About us

DISNDisability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) is a specialised department for research and teaching concerning children and young people with diverse needs. We have over 30 academic staff and some 130 doctoral researchers engaged in promoting inclusion through multi-disciplinary working, researching the role of mainstream and special schools and pedagogies, and educational achievement. Members of DISN adopt a broad range of theoretical positions in relation to the field of special needs education and the synergy generated from these different perspectives is one of the department’s strengths.

The department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs is unique worldwide in its depth and scope of expertise. Research has been undertaken in many parts of the world including Brazil, Canada, Dubai, Egypt, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Malta, The Philippines, South Africa, Uganda and the USA.

Engagement with users

Members of DISN have well-established links with parents’ and carers’ groups. Practitioners working in schools and educational services hold roles in some 25 charitable professional and charitable organisations in the disability and special needs sectors.

The department also has:

  • Strong engagement with policy makers; for example our SEN policy seminar series and the Lamb Inquiry
  • Representation on the editorial boards of nearly 20 major journals in the field
  • Senior positions in over 40 voluntary bodies concerning disability or special needs
  • Major commissioned literature reviews for policy makers and practitioners across children’s services
  • Dedicated seminar programme and support for our research

Contact Details

Dr Linda Watson
Head of Department
Email: l.m.watson@bham.ac.uk

Dr Graeme Douglas
Deputy Head of Department (research)
Email: g.g.a.douglas@bham.ac.uk

Professor Mike McLinden
Deputy head of department (teaching)
Email: m.t.mclinden@bham.ac.uk





Head of Department, Dr Linda Watson gives an overview of DISN, its skills, courses and research.