University of Vermont

Faculty Biography

Faculty Biography | Susan Ryan

Susan Ryan

Susan Ryan, Ph.D.Professor

Contact Information:
Mann Hall
(802) 656-1143

Susan M. Ryan, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (the Vermont University Center on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities) in the College of Education and Social Services at the University of Vermont. She is also a Professor of early childhood special education in the Integrated Studies Program. Prior to joining the faculty at UVM in 2007 she spent 25 years working in a variety of capacities in Alaska (e.g., special education teacher, early interventionists, and Professor and director of the early intervention program at the University of Alaska Anchorage). Dr. Ryan's work has focused on the areas of early intervention, rural personnel preparation, inclusion, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Dr. Ryan has been the recipient of federal and state funds in the area of early intervention, special education and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Areas of Expertise:

Disability and Inclusion; Early Childhood; Native American Populations; Rural Studies; Special Education

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders : Research and practice related to supporting infants, toddlers, children and youth with FASD. Currently directing the Green Mountain FASD project in collaboration with VCHIP.

Current Projects:

BEST: Building Effective Support for Teaching Students, BEST: Graduate Training, CSHN Nutrition Consultation, Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI), Family, Infant, Toddler Program, I-Team (Intensive Special Needs Education Collaborative), Intensive Special Education, Think College, Vermont ITEAM


Selected Publications

  • Ryan, S., Nauheimer, J. & Lebowitz, G. (2014).Differences between children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders: Rural social work implications for prevention, assessment, and treatment. Contemporary Rural Social Work, 6, 40-57.  [abstract]
  • Ryan, S. (2014). An inclusive rural post secondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 33(2), 18-28.  [abstract]
  • Bohjanen, S., Humphrey, M., & Ryan, S. (2009). Left Behind: Lack of research-based interventions for children and youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Rural Special Education Quarterly. 28(2), 32-38.
  • Dydbahl, C. & Ryan, S. (2009). FASD Inclusion: Teachers talk about practice. Prevention School Failure. 53(3), 185-195.
  • Ryan, S. (2006.) "Instructional tips: Supporting the educational needs of students with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders." Teaching Exceptional Children Plus, 3(2), Article 5.
  • Ryan, S. & Chionnaith, M. (2006). "On the Spectrum: Similarities and differences between students with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and autism spectrum disorders." Journal of International Special Needs Education, 9, 43-52.
  • Ryan, S. & Ferguson, D. (2006). "On, yet under the radar: Students with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders." Exceptional Children, 72, 363-379.
  • Ryan, S. & Ferguson, D. (2006). The person behind the face of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: Student experiences and family and professionals' perspectives on FASD. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 25(1), 32-40.
  • Ryan, S., Murphy, B., Harvey, S., Nygrene, K., & Ongtooguk, P. (2006). "The way of the human being: Supporting Alaska native families who have a child with a disability." Young Exceptional Children, 9(2), 12-19.
  • Edwards, S., O'Brien, P., & Ryan, S. (2005). "Count Me In": Including students with learning difficulties in Trinity College Dublin, REACH: Journal of Special Needs Education in Ireland, 19(1), 23-30

Courses Taught in the Last 5 Years

Culture of Disability; Participatory Action Research


  • Ph.D. in Special Education/Early Intervention from University of Oregon
  • M.Ed. in Special Education/Severe Disabilities from University of Vermont

Licensure or Certifications

  • State of Alaska: Elementary Education Certificate: K-8
  • State of Alaska: Elementary Principal Certificate K-8
  • State of Alaska: Special Education Certificate K-12

Professional Associations

  • Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), TASH (formerly The Association for Persons with Severe Disabilities)