Dr. Rispoli Accepts Tenured Position at Purdue University


Photo by the College of Education at Purdue University
Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: July 17, 2015

When Dr. Mandy Rispoli, associate professor of special education, leaves the College of Education & Human Development at Texas A&M for a tenured position at Purdue University, she will leave behind a legacy of advocacy for special education and public service.

As of the 2015-2016 academic year, Dr. Rispoli will be an associate professor of special education at Purdue University’s College of Education, where she will continue her research in the prevention of challenging behaviors of students with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Dr. Rispoli is a Yates Faculty Fellow, as well as a Montague Scholar Award recipient for her undergraduate teaching. She also has written over 80 peer-reviewed manuscripts on behavioral interventions for children with developmental disabilities.

Her interest in special education started with a course she took during her undergraduate studies, “Child Psychopathology”. She was captivated by the factors that contributed to a child’s development and the models for supporting children with diverse needs.  The course sparked her interest to work with children with developmental disabilities, which led her to pursue a master’s degree in early childhood special education. While working as a special education teacher, she found a lack of support and skills needed to address challenging behavior in children with developmental disabilities in the community. From then on she decided she could have an impact by pursuing her Doctorate in special education.

“[A] driving force behind my research is my desire to improve the quality of life for children with developmental disabilities and those who care and support them. All children deserve to be heard and supported to achieve their goals,” Dr. Rispoli explains. “When family members and service providers receive ongoing feedback and support in working with children with disabilities their relationship with the children also improves, as does their confidence, knowledge, and skills.”

“We know that early intervention for autism is crucial and that children can be diagnosed reliably at the age of 2 years. However, the average age of diagnosis in the US is closer to 5 years.” Dr. Rispoli states.

On the importance of special education, Dr. Rispoli says, “As we think about special education, I hope folks will immediately think of the word, “respect.” Respect for individuals with disabilities in the language we use and the beliefs we hold. Respect for their dreams, possibilities, and futures.”