The Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN)

Our department brings people together whose lives are impacted by special educational needs and inclusion. We drive meaningful change that benefits individuals, their families, and society as a whole. Our unrivalled breadth and depth of expertise across multiple specialisms, and our broad approach to inclusion, inform both our research and teaching.

 

Professor Karen Guldberg introduces the Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN)

 

Members of DISN

Head of Department

Dr Rachel Hewett

Dr Rachel Hewett

Associate Professor
Head of Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN)

Rachel Hewett is an Associate Professor in School of Education. She is currently Head of Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs and co-director of Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR).

She joined VICTAR as a Research Associate in 2010, before progressing to a Research Fellow in October 2012 and was appointed as a Birmingham Fellow in September 2017. ...

Telephone
+44 (0)121 414 4394
Email
r.g.hewett@bham.ac.uk

Academic Staff

Professor Julie Allan

Professor Julie Allan

Professor of Equity and Inclusion

Julie Allan is Professor of Equity and Inclusion and was formerly the Head of the School of Education. Her work encompasses inclusive education, disability studies and children’s rights and is both empirical and theoretical. She has a particular interest in educational theory and the insights offered through poststructural and social capital analyses. Julie has been advisor to the Scottish ...

Telephone
+44 (0)121 414 4853
Email
j.allan.1@bham.ac.uk

Ms Vikki Anderson

Ms Vikki Anderson

Teaching Fellow (PGCert Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties)

Having begun her career as a teacher of German and English, Vikki went on to specialise in the field of learning difficulties and disabilities, teaching in mainstream, special, further and higher education settings.

Before joining the University of Birmingham, she worked at the University of Wolverhampton as a Senior Lecturer on the BA Special Educational Needs and Inclusion programme. In ...

Email
v.anderson@bham.ac.uk

Dr Sarah Benson

Dr Sarah Benson

Associate Professor and Programme lead for Inclusion and Special Education Needs

Dr. Sarah Benson is an Associate Professor in inclusion and disabilities in the Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs. She is the programme lead for the Inclusion and Special Education Needs PGCert and Masters’ in the UK and Dubai.

Dr. Benson has published articles and book chapters on inclusive policy in the Middle East. Her interests lie in not only inclusive policy, but ...

Email
s.k.benson@bham.ac.uk

Dr James Birchwood

Academic and Professional Tutor in Educational and Child Psychology

James is an Academic and Professional Tutor on the Educational Psychology doctoral training course. In addition to this role, James is a practicing Educational Psychologist working in a West Midlands Local Authority and is also a Regional Tutor on the MA Inclusion (Social, Emotional Behavioural Difficulties) distance learning degree in the School of Education.

Telephone
+44 (0)121 414 4838
Email
j.f.birchwood@bham.ac.uk

Nick Bozic

Nick Bozic

Academic and Professional Tutor

Nick Bozic works as an academic and professional tutor on the initial training course for educational psychologists. Fifty percent of his time is spent working as a practicing educational psychologist in Birmingham Local Authority.

Telephone
+44 (0)121 414 5959
Email
n.m.bozic@bham.ac.uk

Dr. Katie Callicott

Dr. Katie Callicott

Academic Tutor

Katie is an Academic and Professional Tutor on the Applied Educational and Child Psychology Doctoral Programme at the University of Birmingham. In addition to this role, Katie is a practising Educational Psychologist working for a West Midlands Local Authority.

Dr Graeme Dobson

Dr Graeme Dobson

Associate Professor
Director of Education, School of Education

Graeme is a Lecturer on the Dyslexia and Learning Difficulties (SLD) programme and on the Special Educational Needs Coordination (SENCO) programme in the Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs.

He has extensive experience of working in a wide range of schools across the West Midlands. As well as holding various senior leadership roles within primary schools, he has also ...

Telephone
+44 (0)121 414 3805
Email
g.j.dobson@bham.ac.uk

Professor Graeme Douglas

Professor Graeme Douglas

Professor of Disability and Special Educational Needs
Co-director VICTAR

Graeme is Professor of Disability and Special Educational Needs in the School of Education, University of Birmingham. He was the head of the Disability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN)department (2015-2020). DISN is the largest department of its kind in the UK and comprises over 25 academics researching and studying in the field of inclusion, SEN and disability. He is also the co-director ...

Telephone
+44 (0)121 414 6736
Email
g.g.a.douglas@bham.ac.uk

Dr Eli Gemegah

Dr Eli Gemegah

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Eli Gemegah's current research aims to highlight contextual, experiential and psychological factors that influence (determine or threaten) the wellbeing of Black caregivers of children with ASD in the UK. This research measures the impact of autism on Black parents to raise awareness and begin dialogue that addresses transnational and global issues, while providing a framework to address ...

Email
e.e.gemegah@bham.ac.uk

Professor Karen Guldberg

Professor Karen Guldberg

Head of the School of Education and Professor of Autism Studies
Director of the Autism Centre for Education and Research

Dr Karen Guldberg is Head of the School of Education, Professor in Autism Studies and Director of the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) at the School of Education, University of Birmingham.

Karen’s research and teaching focuses on autism studies in education, and on inclusive practice in education and provision.  

Karen's most recent publications include the book De ...

Telephone
+44 (0)121 414 3470
Email
k.k.guldberg@bham.ac.uk

Neil Hall

Neil Hall

Lecturer in Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD)

Neil Hall is Lecturer in Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD) in the Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs and is the Programme Lead for postgraduate qualifications in SEBD.

 

Telephone
+44 (0)121 414 4841
Email
n.hall.1@bham.ac.uk

Dr Penelope Hannant

Dr Penelope Hannant

Programme Lead : Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties

Having worked in biochemical research for a short period of time, Penny’s career began as a class teacher progressing very quickly to senior management and ultimately headship, where she became an outstanding headteacher.

During her 26 years in education, she became specifically interested in how children learn and how to support difficulties in the classroom and so became a specialist ...

Email
p.hannant@bham.ac.uk

Dr Julia Howe

Dr Julia Howe

Academic and Professional Tutor, educational psychology

Julia has a background in teaching in both secondary school and further education. She works part-time as a Senior Educational Psychologist for a local authority in the West Midlands.

Telephone
0121 414 4450
Email
j.howe.1@bham.ac.uk

Dr Lila Kossyvaki

Dr Lila Kossyvaki

Associate Professor in Severe Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities

Lila Kossyvaki is an Associate Professor in Severe Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities in the Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) at the School of Education. She is also a member of the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER).

Lila is a chartered psychologist and a SEN teacher. She has a strong interest in school and home-based ...

Telephone
+44 (0)121 414 3464
Email
a.kossyvaki@bham.ac.uk

Dr Andrea MacLeod

Dr Andrea MacLeod

Associate Professor in Autism

Before joining the University Andrea worked in the voluntary sector, supporting adults with disabilities. She developed and managed models of support (including supported living, employment, peer support and community inclusion) for adults with Asperger syndrome within the West Midlands region.

Telephone
+44 (0) 121 415 8442
Email
a.g.macleod@bham.ac.uk

Dr Siya Mngaza

Dr Siya Mngaza

Academic and Professional Tutor

Siya Mngaza is an Academic and Professional Tutor on the Educational and Child Psychology Doctorate at the University of Birmingham. She also works within schools and community settings as a practitioner psychologist. Siya's research interests include racial identity development, school belonging and post-traumatic growth. Siya is interested in broadening research methods within educational and ...

Email
s.d.mngaza@bham.ac.uk

Dr Prithvi Perepa

Dr Prithvi Perepa

Associate Professor in Autism Studies

Prithvi is an Associate Professor in Autism Studies within the Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) and a member of the Autism Centre for Education Research (ACER). He is the programme leader for the distance learning Autism Children programme. He also contributes to teaching of the on-campus MA Education programme, and to some teaching on our Dubai campus. He ...

Telephone
+44 (0)121 415 8283
Email
p.perepa@bham.ac.uk

Dr Francesca Peruzzo

Dr Francesca Peruzzo

Research Fellow

Dr Francesca Peruzzo is a Research Fellow in Educational Equity and Policy. Her research interests lie in the intersection between politics, policy, education governance and inclusion, using in particular post-structural and decolonial approaches. More specifically, her work focusses on the analysis of education policies and inclusive education, exploring the role of the state, processes of ...

Email
f.peruzzo@bham.ac.uk

Dr Anita Soni

Dr Anita Soni

Academic and professional tutor

Anita is interested in working with children and their families in their early years of life, between birth and 7 years. She is enthusiastic about developing the skills of the Children’s Workforce, especially those working in Children’s Centres, and early childhood/years provision in the maintained, voluntary and independent sectors. This includes teachers, managers, teaching ...

Telephone
+44 (0)121 414 3603
Email
a.soni@bham.ac.uk

Dr Emmanouela Terlektsi

Dr Emmanouela Terlektsi

Associate Professor in Deaf Education

Emmanouela is an experienced teacher and researcher, working with deaf children. She is particularly interested in literacy development and social emotional development of deaf children and adolescents and how this can be enhanced by early identification and hearing aid technology.

The School of Education has the largest course for providing training for teachers who wish to gain the mandatory ...

Telephone
+44 (0)121 414 4876
Email
m.e.terlektsi@bham.ac.uk

Angela Wootten

Angela Wootten

Teaching Fellow in Education (Deafness and Hearing Impairment)

Angie Wootten has been a practising teacher of deaf children and young people for 32 years. She has worked with children and young people of all ages and in a range of provisions. Up until recently she worked as a hearing advisory teacher with Warwickshire’s Local Authority team.

Angie worked as a placement supervisor and a regional tutor for the university’s course Teachers of ...

Telephone
+44 (0)121 414 4448
Email
a.wootten@bham.ac.uk

Associated Staff

Professor Rita Jordan

Professor Rita Jordan

Emeritus Professor in Autism Studies
Self Employment as Autism Consultant

After a Psychology degree, Rita taught in mainstream and special schools which included nine years as Deputy Principal for a school for children on the autism spectrum. She also taught special needs, language development, clinical linguistics, education, and cognitive science in higher education. From 1993, she developed and ran a range of professional development programmes in autism studies ...

Email
r.r.jordan@bham.ac.uk

Professor Ann Lewis

Professor Ann Lewis

Emeritus Professor (Special Education and Educational Psychology)

Ann Lewis is Emeritus Professor at the University of Birmingham (UK) where she was research leader for a unique, 35-strong, academic group focusing on children with special needs or disabilities. She is also Honorary Professor at the University of Warwick (UK).

She has a longstanding interest in the ‘voice’ of disabled children, in particular, conceptual and methodological aspects ...

Email
a.lewis@bham.ac.uk

Professor Mike McLinden

Professor Mike McLinden

Emeritus Professor

With over 25 years’ experience of teaching in schools and Higher Education (HE) Mike has extensive experience of curriculum design, delivery and evaluation as a teacher, lecturer, senior manager and a researcher. Mike’s research interests include developing and promoting ‘research-informed’ pedagogical practice within HE with a particular focus on student-centred ...

Email
m.t.mclinden@bham.ac.uk

Mrs Sue Morris

Honorary Senior Lecturer

Sue has been a practising educational psychologist for more than 25 years, and, in addition to her teaching and research responsibilities within the University, continues to practice as a chartered educational psychologist on a 0.1 full-time equivalent basis.

Telephone
+44(0)121 414 4880
Email
s.k.morris@bham.ac.uk

Professor Gary Thomas

Professor Gary Thomas

Emeritus Professor of Inclusion and Diversity

Professor Gary Thomas took up the post of chair in education at Birmingham in 2005. Before university teaching, he worked as a teacher and as an educational psychologist. In higher education – at the University of Leeds, at Oxford Brookes University, UWE and University College London – his teaching and research have focused on inclusion, special education, and research methodology in ...

Email
g.thomas.3@bham.ac.uk

Dr Linda Watson

Dr Linda Watson

Honorary Senior Lecturer (Deafness and Hearing Impairment)

Linda has a background of experience as a teacher of the deaf and educational audiologist and her research and teaching are rooted in this experience. She is particularly interested in the early language and literacy development of young deaf children and how this can be enhanced by the use of cochlear implants and/or digital hearing aids. She has a collaboration with the University of Melbourne ...

Email
l.m.watson@bham.ac.uk

Department Administrator

educationschooladmin@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 

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Latest DISN publications

Butler-Rees, A 2023, 'My existence is resistance': an analysis of disabled peoples everyday lives as an enduring form of resistance. in SM Hughes (ed.), Critical Geographies of Resistance. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., pp. 124–137. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781800882881.00017

Hannant, P, Gartland, R, Eales, H & Mooncey, S 2023, 'A tool to profile neural, sensory and motor development in children at school entry, identifying possible barriers to learning and emotional well‐being in early childhood', Support for Learning. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9604.12455

Allan, J & Harwood, V 2023, 'Approaching the self: alternative perspectives of selfwork in education', International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.

Dobson, G, Curran, H, Cranshaw, D & Grady, A, Continuing Professional Development in SEND, 2023, Web publication/site, NASEN. <https://nasen.org.uk/page/what-cpd>

Dobson, G, Curran, H & Perepa, P 2023, 'Continuing professional development for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities within the school workforce – The results of a national survey in England', British Journal of Special Education. <https://nasenjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14678578>

View all Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs publications in research portal

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