Dianne Zager, Ph.D.

Head of School

Dr. Dianne Zager is internationally recognized as a pioneer in autism education. She has consulted with school districts across the U.S. to develop autism educational programs and founded one of the nation’s first college support programs for students with autism. She has served as president of the International Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and has over 30 years’ experience directing graduate and post-graduate programs to train school personnel in autism. Dr. Zager has done extensive work in the transition of students with autism to adulthood and employment. She was founding editor of Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, one of the most widely read autism journals in the nation, and has authored numerous books, chapters, and research papers on topics related to the education of students with autism spectrum disorders.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. Berkell, D. (1982). Generalization of visual discrimination. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 87(3), 350-352.
  2. Berkell, D. (1982). Psycho-educational and task analytical models: A conceptual framework for comparison. Educational Technology, 22(9), 29-30.
  3. Berkell, D. (1983). Integrating methods to enhance instruction.  Educational Technology, 23(2), 54-59.
  4. Berkell, D. (1986).  Community-based job training. In B. D’Alonzo & G. Weisenstein (Eds.), Decade of the disabled: Transition to work and life. Proceedings of the Third International Conference of the Division on Career Development, Las Vegas: Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Career Development.
  5. Berkell, D. (1989). Principles for preparing youths with disabilities for transition. TheForum, 14(4), 5-8.
  6. Schmelkin, L. & Berkell, D. (1989).  Educators’ attitudes toward persons with severe handicaps.  Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 12(1), 40-47.
  7. Repetto, J., Berkell, D. (1991). Families, schools, and communities.  The Journal for Vocational Special Needs         Education, 14(1), 21-24.
  8. Alpern, C., & Zager, D. (2007). Addressing needs of students with autism in a college-based       inclusion program, Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 42(4), 428-436.
  9. Donaldson, J.B., & Zager, D. (2010). Mathematics interventions for students with high functioning autism/Asperger syndrome, Teaching Exceptional Children, 42(6), 40-47.
  10. Zager, D., & Alpern, C. (2010).  College-based inclusion programming for students with autism.  Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 25(3), 151-157.
  11. Wehmeyer, M.L., Shogren, K.A., Zager, D., Smith, T., Simpson, R. (2010). Research-based principles and practices for educating students with autism: Self-determination and social interactions. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 45(4), 475-486.
  12. Zager, D., & Smith, T.E.C. (2012). Inclusion at the postsecondary level for students with autism spectrum disorders. Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Retrieved from http://daddcec.org//Publications.aspx.
  13. Zager, D., & Feinman, S. (2012, Winter). Building executive functioning competence in high school students with autism. DADD Express Teachers’ Corner, 23(4), pp. 1-2.
  14. Zager, D., & Feinman, S. (2013, Winter). Employing evidence-based practices in high school to enhance accessibility to learning and to build executive competence. Autism Spectrum News, 5(3), pp. 8, 34.
  15. Mckeon, B., Alpern, C., Zager, D. (2013). Promoting academic  engagement for in college students with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 26 (4).
  16. Zager, D., Thoma, C.A., & Fleisher, S.M. (2014, Spring). Employment for persons on the autism spectrum: An examination of the state of the field and the path to pursue. Autism Spectrum News, 6(4), 1, 18,42.
  17. Emmons, C., & Zager, D. (2017, January). Increasing collaboration self-efficacy to improve educational programming. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, Article first published online: January 8, 2017 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1088357616686312. View the PDF.

Selected Related Books and Manuals

  1. Berkell, D. (1985). Teaching social interaction skills to autistic and developmentally disabled students.  Albany, NY: New York State Education Department.
  2. Berkell, D., & Brown, J. (Eds.). (1989). The transition from school to work for persons with disabilities. White Plains, NY: Longman. Copyright transferred to International Thompson Publishing, Cincinnati, OH.
  3. Berkell, D. (Ed).  (1992, 1999 2nd ed.).  Autism: Identification, education, and treatment.          Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum   Publishers.
  4. Zager, D. (Ed).  (2005). Autism spectrum disorders: Identification, education, and treatment (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ:  Erlbaum Publishers.
  5. Zager, D., Wehmeyer, M., & Simpson, R. (Eds.). (2012). Research-based principles and practices for educating students with autism. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.
  6. Zager, D., Alpern, C., Mckeon,, & Mulvey, M. (2013). Educating college students with autism spectrum disorders.  London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.
  7. Zager, D., Cihak, D., McDonald Stone, A. (Eds.). (2017). Autism spectrum disorder: Identification, education, and treatment (4th ed.). Routledge/Taylor  & Francis.


BS, Psychology/Special Education – Boston University

M.Ed. Special Education – Boston University

Ph.D. Educational Research – Hofstra University



Recognition for Service to Persons with Autism, Autism Society of America

1994 – 1998

Furman Fellow, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


Leo Doherty Award, for Service and Leadership, Northeastern Educational Research Association

2005 – Present

Michael C. Koffler Endowed Professorship in Autism, Pace University


Thomas F. Donlon Memorial Award for Distinguished Mentoring, Northeastern Educational Research Association


Outstanding Leadership in Service, District 75, New York City Department of Education

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