Announcing Tonight’s Panelists!

We are tremendously proud and excited to announce tonight’s panelists, following the 7pm screening of the eye-opening film Wretches & Jabberers, playing at Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater. Learn more about our esteemed guests below!


Moderator: Charles Torpe
Charles has worked in human services since 1993. He’s been a trainer and facilitator in the disability field, and worked with youth and adults with autism. He’s moderated disability film panels and MC’d for local, county, and statewide events. He founded “The Creative Monster Within” and “Creative Artists in Service Together” (C.A.S.T.) to explore the connections between the arts and recovery. As a musician he’s performed at: The Chicago Blues Festival, The Harris Theater, Assembly Hall (Thompson Center), Soldier Field, and the Lucas Oil Stadium.

Panelist: JJ Hanley
JJ Hanley was named Associate Director of Ventures for the Chicago-area disability-service organization, Search, Inc. in 2013, where she has launched No Boundaries – Train for Work, Train for Life -a first-of-its-kind workplace training program for adults with disabilities – and where she directs a new employment services program for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

She is Founder and Director of, an on-line disability awareness resource for businesses and consumers that reaches 35,000 monthly fans. Under her direction, the integrated team of professionals, with and without disabilities, consults with businesses to help them provide disability-aware customer service and employment.

JJ also started the Disability Awareness Players who, since 2009, have trained more than 3000 staff of businesses and organizations in how to interact confidently and comfortably with customers, employees and potential hires who have disabilities. Training clients include Siemens Corporation, Northern Trust, Whole Foods, the Brookfield Zoo, the Harris Theater, and soon the Shedd Aquarium and Baxter Healthcare.

JJ started after producing the multiple award-winning PBS documentary Refrigerator Mothers, a film that was inspired by her experience of being blamed for her then 3-year-old son’s autistic behaviors.

Panelist: Dunham Leiner
Dunham Leiner grew up and still resides in the Chicago area. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Northeastern Illinois University and previous work experience involving the use of computer software. He currently serves as a ComEd Energy Force Ambassador and is working with Search, Inc. to find employment.

Panelist: Jon Montgomery
Jon Montgomery is a stay at home dad who home schools his autistic son, AJ. He is an ardent anti-behavioralist, and the subject of a new documentary called Getting to First Grade, which chronicles his family’s discovery of strategies on the vanguard of therapy for children with developmental disabilities.

We look forward to a stimulating conversation! See you tonight, and we hope you enjoy the program.