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Diversity, Autism and Developmental Disabilities: Guidance for the Culturally Responsive Educator – PRISM 13


Editor(s): Elizabeth A. Harkins Monaco, Marcus Fuller, L. Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan 

Year published: 2021

Publisher: CEC and DADD

Number of pages: 216

Product Number: P6333

ISBN Number: 978-0-86586-547-1

Member Price: $29.95 (25% off)

Non-Member Price: $39.95





This book is the 13th in the Prism series, developed by the Council for Exceptional Children Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities. The Prism series is a collection of volumes that highlight evidence-based research-to-practice teaching strategies and interventions geared toward supporting students with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, and other developmental disabilities.


This book is about intersectionality, which is a way to understand social inequalities by acknowledging how multiple overlapping social identities impact and oppress certain populations. Examples of social identities include race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and [dis]ability, among others. Each category – race, gender, and [dis]ability – places a student at higher risk of discrimination or oppression. An intersectional perspective requires sensitivity, vulnerability, and a willingness to listen to alternative perspectives.

    • Chapter 1: Introducing Cultural Competence in the Context of Disability and Additional Social Identities
    • Chapter 2: Interrogating Assumptions About Culture and Disability: Becoming a Critical and Reflexive Educator
    • Chapter 3: Acknowledging Other Cultural Identities and Their Beliefs Around Culture and Disability
    • Chapter 4: Working with Diverse Languages and Disabilities
    • Chapter 5: Supporting the Right to Gender and Sexuality Diversity and Disability
    • Chapter 6: Creating Positive Relationships with Diverse Students with Disabilities and Ensuring Academic Success Through Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies 
    • Chapter 7: Empowering Families by Utilizing Culturally Sustaining Strategies in the Education of Children with Multi-Layered Identities 
    • Chapter 8: Teaching Diverse Students with Disabilities Socio-Political Consciousness and Self-Advocacy
    • Chapter 9: Preparing Practitioners and Coaching Cultural Competence and Disability Awareness



    Elizabeth A. Harkins (Monaco), Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education, Professional Counseling, and Disability Studies at William  Paterson University. She is currently the program director of the autism and developmental disabilities advanced master’s program. She is a former special education administrator, classroom teacher, and family advocate who has served students with disabilities, in a variety of settings. Dr. Harkins’ scholarly interests focus on the critical importance of social justice pedagogy alongside educational excellence for all students, specifically the coexisting experiences of multiple, overlapping social identities for students with disabilities and the teaching strategies and learning opportunities that incorporate these social constructs. Publications include manuscripts that examine the impacts of social and emotional health; comprehensive sexuality education; gender, race, and sexuality injustices for individuals with disabilities; and intersectional pedagogy. 


    Marcus C. Fuller, Ph.D., is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Education at The University of Vermont. He earned his doctorate in special education at Texas  A&M University. He has served teachers and parents from various ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic status, and age groups within urban and rural areas. Dr. Fuller’s scholarly interests focus on empowering families, educators, and researchers by helping them increase their implementation skills during interventions with children with behavior disorders, autism, and/or complex communication needs through the use of educational coaching and performance feedback. Dr. Fuller has served as a reviewer for multiple journals and conference proposals as an active member of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD), and the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (CCBD). He completed a summer internship with the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in Washington, D.C. 


    L. Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan, Ph.D., is a Professor in and Chair of the Depart-ment of Special Education at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. She co-ordinates the autism and developmental disabilities master’s programs. She is a private educational consultant and parent of an adult son with autism. She earned her doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she studied con-temporary educational issues within urban settings. She has served on the board of directors for the Autism Society of America and CEC’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD). She co-authored Do-Watch-Listen-Say: Social and communication skills for autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Stansberry Brusnahan’s scholarly interests focus on autism and teacher preparation. In 2012, she was the Autism Society Professional of the Year. 




    Christine Ashby, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Inclusive Special Education and Disability Studies at Syracuse University. She coordinates both undergraduate and graduate special education programs along with directing the Center on Disability and Inclusion. She is a former special education teacher. Dr. Ashby’s scholarly interests focus on inclusive education broadly, with emphasis on support for students with autism and developmental disabilities, disability studies, and inclusive teacher preparation. She has published in numerous journals including Equity and Excellence in Education, International Journal of Inclusive Education, Teacher Education and Special Education, and Intellectual and Developmental Disability. Her co-edited book, Enacting change from within: Disability studies meets teaching and teacher education explores how disability studies can inform the practical work of teachers. 


    Diana Baker, Ph.D. and BCBA, is an Associate Professor of Education at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She has worked as a preschool teacher for students with autism, where she developed a special interest in culturally and linguistically diverse children and their families. Dr. Baker’s scholarly interests focus on multi-lingual students with autism and the inclusion of students with disabilities in dual immersion settings.


    Kathlene Holmes Campbell, Ph.D., is the Dean of the School of Education at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. She has experience as a classroom teacher, college professor, interim dean, university instructor and supervisor, and non-profit consultant. She worked with the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education (NUA), helping teachers improve their practice and infuse culturally relevant teaching practices into classrooms. She holds a B.A. in elementary education and M.Ed. in early childhood intervention and family studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from The University of Texas at Austin. She has taught numerous courses focused on social justice and equity.


    Kelly M. Carrero, Ph.D. and BCBA, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Special Education at Texas A&M University - Commerce. She earned her doctorate in special education with an emphasis on behavioral disorders at the University of North Texas. She has served children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds identified with exceptionalities and behavioral health concerns (including autism) in a variety of settings. Dr. Carrero’s scholarly interests focus on investigating interventions that increase access to social capital for children and families from diverse backgrounds who are affected by communicative and behavioral health disorders; and disseminating socially valid and culturally responsive practices in research and service delivery. Dr. Carrero serves as a reviewer for several journals and as an active member and leader within CEC and its respective divisions.   


    Beth A. Ferri, Ph.D., is a Professor of Inclusive Education and Disability Studies at Syracuse University, where she also coordinates the doctoral program in special education. She has published widely on the intersection of race, gender, and disability, including recent articles in Teachers College Record, Race Ethnicity and Education, Educational Studies, Review of Research in Education, International Journal of Inclusive Education, Remedial & Special Education, Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, History of Education Quarterly, and the Journal of African American History. Dr. Ferri has published several books, including Righting Educational Wrongs: Disability Studies Law and Education (Syracuse University Press, 2013, with Kanter); and DisCrit: Critical Conversations Across Race, Class, & Dis/ability (Teachers College Press, 2016, with Connor & Annamma). 


    Megan-Brette Hamilton, Ph.D. and CCC-SLP, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Auburn University. She is an ASHA certified speech-language pathologist (SLP) and has worked as an SLP for 10 years in New York city where the majority of her caseload included African American and Hispanic students. Dr. Hamilton’s scholarly interests include the educational and clinical experiences (e.g., literacy, communication interactions) of speakers of non-mainstream dialects of English, with a particular focus on African American English-speakers. Megan-Brette’s work also explores cultural-linguistic competence/perspectives of professionals and students working with culturally-linguistically diverse populations. 


    JoDell R. Heroux, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Special Education at Central Michigan University. She has worked with students with disabilities in various public school contexts. Dr. Heroux’s scholarly interests focus on disability studies and how social and rights-based models of disability can be used to challenge narrow conceptions of disability as a deficit. She co-authored a book chapter on the tensions between special education and inclusion and how the rights-based model of disability can be used to inform the way we think about inclusion. She is collaborating with faculty to develop a minor in Disability Studies at her university.


    Djanna Hill, Ed.D., is a Professor of Teacher Education PreK-12 at William Paterson University. She serves as Chair of the Department of Community and Social Justice Studies. She is a former middle and high school science teacher with extensive experience preparing teachers for K-12 classrooms. Her academic degrees from Howard University and Columbia University lead her to teach courses in educational foundations, multicultural education, and science methods at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Hill’s most recent co-authored book entitled, Star teachers of children in poverty (Routledge, 2018), brings the ideas of community teachers, teacher disposition, and efficacy to the forefront when analyzing our current involvement in K-12 classrooms. 


    William Hunter, Ed.D., is an Associate Professor of Special Education at the University of Memphis. He earned his doctorate degree in Special Education from the University of Cincinnati. He has worked as a special education teacher and administrator in urban schools in addition to working as a residential mental health intervention specialist at youth residential facilities. He has numerous publications and presentations including those with a focus on culturally relevant pedagogy. He serves on the CEC Board of Directors as a Member-at-Large and on the CEC Division for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners (DDEL) Finance Committee. 


    Deeqaifrah Hussein, M.A., is a Director of Special Education at Minneapolis Public Schools. She is a licensed teacher in autism and emotional behavior disorders. She is pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on autism at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Ms. Hussein is a parent of two children with autism, a community advocate, and the vice president of Somali Parents Autism Network. She serves on the board of Autism Society of Minnesota, is a former Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellow from University of Minnesota, and is a member of her state senate autism council.


    Tian (Jessie) Jiang, M.S. and BCBA, is a Doctoral Student at the Warner School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester. Her work involves translating techniques from applied behavior analysis (ABA) into Chinese, training teachers and parents to effectively implement interventions, and advising policymakers on creating initiatives that suit China’s cultural context. Her scholarly focus includes providing training to special education teachers in inclusive settings in China.


    Talya D. Kemper, Ph.D., (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in the Teacher Education Department at California State University East Bay. She has worked as a paraprofessional, inclusive support teacher and as a home support provider for individuals with disabilities across the life span. She received her teaching credential at San Francisco State. She has a master’s degree in special education and a doctorate from the University of Washington. Dr. Kemper’s scholarly interests focus on issues of diversity in the design and research of educational interventions for students with autism.  


    Hyejung Kim, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Leadership at Binghamton University, State University of New York. Informed by her own experiences as a transnational scholar who is bilingual and, within the American context, a minority, Dr. Kim’s scholarly interests focus on individuals with autism from diverse backgrounds including the intersectionality of autism, race, and language during individuals’ transition from high school to adulthood.


    Endia J. Lindo, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Special Education at Texas Christian University, core faculty in the Alice Neeley Special Education Research and Service (ANSERS) Institute, and President of Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Division for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners (DDEL). Dr. Lindo worked as a resource teacher prior to earning her Ph.D. in Special Education from Vanderbilt University and completing an Institute of Education Science (IES) Postdoctoral Fellowship at Georgia State University. In addition to serving on the DDEL executive board, she is a member of the Professional Development, Standards, and Ethics Committee for the Division of Learning Disabilities (DLD). Dr. Lindo’s scholarship focuses on improving the reading comprehension of students with learning difficulties and disabilities by examining approaches for implementing and enhancing school and community-based interventions and increasing the teaching and cultural competence of our teaching force.


    Helen McCabe, Ph.D. and BCBA, is an Associate Professor in the Education Department at Daemen College. She has collaborated with China-based educational organizations for children with autism for many years, as a volunteer and as a provider of parent and teacher training. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, she serves as an interpreter for Chinese-speaking families of children with disabilities in the United States. Dr. McCabe’s scholarly interests focus on intervention and support for children with autism, along with their families and teachers in China.


    Meaghan M. McCollow, Ph.D. and BCBA-D, (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at California State University East Bay. She has supported individuals with disabilities in a variety of capacities and across age groups from preschool through young adulthood. Her training includes sexuality education for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. McCollow’s scholarly interests focus on examining the contexts in which research and evidence-based practices are implemented and on developing independence and rights of individuals with disabilities. Her publications include practitioner-focused articles on gender and sexuality issues for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.   


    Tracy McKinney, Ph.D. and BCBA-D, is a Special Education Assessor with the Department of Defense Dependent Schools. She previously worked at Georgia State University as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education in the Department of Learning Sciences and as an affiliated faculty member while at Georgia State University. She received her doctorate from the University of Central Florida and was a postdoctoral research associate at the University Illinois-Chicago. Dr. McKinney’s scholarly interests include a focus on teacher preparation infusing culturally relevant pedagogy in teacher preparation. She has published in numerous journals and presented her work at numerous international and national conferences. 


    Kelly McNeal, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Special Education, Professional Counseling, and Disability Studies at William Paterson University in New Jersey. She is the Chair of the Department and has previously served as Graduate Director of the Teacher of Students with Disabilities program. She has worked as a classroom teacher and a special education diagnostician as well as a parent advocate. Dr. McNeal’s scholarly interests focus on literacy, assessment, urban education, and accreditation. She has served in numerous positions on the American Educational Research Association Urban Learning, Teaching and Research special interest group, including program chair, editor of their journal, and session chair of its annual program. 


    Nanette Missaghi, M.A., is the Director of Equity and Inclusion at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Ms. Missaghi is a licensed Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) coach. She was the Director of the Collaborative Urban Educator (CUE) program and an adjunct faculty at the University of St. Thomas. She has a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. Ms. Missaghi’s scholarly interests focus on racial equity, culturally responsive pedagogy, and the intersection of culture and race in educational settings and she has contributed to numerous publications on these topics. 


    Shelley Neilsen Gatti, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. She coordinates the license program in emotional and behavioral disorders and residency programs. She was a special education teacher in Montana and worked in the special education department in Minneapolis schools. She completed her doctorate in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota studying multi-tiered systems of support for young children at risk in urban settings. She is the president of the Minnesota Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders chapter. Dr. Neilsen Gatti’s scholarly interests focus on embedding culturally sustaining pedagogy across all sectors of education and teacher preparation and evaluation.  


    Martin Odima Jr., M.A., is a Special Education Teacher in the Saint Paul Public School District in Minnesota. He is Adjunct Faculty at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. He studied psychology at the University of Minnesota and completed his master’s degree in special education at the University of St. Thomas. His scholarly interests focus on educational equity, inclusive practices for students with disabilities, and retention of teachers of color. His publications include a chapter that focuses on teaching strategies for special education teachers to thrive and persist in the field. 


    Jamie Pearson, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Special Education in the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences at North Carolina State University. She is a former behavioral interventionist and autism program consultant. She earned her doctorate in Special Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she developed Families of Children with Autism (FAC-ES), a parent advocacy program designed to support African American families of children with autism. Dr. Pearson’s scholarly interests focus on equity in special education for historically marginalized populations, disparities in autism diagnoses, service access, and service utilization among minority families, and strategies for building effective partnerships between educators and parents of children with disabilities. She has presented at national and international conferences and published in journals such as the Journal of Special Education, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, and Teaching Exceptional Children.


    Nigel P. Pierce, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at North Carolina Central University. Dr. Pierce received his Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood/Special Education from Bowie State University, his Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, and his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. He was a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Pierce’s scholarly interests include the effects of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and linguistic differences on treatment and accessibility of services for individuals with autism. 


    Phillandra Smith, M.S., is a Doctoral Candidate in Special Education and pursuing a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Disability Studies at Syracuse University. Originally from the Bahamas, the driving force for her interest in special education is an increasing awareness that some students, particularly those with disabilities, exist on the fringe of the school community and the realization that her classroom was no different. Her scholarly interests focus on cultural reciprocity and the integration of student culture in the transition planning of culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities, retention and recruitment of racially and ethnically diverse students to inclusive education teacher programs and the experiences of Caribbean migrant students with disabilities in U.S. schools.   


    Calvin Stanley, M.Ed. and BCBA, is an in-home Applied Behavior Analyst (ABA) supervising clinician in Boston, Massachusetts, working with culturally and linguistically diverse students ranging in age from early childhood to adolescence. He has served as a teacher and school administrator in Guangzhou, China. He returned to the United States when his daughter was diagnosed with autism. His scholarly interests focus on promoting autism awareness, exploring multilingual and multicultural issues in the field, and serving local immigrant communities as a resource on autism-related issues.


    Peggy Schaefer Whitby, Ph.D. and BCBA-D, is an Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Schaefer Whitby’s scholarly interests focus on providing behavior support to children with autism in school settings including sexuality education, skill acquisition in academics, and reduction of problem behaviors. She is researching access to services for children living in rural areas of poverty and the sociopolitical constructs that may impact advocacy and service issues. She has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and books on educating children with autism.   




    Christopher J. Cormier, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University in the Stanford Graduate School of Education. He is a former special education teacher. His scholarly interests focus on how marginalization is indexed across the globe. More specifically he studies the functions of marginalization for students who are overrepresented in special education programs in addition to exploring how this issue is exacerbated by the underrepresentation of minoritized teachers who are historically marginalized both domestically and internationally. He also explores the mental health of teachers and students domestically.


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