Background: I officially began my career after earning my bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Missouri-Columbia, but I had already been working with individuals with disabilities and their families during high school and throughout college. Once graduating, I spent the next 10 years teaching special education across grade levels in both co-taught and segregated settings. During this time I also completed graduate coursework at the University of Kansas focusing on autism spectrum disorders, and then finally earned my M.Ed. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in multiple disabilities. My passion is working with students with extensive support needs, and it was while teaching this population for the last six years that it became very apparent that not all students are afforded the right to AAC or have it implemented effectively.
Current Interests: I am extremely interested in how individuals with AAC are represented in the curriculum, professional development, discourse, and cultural texts of American society. When I speak of cultural texts I am referring to textbooks, fiction/nonfiction books, movies, music, film, etc within society. I am curious how these representations of AAC users effect the perceptions and expectations (implicit and explicit biases) of their classmates, teachers, families, and society.
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Andrea Ruppar
Presentation Topic: Representation of Students with AAC: Why Does it Matter?
- How do you integrate knowledge from non-science fields (in my case the humanities) into your research? How do you get people to recognize its importance?
- When considering representation, how does/can one person do a large document, policy, media, etc analysis?