Theodoto Ressa

Theodoto   Ressa
Assistant Professor - Special Education
295 Education Bldg.

Office Hours:

  • Tuesday 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.
  • Wednesday 1:00 - 4:00 pm.
  • Or by appointment

  • PhD in Education- Teacher Education and Inclusive Special Education (Ohio State University-OSU)
  • M.A. in Education-Special Education (OSU)
  • B.Ed. in Education-Special Education & English and Language Arts (Maseno University-Kenya)



I grew up and schooled in Kenya, P16 where I attended both special residential rehabilitation schools and integrated and inclusive institutions. I then had three-year experience teaching English Language Arts at high school level in Kenya before before getting a Ford Foundation Scholarship to pursue graduate education in the U.S. I am fluent (oral and written) in English, Kiswahili, Samia, Luhyia and Luo languages by the virtue of growing up and living in different parts of the world.


  • Establish a research program in the area of Teaching and Learning and Special Education
  • Seek external funding for the research program
  • Publish scholarly materials
  • Collaboratively work with the university community to develop Inclusive Special Education program,
  • Teach undergraduate and graduate courses,
  • Mentor masters and doctoral students,
  • Supervise undergraduate and graduate research,
  • Collegial duties and responsibilities for the common good of the Division of Teacher Education, the College of Education and Wayne State University.


Academic Interests

  • Trans-national Teacher Education
  • Inclusive Special Education
  • Disability Studies in Education



Area Of Expertise

  • Inclusive Education
  • Disability Studies in Education
  • Interdisciplinary and trans-national studies
  • Quantitative and qualitative research approaches
  • Multicultural Education & Equity Studies in Education


Research Interests

  • Influence of local and Globalness of education systems and their impact of students with and without disability,
  • Pedagogical trends and their influence on the education of children with special needs,
  • Transition of children and youth with disabilities, P16 and to post-school life,
  • Impact of trans-cultural, -social, -economic, -political factors on quality of life of persons with disabilities and their communities.
  • Assistive Technologies and Education Technologies,
  • Appropriation of technology for research (e.g., computer, media technology, web design, transcribers, recording, & photos; use of SPSS, transcription software— NVIVO)
  • Media (social/popular, mainstream) and disability,
  • Music, Krip-Hop, and Activism,
  • Access evaluation including adaption of learning environments to make them accessible for diverse learners.


Courses Taught

TED 5010 Inclusive Teaching
Inclusive Education Classes (EDUTL 5501, EDUTL 809.70)

  • Students with Disabilities in Context
  • Perspectives on Disabilities: The Child, Family, School & Community
  • Special Education based on disability laws and other laws and policies—IDEA, Rehabilitation Act, ADA, NCLB, etc.
  • Planning and Instructional Strategies for Special Educators
  • Disability Studies in Education and Principles of Inclusive Education
  • Teaching the Special Education Learner in the General Education Classroom
  • Inclusive Curricular Pedagogy for Adolescents with Disabilities
  • Assessment & Instruction of Learners w/Special Needs: mild/moderate disabilities & Severe/Multiple Disabilities
  • Adaptive Technology, Assistive Technology and Augmentative Communication
  • Technology and Media in Education for students with disabilities
  • Student Teaching

Community Engagement Activities

I have been involved in various programs involving mentoring, leadership, organization and management (including group facilitation, moderation and analysis). I have been involved in the Upward Bound Program Programs to prepare youths with and without disabilities academically, socially, culturally, and physically for school and postsecondary life including college and employment. The program also exposes students to issues of poverty (e.g., hunger, homelessness), crime (e.g., hate crimes), health (e.g., ebola, zika virus), world trends and views (e.g., wars and refugees crisis), and global matter and environment (e.g., climate change and its impact). Besides, I'm also a motivation speaker.


  •  Treating the incomplete child: How the science of learning disabilities was built for exclusion.
    Danforth, S. & *Ressa, T. * 2013 Righting educational wrongs: Disability studies in law and education