Notes on Contributors

Kristín Björnsdóttir

is an Associate Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Iceland, School of Education. She obtained her PhD at the University of Iceland in 2009. Her research includes inclusive education and intersectionality theory. She was the faculty supervisor for the vocational diploma program for students with intellectual disabilities 2012–2017.

Michelle L. Bonati

PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburgh and an Associate of the Centre for Disability Research and Policy at the University of Sydney. She earned her PhD in Special Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. Her research interests include examining service-learning as a context for developing inclusive K-12 schools, universities, and communities. Within this teaching method, she examines the interactions of individuals with and without disabilities, focusing on processes that facilitate and inhibit reciprocal relationships and valued roles of individuals with complex support needs. Dr Bonati previously served as a K-12 special education teacher and as an early intervention provider in the United States.

Bruce Chapman

is an Associate Lecturer in International Business at the University of Sydney. Bruce has received numerous Deans’ awards for teaching and student engagement within Business Education and International Business. His interest in disability and inclusive education is influenced by being a parent of a child with a hearing impairment. He has been actively involved in education events associated with education of students with hearing impairment for over 5 years. Prior to teaching within the University of Sydney, Bruce spent over 25 years in financial executive roles within wholesale/retail organisations.

Amy L. Cook

PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Counseling and School Psychology Department, College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut Storrs. She has worked in urban schools and mental health agencies, providing counseling services to students and families. Her research interests focus on reducing inequalities in educational outcomes and promoting positive youth development through community-engaged research with youth in partner schools and organizations. She is committed to using scholarly research in a manner that advances shared collaboration and educational equity.

Deborah Espiner

is a Principal Lecturer in the School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work, University of Auckland, New Zealand, in the fields of disability studies, inclusive education and community leadership. She has a strong background in supporting students with disabilities within the education system and adults within community settings. Deborah has had considerable experience in designing and facilitating programmes for teachers and human service workers. She has considerable experience coordinating New Zealand Ministry of Education research contracts. Deborah’s research and interests lie in developing individualised and facilitated approaches that capture the ‘voice’ of the young person or adult in ways that are engaging, accessible and supportive of personal aspirations. She is Chair of two community organisations that recognise the generosity that exists within society and the importance of relationship building between community members.

Friederike Gadow

is the Co-Leader of Research and Innovation, Centre for Disability Studies, and a Research Affiliate of the University of Sydney. Informed by a disability studies and a social justice perspective, her work and research interests focus on inclusive communities marked by access to work, study and socialising for everyone. Having led the Centre for Disability Studies’ uni 2 beyond initiative since 2013, advocating for social change to include people with intellectual disability at the university level is a matter close to her heart.

Friederike is working on a PhD thesis which examines social support for people with intellectual disability who live in a home of their choice.

Robbie Gilligan

is professor of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin. He served as founding head of the School of Social Work and Social Policy from August 2005 to July 2011. He is currently Associate Director of the Children’s Research Centre at TCD. He is also a research fellow (2013–2016) at SFI – The Danish National Centre for Social Research and Extraordinary Professor at the Optentia Research Programme at North Western University, South Africa.

Meg Grigal

PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Community Inclusion at University Massachusetts Boston and the Co-Director of Think College, a national organization focused on research, policy and practice in inclusive higher education and people with intellectual disability. At Think College, she serves as a principal investigator on research grants including the Think College Transition Model Project, the National Coordinating Center for the Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) Model Demonstration Programs and the Future Quest Island Stepping Up to Technology project. She co-produced Rethinking College, a short documentary on inclusive higher education. Meg co-authored the groundbreaking book, Think College (2009, Brookes), and has published many books, book chapters, journal articles and research reports.

Debra Hart

is Director of Education and Transition for the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has over 30 years of experience working with students with disabilities, their families, and professionals to support youth in becoming valued members of their community via participation in inclusive K-12 education, higher education, and competitive employment. She has been a Principal Investigator on numerous grants related to supporting students with intellectual disabilities in going to college since 1997. Debra is also the co-author of a book, Think College! Postsecondary Education Options for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (2009) Brookes and numerous other professional and peer reviewed publications.

Laura Hayden

is an Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her EdD from Boston University in Counseling Psychology. She is a recipient of APA Division 47’s Early Career Professional award for her contributions in the field of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Dr. Hayden is actively involved in researching how school-based counselors can support students’ social, emotional, and academic success. Her core research interest is in the exploration of physical activity as a mediator for negative social and emotional outcomes and as a lever toward optimal health and identity development.

Anne Hughson

PhD, Director Undergraduate Education and Associate Professor, Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary; Registered Psychologist. Dr. Hughson is a recipient of the Faculty of Education Excellence in Teaching Award, author and co-author of texts, chapters and articles on a wide range of disability-related subjects.

She has lectured and consulted in many countries. As a researcher in disability studies and program evaluation, her focus is primarily with the influence of social and structural systems on the experiences of people with developmental disabilities and their families. Her undergraduate/graduate teaching and research interests include programme evaluation and qualitative research approaches, inclusive post-secondary education, theory and practice in human services, and relational ethics of inclusion. Anne has a long history of voluntary and consultancy work with Inclusion Alberta, as the co-developer of its internationally recognized family leadership series, inclusive post-secondary education initiatives and projects in child welfare, inclusive education and community inclusion.

John Kubiak

Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities, lectures at undergraduate and post-graduate level in the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland. In 2012, John was a recipient of Trinity’s prestigious Provost Teaching Award which recognises and rewards individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in the pursuit of teaching excellence. After graduating with a Professional Doctorate in Education in 2013, John received a Post-Doctorate Research Associate and Bursary from the School of Education. His efforts to raise awareness on equality issues and promote diversity in Trinity has resulted in being awarded the Trinity’s Equality Fund Project on two occasions. More recently, John has been directly involved in the formulation and coordination of an accredited inclusive higher educational programme entitled the Certificate in Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice.

Niamh Lally

is currently a Research Fellow with the Centre for Social Innovation, Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin. Working in practice based research her role focuses on informing and facilitating strategic discussion and promoting learning amongst those practitioners and experts by experience implementing reform in social service systems. She obtained her PhD from the National Institute for Intellectual Disabilities, School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin entitled Higher Education and Transition Experiences of Students with Intellectual Disabilities: A Promise Realised or Denied? Her research interests include service transformation, inclusive education, social justice and self-direction.

Lorraine Lindsay

is an Associate Lecturer in Disability and Community Inclusion at Flinders University, South Australia. She graduated from Flinders University with a degree in Disability and Developmental Education. She has been working with people with disabilities for over 10 years across a variety of roles and community settings, including: supporting inclusion of adults with intellectual disability (ID); mentoring; and self-advocacy training. Lorraine previously held the position of Coordinator for Up the Hill Project which supports the inclusion of adults with ID to attend university and currently works in online topic development for the courses in Disability and Community Inclusion, Flinders University. In 2017, Lorraine was recognised with the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Jemima MacDonald

was an Education, Development and Research officer at the Centre for Disability Studies, Sydney, Australia, between 2013–2017. Jemima has a strong passion for inclusion, and sees the rights of people with disabilities to be involved in the community as paramount to a better society for us all. She has been involved in uni 2 beyond since 2013, and also coordinated the initiative, supporting 11 students, over 50 mentors, and 25 lecturing staff. Jemima also led the internship aspect of uni 2 beyond, placing and supporting students to attend 6 week placements in corporate organisations. As part of her role, she works with these organisations to increase their awareness of how employing people with intellectual disability can be beneficial to organisations and the importance to have a diverse workforce. Jemima also coordinated a social networking group, where she brought people with and without disabilities together to attend local events and experience age appropriate social gatherings in a safe and supported way.

Kathleen J. Marshall

PhD, Coordinator of the Programs in Special Education, and Director of the PhD program at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Marshall received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Virginia in Special Education with an emphasis in learning disabilities, and with supporting areas in educational research and child development. Dr. Marshall was the first director of the CarolinaLIFE program at the University of South Carolina and serves as faculty advisor to the program. She recently served as past-president of the National Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD-CEC). Dr. Marshall served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator of six federally-funded grants designed to prepare teachers of students with high-incidence disabilities and to prepare doctoral-level leadership personnel in special education. Three of these grants have a focus on preparing scholars at the graduate level in secondary transition.

Kerri-ann Messenger

was born in Adelaide, South Australia, and has a love for learning. During early life she travelled Australia with family, meeting people from all walks of life and gaining confidence to try different things. This included volunteering and serving as Assistant Chairperson for many years with a leisure group for people with intellectual disabilities. Kerri-ann also has a love for guest speaking. She has Down syndrome and has worked for a private health provider for 17 years. Kerri-ann attended Public Primary School, High School, Tertiary and Further Education (TAFE). She began studying at Flinders University in 2013, where she graduated after 3 years as part of a program for people with intellectual disabilities called Up the Hill Project. Her wish was to undertake Disability Studies to enable her to fulfil the dream of helping others with intellectual disability. While at university she undertook a placement at a Special School. She is continuing to study at Flinders University to achieve her goals.

Lumene Montissol

graduated high school at Community Academy of Science and Health in Dorchester, Massachusetts, USA, in 2017. Right now, she works in a dairy department at Wegmans food markets in Newton, and she loves her job. Lumene continues to play sports for the Special Olympics, and she joined the Milton Bulldogs in Milton since September. She tells her teammates, “you can call me Lightning” and they like it when they call her by her nickname. She feels she is part of the team.

Ray Murray

is a Disability Consultant and an Associate of the Centre for Disability Studies Sydney where he co-facilitates courses on person centeredness, the PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) process and person-centred group facilitation. Ray’s background is as an educational psychologist and academic. He directed the Centre for Special Education at Auckland College of Education (now University of Auckland) for over 20 years that prepared students to work in educational and human service settings. One of his many passions is supporting family members to support one another. In New Zealand, he gave leadership to the founding of the Parent to Parent service and the Parent and Family Resource Centre. Ray is himself a family member, being a grandfather of a young woman with Rett Syndrome.

John O’Brien

learns about building more just and inclusive communities from people with disabilities, their families, and their allies. He uses what he learns to advise people with disabilities and their families, advocacy groups, service providers, and governments and to spread the news among people interested in change by writing and through workshops. He works in partnership with Connie Lyle O’Brien and a group of friends from 18 countries. John is a Fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform (UK) and is affiliated with the Center on Human Policy, Law & Disability, Syracuse University (US), inControl Partnerships (UK), and the Marsha Forest Centre (Canada). You can find his books and papers at and The Centre for Welfare reform (

Patricia O’Brien

returned in 2009 to Australia from Trinity College Dublin to take up the position of Professor of Disability Studies and Director, Centre for Disability Studies (CDS) affiliated with The University of Sydney. Here, Patricia has led a team of researchers, educators and clinicians in implementing the vision of the organisation, Building Capacity for Change. At CDS, Patricia promotes research that is inclusive of people with intellectual disabilities as co-researchers. At the same time, Patricia was instrumental in introducing uni 2 beyond where students with intellectual disability audit courses at the University of Sydney. Patricia has also co-edited two books that promote the need for disability services to be value-driven and person-centred. Prior to Ireland, Patricia worked at the University of Auckland where she taught both graduate and post graduate courses in human services and special education.

Barrie O’Connor

is an Honorary Associate Professor with the Centre for Disability Studies, The University of Sydney, contributing to its research and teaching initiatives. He has extensive teaching, research and administrative experience in education and human services, having held appointments at several Queensland and interstate universities and served as a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the National Institute for Intellectual Disability at Trinity College Dublin. With particular interest in interagency and interprofessional teamwork, and social justice, he has undertaken consultancies for both government and non-government organisations. His research and consultancy has included work in New Zealand, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bangladesh. He is currently the Student Ombudsman at Griffith University.

Molly O’Keeffe

B.A., M.A., is currently supporting the development of individualised funding models within Ireland through her role as Development Manager for Possibilitiesplus. Having spent 10 years developing and coordinating the first full time university course for adults with an intellectual disability at Trinity College Dublin, Molly was part of a range of inclusive research initiatives, the expressive arts and employment. Molly returned home to Waterford in order to support her sister Fran and their family to secure and develop one of the few individualised funding arrangements within the country. Molly continues to support other individuals and families to advocate for real change. She also works with a range of organisations promoting and supporting family leadership. Molly continues to live with her two young children in Waterford close to her sister Fran, as siblings often do.

Clare Papay

PhD, is a Senior Research Associate at Think College, UMass Boston, where she conducts research on inclusive higher education for students with intellectual disability. Prior to joining Think College, she was Assistant Professor and Director of inclusive special education programs at Arcadia University. At Arcadia University, she co-founded and directed the Raising Expectations for Academic Learning (REAL) Certificate, a two-year program for students with intellectual disability that focuses on academic coursework, employment, and social inclusion in college life. She has a PhD and an M.Ed. in Special Education, both from Lehigh University. Clare has published research in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national conferences on best practices in transition to postschool life for students with intellectual disability. Clare is also the Northeast Regional Representative to the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition (CEC-DCDT).

Anthony J. Plotner

is an Associate Professor and the Director of CarolinaLIFE at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Plotner received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois in Special Education with an emphasis in secondary transition and intellectual disability. Dr. Plotner has been the director of CarolinaLIFE since 2010. Dr. Plotner has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator of three federally-funded grants designed to prepare teachers of students with low-incidence disabilities and to prepare doctoral-level leadership personnel in special education, with a specific focus on secondary transition. Dr. Plotner has also directed several other secondary transition related projects in South Carolina.

Parimala Raghavendra

is an Associate Professor in Disability and Community Inclusion, College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University. She has a Ph.D. in Speech Pathology and has been working with children, young people and adults with communication disabilities for over 30 years. Her research, teaching and clinical experience has been in supporting people who are unable to use speech for everyday communication and benefit from augmentative and alternative communication such as speech generating devices, communication boards, and signs. Her current research focuses on investigating the impact of mobile technologies on communication and social networks of young people and adults with developmental or acquired disabilities. She has published extensively and holds grants in the area of enhancing social networks, communication and educational and employment participation of youth and adults with disabilities using IT, social media and mobile technologies.

Vivienne Riches

holds the title of Clinical Professor Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney and was awarded Fellow of the Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability in 2017 and inducted into the Disability Employment Australia Hall of Fame in 2013. Vivienne is a registered psychologist and involved in research, teaching/training and clinical practice with the Centre for Disability Studies, Sydney. Areas of interest include employment and transition from school to post school for people with disability, person centred active support, classification and assessment of support needs; mental and emotional health and well-being; positive behaviour support; social and interpersonal skills; and quality of life.

Fiona Rillotta

is a Lecturer in Disability and Community Inclusion at Flinders University, South Australia. She has a PhD in psychology, and degree in social science. She has been working with people with disabilities for almost 20 years, including: supporting inclusion of adults with intellectual disability (ID); self-advocacy training/mentoring; program evaluation; disability awareness training; school classroom learning support for students with ID; and training/supervising Special Olympics athlete leaders. Fiona’s research includes: inclusive university for people with ID; enhancing social networks of adults with ID; family quality of life; and attitudes towards ID. Fiona has published several journal articles and a book chapter. She was awarded the 2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2007 Australasian Research Prize—most innovative contribution resulting in positive life changes for people with ID.

Michael Shevlin

is a Professor in Inclusive Education and Director of the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities in Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland. His teaching and research has focused on facilitating the inclusion of children and young people with special educational needs within mainstream schools, promoting the voice of marginalised people within decision making processes that affect their lives, and addressing access issues for young people with disabilities within compulsory and higher education. He has completed longitudinal national studies investigating the provision of inclusive education in the Republic of Ireland. Michael is involved in policy making initiatives within Irish education in relation to the development of inclusive learning environments in schools and higher education. As Director of the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities, he manages the delivery of an accredited education into employment transition programme for young people with intellectual disabilities.

Roger Slee

is Professor of Education, The University of South Australia. He is the founding Editor of the International Journal of Inclusive Education. Roger was formerly the Director of The Victoria Institute, Chair of Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, University of London and Deputy Director General of the Queensland Ministry of Education. He has been an adviser to governments and led consulting and development projects in Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand, India, Iraq, Kosovo, the Republic of Montenegro, Ethiopia, Singapore and Greece. Roger’s most recent book was The Irregular School. Exclusion, Schooling and Inclusive Education (2011), was published by Routledge.

Natasha A. Spassiani

is an Assistant Professor in the School of Health and Social Care at Edinburgh Napier University, where her teaching and research focuses on community-based engagement of health initiatives for individuals with intellectual disabilities. She received her PhD in Disability Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2015, she was the course proposal coordinator for the development of the Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice (ASIAP) curriculum developed at Trinity College Dublin. She led the development of the transformative accredited curriculum embedded in universal design principles that offer university students with intellectual disabilities a high academic standard of learning. Natasha is dedicated to understanding the interplay of disability, community, health, and education using a social model perspective and participatory action research methods.

Guðrún V. Stefánsdóttir

PhD, is Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Iceland, School of Education. She obtained her PhD at the University of Iceland in 2008. Her research project can be divided into three main research areas. Firstly, life-history work and inclusive methodology; secondly, research on autonomy and people with intellectual disabilities; and thirdly, research projects concerning university education for people with intellectual disabilities. She was one of the scholars that planned and launched the university programme for people with intellectual disabilities at the University of Iceland in 2008.

Josh Stenberg

is a Lecturer in Chinese Studies, School of Languages and Cultures at The University of Sydney. He has translated fiction by authors such as Su Tong, Ye Zhaoyan, and Chen Xue, and is the editor of Irina’s Hat: New Short Stories from China (2013) published by University of Hawaii Press. His work on contemporary xiqu has been published in Asian Theatre Journal, Theatre Research International and Theatre Journal.

Kimberley Teasley

is a doctoral student and Exit Planning Coordinator of CarolinaLIFE at the University of South Carolina. Kimberley is pursuing her PhD in Special Education with an emphasis in administration and secondary transition. She received her undergraduate degree at James Madison University and her Master’s degree at Syracuse University and has six years of teaching at the secondary and postsecondary level. Kimberley’s research experience focuses on issues surrounding postsecondary education and supports for individuals with disabilities.

Lorraine Towers

is a Lecturer in Indigenous Studies and Comparative Education at the University of Sydney. Her research interests include the coloniality and cultural politics of education, the intersectional experience of diverse subjectivities and the construction of difference, and are inspired by a commitment to social justice. She has pursued these interests in her (soon to be published) doctoral studies on schooling and identity in Ethiopia and is currently exploring Indigenous knowledges, culture, history, and the imperatives of decolonial education in Australia.

Margaret Turley

is 28 years old and has a mild intellectual disability. She is originally from Kilkenny but now lives in Dublin city, Ireland. In 2013, she completed the two-year Certificate in Contemporary Living course and graduated from Trinity College Dublin. She is currently on a work placement in EY [Ernst Young]. She also gives lectures to social work students in Trinity once a week for 2 hours. She is working on a research project with Inclusion Ireland interviewing people with intellectual disabilities who are living in the community. She is also a member of the Inclusive Research Network. For sport, she plays basketball for Sports Club 15 and has been selected for the national Special Olympics Basketball team. She also swims once a week with “Sharks” in the national aquatic centre.

She is in the process of setting up a Trinity network group along with another graduate. The purpose of this group is to create opportunities to bring together people with and without disabilities.

Bruce Uditsky

M.Ed., and CEO of Inclusion Alberta. Bruce is internationally recognized for his leadership and advocacy in social justice and inclusion. He serves in an advisory capacity to the Alberta government and has been instrumental in the development of significant disability-related legislation. Bruce founded the first inclusive post-secondary education initiative at a university and co-founded the Rotary Employment Partnership both having been formally recognized as world leading global innovations. He has consulted in many countries and authored books, chapters and articles on inclusion. Bruce is a recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, multiple Communicator of the Year awards, a Paul Harris Fellowship and the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities Gary McPherson Leadership award.

Chelsea VanHorn Stinnett

is a doctoral student and Employment Coordinator of CarolinaLIFE at the University of South Carolina. Chelsea is pursuing her PhD in Special Education with an emphasis in administration and secondary transition. She received her master’s and undergraduate degrees at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and has six years of teaching experience related to secondary and postsecondary students in transition. Chelsea’s research experience focuses on improving adult outcomes for youth and young adults with developmental disabilities, particularly those attending postsecondary programs and interagency collaboration for students’ success.

Stephanie Walker

attended St Edmund’s College at Wahroonga, Australia, from years 8 to 12 and completed the HSC—Life Skills. She also has a Certificate III in Business Administration. Stephanie is an alumnus of Sydney University where she spent two years as part of the Centre for Disability Studies’ uni 2 beyond program. Stephanie finished that program in 2016 and has recently started permanent part time employment. Steph is passionate about sport and will be representing NSW at the upcoming Special Olympics National Games in tennis. She is also a member of the Balmain Paralympic Rowing Squad, and has recently received a silver medal at the NSW State Finals. As a member of ‘UP UP’ Toastmasters Club, Steph is learning public speaking and has aspirations of becoming an advocate for people with disabilities. She is still living at home with her family but is working towards living independently in the future.

Thea Werkoven

is an academic working at the University of Sydney, teaching nutrition and health to undergraduate students. Qualified as a dietitian and nutritionist and a professional member of the Dietitians Association of Australia, Thea has experience working as a consulting dietitian to industry and the public. Utilising her skills and knowledge as a dietitian, Thea developed an undergraduate elective for students faculty-wide at the University of Sydney to increase general nutrition knowledge, teaching a range of students from archaeologists to future doctors. Recently she was awarded her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Sydney, completed in the field of childhood obesity as a thesis by publication. Thea’s research interests include the importance of nutrition knowledge for health professionals and the impact that weight bias can have on professional practice.

Felicia L. Wilczenski

EdD, is a Professor of Counseling and School Psychology and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education and Human Development and the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Professor Wilczenski’s scholarly and teaching interests focus on service learning applications in higher education and in inclusive K-12 settings. She was a Fulbright Specialist in Service Learning at Beijing Normal University and is the author of a nationally award-winning book, A Practical Guide to Service Learning: Strategies for Positive Development in Schools (2007) published by Springer, for which she was named 2008 John Glenn Scholar in Service Learning by the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University.

People with Intellectual Disability Experiencing University Life

Theoretical Underpinnings, Evidence and Lived Experience


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