new funding from the Thompson Family Foundation will extend TPI’s Inclusion Technical Assistance Collaborative (I-TAC) efforts by creating new and more comprehensive Advanced Practices in Learning (APL). In order to enhance the expertise of school inclusion among educators and school leaders and improve transition outcomes for students with disabilities, APL offers virtual and in-person training, coaching, and feedback, as well as personalized consultations.

“The critical support of the Thompson Family Foundation allows TPI to develop new knowledge and innovative solutions through our work and to disseminate our findings through technical assistance and written reports to the field,” said Dr. Cosier.

To date, TPI has received more than $6.6 million in grants and donor support.

2021 DisAbility Summit

In support of its mission, the Thompson Policy Institute hosts an annual DisAbility Summit to showcase disability studies research and programs. The 2021 Virtual Summit on DisAbility and Inclusion on Wednesday, August 11, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. will include Keynote Speaker Megan Bomgaars, a well-known self-advocate with Down Syndrome, and four breakout sessions on PK-12 Practice, the FAST program, Teacher Preparation, and Transition Services.

The virtual event is free of charge, but preregistration is required.