Special Education

Innovative research with a global impact

The Department of Special Education is routinely ranked among the top 10 peer departments in the nation. This year, U.S. News & World Report ranked us fourth among publics and tied for fifth overall. We offer students the opportunity to gain specialist training and research experience with diverse populations across the life span. Our faculty are actively involved in innovative research that has a global impact on topics like supporting bilingual students with disabilities, math and reading interventions, design and evaluation of assistive technology, educating students with autism spectrum disorders, and the transition and post-school employment for people with disabilities.

Photo of Jessica Toste

Special Education Assistant Professor Jessica Toste Named to the 2017 ‘Texas Ten’ Professors

For the second year in a row, a Special Education faculty member has been recognized by alumni in the Texas Exes’ Texas 10 awards. This year’s recipient, Jessica Toste, completed a master’s and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at McGill University after a mentor helped her realize she could have the most impact by teaching teachers.

Photo of Diane Pedrotty Bryant

Diane Pedrotty Bryant Lauded with Leadership Award

Dr. Diane Bryant was the recipient of the 2017 Jeannette E. Fleischner Career Leadership Award by the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) Division for Learning Disabilities. This award is one of the highest honors for researchers involved with CEC, and recognizes those who have advanced the field of learning disabilities through direct services, policy development, community service, research or organizational leadership throughout their career. Congratulations to Diane!

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For Kids With Autism, Imitation Counts for More Than the Highest Form of Flattery

Assistant Professor Micheal Sandbank recently conducted a study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders that searched for the most important predictor of intentional communication.

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Alumnus Recognized with Early Career Research Award

We are proud to share the achievements of Dr. Chris Lemons, now on faculty in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Lemons is a three-time Longhorn (MA 2000; BS Special Education 1999; BA Psychology 1996). Most recently, he graduated with a master’s of special education in 2000 under the supervision of Dr. Diane Bryant. At the annual convention of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) in April 2017, Dr. Lemons was honored with the "Distinguished Early Career Research Award" by the Division for Research. This award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding scientific contributions in basic and/or applied research in special education within the first 10 years after receiving the doctoral degree.

Photo of Mandy Rispoli

Alumna Receives Excellence Award

We are proud of UT Department of Special Education graduate Dr. Mandy Rispoli, who recently received the inaugural Trailblazer Award for mid-career excellence and impact in research and scholarship from Purdue University. Dr. Rispoli is currently an associate professor of special education in the Department of Educational Studies at Purdue. She earned her doctorate under the supervision of Dr. Mark O’Reilly, in Autism and Developmental Disabilities from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009.