Professor Graeme Douglas

Dr Graeme Douglas

School of Education
Head of the Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs
Co-director VICTAR

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Graeme is Professor of Disability and Special Educational Needs in the School of Education, University of Birmingham. He is the head of the Disability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) department. 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 of the Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR).


  • PhD
  • BSc.(Hons)


Graeme joined the School of Education, University of Birmingham, as a researcher in 1993 having completed his PhD in the area of individual differences in learning and computer-based presentation (also at Birmingham). Prior to this, he completed a degree in human psychology and computer science at Aston University.

Graeme has been the principal investigator and manager on many high-profile externally funded research projects in the area of vision impairment and SEN. He teaches research methods and supervises research students.


Graeme’s main teaching activities are in the area of research methods training for research students. He contributes to College of Social Science (CoSS) Postgraduate Research Training. His teaching particularly focuses upon methods of data collection and analysis and research design, as well as a particular interest in researching disability. He also supervises masters and doctoral research students working in the area of vision impairment in particular, and disability and SEN in general.

Postgraduate supervision

Graeme supervises and co-supervises ten research students. This includes Kubra Akbayrak who is exploring the training programmes of specialist teachers of children and young people with vision impairments in Turkey and England. 

For more information on research degrees, visit the Postgraduate Research pages.


Graeme has led many high profile research projects – including international literature reviews, large-scale surveys of the needs and circumstances of people with vision impairment, research into mobility and independence, the use of technology, and investigations into literacy. More recently, Graeme has worked closely with Rachel Hewett exploring the journeys of young people with vision impairment as they leave school and enter adulthood. The ‘Longitudinal Transitions Study’ has been working with a cohort of 80 young people for over eight years. Guided by these young people, the project is developing many practical guidelines and resources.

At the heart of Graeme’s work is collaboration with stakeholders: teachers, schools and services; policy makers; organisations for and of people with vision impairment; and, most importantly, people with vision impairment themselves.

The research of the Vison Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR) was identified as having internationally outstanding (4*) impact in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Recent and current research grants include:


Selected Publications

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., McLinden, M. & Keil S.  (2018): Balancing inclusive design, adjustments and personal agency: progressive mutual accommodations and the experiences of university students with vision impairment in the United Kingdom, International Journal of Inclusive Education.

Lynch, P., Gladstone, M., McLinden, M., Douglas, G., Jolly, E.,  Schmidt, E. and Chimoyo, J. (2018) I have learnt to love the child and give opportunities to play with peers’: A feasibility study of the training programme to support parents of young children with visual impairment in Malawi. Journal of Early Childhood Research

McLinden, M., Ravenscroft, J., Douglas, G., Hewett, R. and Cobb, R. (2017) The Significance of Specialist Teachers of Learners with Visual Impairments as Agents of Change: Examining Personnel Preparation in the United Kingdom through a Bioecological Systems Theory. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. Volume 111, 6, pp. 569-584. 

McLinden, M., Douglas, G., Hewett, R.,Cobb, R., & Lynch, P. (2017). Facilitating Participation in Education: The Distinctive Role of the Specialist Teacher in Supporting Learners with Vision Impairment in Combination with Severe and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research, 7(2). 

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., McLinden, M. & Keil, S. (2017) Developing an inclusive learning environment for students with visual impairment in higher education: progressive mutual accommodation and learner experiences in the United Kingdom. European Journal of Special Needs Education. 32:1, 89-109. DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2016.1254971

Gladstone, P., McLinden, M., Douglas, G. et  al. (2017) ‘Maybe I will give some help…. maybe not to help the eyes but different help’: an analysis of care and support of children with visual impairment in community settings in Malawi. Child: Care, Health and Development. View abstract

McLinden, M., Douglas, G., Cobb, R., Hewett, R. and Ravenscroft, J. (2016) Access to learning’ and ‘learning to access’: Analysing the distinctive role of specialist teachers of children and young people with vision impairments in facilitating curriculum access through an ecological systems theory. British Journal of Visual Impairment, 34, pp 177-195, DOI:10.1177/0264619616643180 

Douglas, G., McLinden, M., Robertson, C., Travers, J., and Smith, E. (2016) Including pupils with special educational needs and disability in national assessment: Comparison of three country case studies through an inclusive assessment framework. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 63(1), 98-121.

Hewett, R., and Douglas, G. (2015) Inclusive Design: It’s impact on young people with vision impairment. Journal on Technology& Persons with Disabilities. Vol 3. pp 277-290.

Douglas, G., and Hewett, R. (2014) Views of independence and readiness for employment amongst young people with visual impairments in the UK. The Australian Journal of Rehabilitation Counselling, 20 (2), 81–99.

Smith, E. and Douglas, G. (2014) Special educational needs, disability and school accountability: an international perspective. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 18(5), 443–458.

Douglas, G., Pavey, S. Corcoran, C. and Clements, B. (2012). Evaluating the use of the ICF as a framework for interviewing people with a visual impairment about their mobility and travel. British Journal of Visual Impairment, 30(1) 6–21 DOI: 10.1177/0264619611428932

Douglas, G., Travers, J., McLinden, M., Robertson, C., Smith, E., Macnab, N., Powers, S., Guldberg, K., McGough, A., O’Donnell, M. and Lacey, P. (2012). Measuring Educational Engagement, Progress and Outcomes for Children with Special Educational Needs: A Review. National Council for Special Education (NCSE), Trim, Ireland. (PDF)

Clements, B., Douglas, G. And Pavey, S. (2011). Which factors affect the chances of paid employment for individuals with visual impairment in Britain? WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation, 39, 1, 21-30. DOI: 10.3233/WOR-2011-1147 

Douglas, G., McLinden, M., McCall, S., Pavey, S., Ware, J., and Farrell, A. (2011). Access to print literacy for children and young people with visual impairment: findings from a review of literature. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 26, 1, 25-38. DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2011.543543

Douglas, G., McLinden, M., Farrell, A., Ware, J., McCall, S., and Pavey, S., (2011). Access to print literacy for children and young people with visual impairment: implications for policy and practice. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 26, 1, 39-46. DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2011.543544

Douglas, G., Pavey, S., Corcoran, C. and Eperjesi, F. (2010). Individuals' recollections of the experiences in eye clinics and understanding of their eye condition: results from a survey of visually impaired people in Britain. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 30, 6, 748-757

Douglas, G., McCall, S., McLinden, M., Pavey, S. Ware, J. and Farrell, A. (2010) International review of the literature of evidence of best practice models and outcomes in the education of blind and visually impaired children.  National Council for Special Education, Ireland. 192pp.

Douglas, G. Weston, A., Whittaker, J., Morley-Wilkins, S. and Robinson, D. (2009) An investigation of embossed Braille dot height for labelling on pharmaceutical products, Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 103, 10, 662-667.

Many research reports are available on the VICTAR website 

View all publications in research portal