The Thompson Policy Institute on Disability (TPI) garnered immense interest for its 2023 Summit on Disability and Inclusion. The annual event gathered 600 registered participants — including education faculty, teachers, medical professionals, business leaders, service providers, families, and self-advocates — all eager to engage in this crucial discussion.
The eighth annual cornerstone event organized by TPI within the Attallah College, offered a half-day conference with topics including diversifying the teaching workforce, inclusive schooling, employment for youth and adults with disabilities, access and equity for individuals with disabilities, and bridging research policy and practice.
Conversations on Belonging
Master of Ceremonies, Caddy Aguirre-Stanton, known for his YouTube channel discussing theme parks and autism, facilitated a series of presentations. Aguirre-Stanton, also a physicist and computer scientist, introduced keynote speaker Shelley Moore, Ph.D. A renowned teacher, researcher, and storyteller, Moore has partnered with school districts and community organizations throughout Canada and the United States. Her comprehensive work, grounded in the principles and effective practices of inclusion, special education, curriculum, and teacher professional development, has been showcased at both national and international conferences.
“Conversations about intersectionality need to happen. We must avoid discussing disability in isolation. Our mission at TPI not only centers around disability but also focuses on intersectionality, including addressing the needs of those who are historically marginalized,” said Meghan E. Cosier, Ph.D., executive director of the Thompson Policy Institute on Disability at Chapman University.
The summit welcomed a roster of distinguished speakers and presenters, all of whom are advocates and experts in the field of disability and inclusion, including:
- Dean of Attallah College Roxanne Greitz Miller and Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Chapman University, Reginald Chhen Stewart, who inaugurated the summit.
- Charlotte Achieng Evensen of TPI and Kevin Nguyen-Stockbridge, Chapman University’s Director of LGBTQ Pride and Achievement, elucidated the California Educator Preparation Innovation Collaborative (CalEPIC) initiative, which promotes inclusive environments and equal opportunities for all.
- Amy Jane Griffiths, an associate professor of counseling and school psychology, and Rachel Wiegand, a doctoral candidate in the Attallah College of Educational Studies program, shed light on strategies to improve access and address barriers facing neurodivergent individuals in today’s workforce.