Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Disorders

Teacher and student sitting together at a desk

Photo of Sharon Vaughn

Area Coordinator
Sharon Vaughn

The Department of Special Education offers a doctoral (Ph.D.) degree with a concentration in Learning Disabilities and Behavior Disorders (LD/BD). This program focuses substantial coursework and research in the areas of reading and math disabilities as well as school-based behaviors.

Students will learn about trends and effective interventions used for individuals with learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. In addition, students have the opportunity to explore courses in at least two other areas of Special Education, research methods, professional coursework, and courses outside the Department Special Education.

Students are encouraged to become involved in research projects under the direction of faculty in the Department of Special Education. Students generally complete the doctoral degree in four years of full-time study. The doctoral degree in Special Education prepares graduates to work in a variety of settings including higher education, leadership roles in schools and districts, and further research into the practices and interventions that effectively treat learning disabilities.


Photo of Doris Luft Baker

Doris Baker

Associate Professor

Develops evidence-based reading, science, and social studies interventions and assessments for English learners and bilingual students with and without learning difficulties.

Photo of Diane Pedrotty Bryant

Diane Pedrotty Bryant


Mollie Villeret Davis Professor in Learning Disabilities

Researches instructional strategies and assistive technology adaptations for students with learning disabilities, specifically in Mathematics.

Photo of Nathan Clemons

Nathan Clemens

Associate Professor

Fellow of Mollie Villeret Davis Professor in Learning Disabilities

Works to enhance teachers’ ability to make data-based decisions, and improve interventions for students with reading difficulties.

Photo of Christian Doabler

Christian T. Doabler

Assistant Professor

Focuses on the instructional design and efficacy testing of early mathematics and science interventions for at-risk learners.

Photo of Peng Peng

Peng Peng

Assistant Professor

Focuses on embedding high-level cognitive skills training into academic instructions for children with severe learning disabilities that address the cognitive impairments underlying those disabilities.

Photo of Sarah Powell

Sarah Powell

Associate Professor

Develops and tests interventions for students with mathematics difficulties, emphasizing word-problem solving, mathematics writing, and the vocabulary within math.

Photo of Jessica Toste

Jessica Toste

Associate Professor

Focuses on effective interventions for students with and at-risk for reading disabilities, with a focus on motivational process and use of data to improve instructional decision making.

Photo of Sharon Vaughn

Sharon Vaughn

Executive Director, The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk

Manuel J. Justiz Endowed Chair in Math, Science, and Technology in Teacher Education

Investigates effective interventions for a diverse group of students with reading difficulties and students who are English language learners.