Haring Center

The University of Washington Haring Center for Inclusive Education provides early childhood education to children with and without disabilities, conducts leading-edge research to advance inclusive learning, and trains education professionals in proven practices to develop every child’s potential. The essential support of our generous donors creates inclusive communities that empower all children to learn, play and grow together.

It is a pivotal time for advancing new discoveries in early learning and we are working to chart a course for the future. Together, we will ensure that children with disabilities receive the best foundation for a lifetime of learning and infinite possibilities. Together, we will build a boundless future. For children, for Washington, for the world.

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    • Dr. Bonnie McBride, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Director of the Oklahoma Autism Center. Her work includes expanding services and conducting research to improve the lives of families and children affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. McBride’s journey began at the University of Washington, where she delved into inclusive preschool teaching and co-founded Project DATA. Collaborating closely with the esteemed Dr. Ilene Schwartz, Director of the Haring Center, she co-authored “The DATA Model for Teaching Preschoolers with Autism,” a testament to their shared dedication.   Q. Could you share insights about your educational journey at the University of Washington? Any cherished memories or impactful moments stand out?   I moved to Washington State in 1991 and applied for a position with Dr. Tom Lovitt a well-known researcher and expert in learning disabilities at the UW.  He introduced me to Dr. Ilene Schwartz shortly after discovering my interest and experience with autism and early childhood. I didn’t know at the time the important impact that introduction would have on the rest of my career.    Ilene connected me with the principal of the Experimental Education Unit, who was hiring a lead teacher for one of the inclusive preschool classrooms that Dr. Schwartz and others had created.  Ilene and I had so many commonalities in training and experiences in autism (i.e., ABA training working with children with autism in a clinical/treatment setting and a vision of what an inclusive classroom could be) that working with her seemed like what I should be doing.  However, leading that classroom was harder than I had envisioned, and I remember fondly that the principal at the time Jennifer Annable said she avoided taking tours to my classroom for the first three months! It took me a bit to figure out what I was doing. I can see now that it was a great symbiotic relationship. I and others during that time would take Ilene’s vision and figure out how to make it work in the classroom.    I worked as a lead teacher and for Ilene on grants for the next 5 years. What a wonderful and impactful time of learning that was for me.  Those 5 years really set the stage for the next 27 years of my career. As an aside, I also feel like I get credit for “discovering” a current rock star of the University of Washington, Dr. Gail Joseph because she did her student teaching in my classroom one summer and I knew she was someone we needed at the EEU plus working with her was a lot of fun. During this time, a small group of us decided to apply for the doctoral program. I don’t know if we were officially Dr. Schwartz’s first doctoral students, but we certainly were some of the first.  This included Ann Garfinkle, Gusty-Lee Boulware, Gail Joseph and me.  What an incredible, talented group of professionals I got to work with at the EEU and during my doctoral program.  No matter how much time has passed, when I see them again it feels like no time has gone by at all. The bonds formed during that period of my life certainly were some of the most impactful. The work I had done up to this point set the stage for the next big milestone in my career, and that was working with Dr. Schwartz to develop and refine the DATA Model.   Q. Please tell us about your work and research.  I left the University of Washington in 2006 and took a faculty position in the department of pediatrics at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. In this role, I worked in developmental and behavioral pediatrics, specifically in autism spectrum disorder. My research over the past 18 years has focused on promoting early identification, identifying effective interventions, and the implementation of evidence-based interventions in meaningful educational and community-based settings. My research began at the University of Washington with Dr. Ilene Schwartz as a collaborator in the development of Project DATA (Developmentally Appropriate Treatment for Autism) in 1997. This project was funded through a model demonstration grant with OSEP. At OUHSC, I worked with senior research faculty in my department who had interest and expertise in translational research methods and who specialized in studying the implementation and adaptation of evidence-based models to authentic service settings. As part of a pilot project investigating the efficacy of the Project DATA Toddler model, I developed a community-based adaptation of the DATA model partnering with the state’s early intervention program to implement in local early learning and care centers. This pilot project expanded to 4 additional sites around the OKC and Tulsa metro areas and has sustained services to children and family for the past 15 years. These sites served as primary research sites of a multi-state RCT (Oklahoma and Washington) evaluating the efficacy of Project DATA for Toddlers and Preschoolers funded by the Institute of Educational Sciences—a branch of the US Department of Education in which Dr. Schwartz and I served as Co-Principal investigators. Results showed similar developmental gains to other studies using behavioral intervention. However, I believe that the original results of the RCTs did not adequately capture what is special about the DATA Model. Identifying how the uniqueness of DATA Model impacted student outcomes will hopefully be phase 2 of DATA Model research.   Q. Could you tell us about a particularly rewarding experience or breakthrough you’ve had in this endeavor?   What has been particularly impactful is the combination of work I am doing with my colleagues at OUHSC around implementation and adaptation of evidence-based interventions and the development of the DATA Model work with Dr. Schwartz at UW. As a field, we have known what is effective, but there is this disconnect between what is known and what is put into practice.  I really value the work we have done, and I am excited to continue to learn from my colleagues at OUHSC and others about how to better understand the factors that influence the likelihood

    • Dr. George Sugai is Emeritus Professor in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. In 2019, he retired as Carole J. Neag Endowed Chair and Professor with tenure in School of Education at the University of Connecticut. His research and practice interests included school-wide positive behavior support, behavioral disorders, applied behavior analysis, organizational management, and classroom and behavior management, and school discipline. He was a classroom teacher, program director, personnel preparer, and applied researcher. Currently, he is senior advisor for the OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. He completed his M.Ed. in 1974 and Ph.D. in 1980 in Special Education at University of Washington. Q. Could you share insights about your educational journey at the University of Washington? Thank you for inviting me to reflect on my UW experience, especially in honor of the Haring Center’s 25th anniversary. In sharing my reflections, I acknowledge that I have had the wonderful good fortune to learn from students, educators, families, researchers, and practitioners. The landscape of education, both general and special, has changed significantly since my retirement in 2019 due to various factors like the Covid pandemic, social unrest, racial and economic disparities and inequities, school and community violence, and climate warming. Despite these challenges, I believe future scholars and practitioners will make a positive impact by staying grounded in science and focusing on important measurable student outcomes, especially for children with disabilities and their families. My UW education and the people I’ve encountered have profoundly influenced my career in special education. I attribute the shaping of my educational journey at UW to three main factors: theoretical priority, expert role modeling and instruction, and positive cohort support. These influences have not only shaped my career but also enriched my understanding of the field and its challenges. Q. Please tell us more about these influences. One of the great opportunities occasioned by being retired is reflecting on the path of my development and experiences. UW was and is still highly influential. With respect to ”theoretical priority,” I came to UW with a BA in biological sciences, which gave me an excellent natural sciences foundation for learning about and becoming fluent with precision teaching, direct instruction, and applied behavior analysis (ABA). Having this well-defined and defendable theoretical foundation, that is behavioral sciences, enabled me to describe working problems in observable terms, derive conceptually sound interventions, and empirically test and evaluate the impact of my actions. With respect to “expert role modeling and instruction,” much of what I do is the result of what I learned from UW special education teachers and researchers. Although many are to “blame,” I want to name drop a few: Felix Billingsley, Gene Edgar, Ellis Evans, Norris Haring, Tom Lovitt, Rick Neel, David Ryckman, Steve Schinke, and Owen White. With respect to “positive cohort support,” one the important aspects of my UW experience and overall career has been the supportive and caring relationships that were initiated at the UW and durably maintained. To this day, I communicate regularly with and glean positive role modeling, support, encouragement, and advisement from members of my UW cohort. Again to name drop, they include Don Bailey, John Emerson, Susan Harris, and Mark Wolery. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I met my positive life support, Betsy Fernandez, while we were both UW students. Q. Much of your research has been in classrooms and schools. How did your UW experience shape your approach to research and practice in special education? One of the more important aspects about research and practice that I learned at UW was grounding my work in applied educationally important questions and concerns. This focus meant spending time in classrooms and schools to learn about what was most pressing for students and their teachers and families. It also meant developing and operationalizing research questions and methodologies that had application relevance in real student-teacher interactions and natural classroom and school instructional and behavioral contexts. Thus, my “approach to research and practice in special education” leans heavily on precision teaching, ABA, single case research design, and direct instruction. Q. Tell us more about positive behavior support (PBS). First, I think it is important to remember that PBS is firmly grounded in the behavioral sciences, in particular, ABA. Although many extensions and variations have evolved,some may not be rooted in the same behavioral tradition which may not represent the intent of the original PBS developers. Second, PBS gives us an empirically defendable scaffolding for acknowledging and giving priority to the personalized values of individuals with disabilities and their families and the larger systemic and cultural characteristics of their educational, social, and familial conditions. Third, we incorporated the tenets of PBS into our work in classroom and school to integrate academic instruction, behavior and classroom management, school climate, individual function-based support, etc. into efficiently doable, effectively defendable, and measurable practice actions. In sum, I think PBS has given us the extended conceptual, social, and educational validation to improve the applications and outcomes of our behavioral sciences in classroom and school contexts, especially for students with disabilities and their families. Q. How did your work in positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) evolve? I think it is important to iterate repeatedly that PBIS is not a “practice” or intervention. Instead, it is best conceptualized as an implementation framework that organizes teaching and learning environments and experiences for success. The emphases are on implementing empirically defendable practices with fidelity, collecting and using relevant implementation and outcome data, and giving educators the capacity and opportunities to teach and learn…all with a priority on selecting, emphasizing, and achieving important student outcomes and benefit. When we received federal (OSEP) support for the PBIS Center over 30 years ago, our team was given an incredible opportunity to develop, implement, and document our integrated ABA and PBS work. I want to highlight that the accomplishments of the PBIS Center were the result of capable, like-minded individuals working effectively and collaboratively as a national team.

    • May 18, 2024 was an incredible night for our ‘Homecoming’ Auction! After years of virtual and off-site auctions, the joy of finally gathering past and current EEU families, alongside former and current Haring Center Staff, along with our returning and new community partners, was simply heartwarming. Our Auction Tent was brimming with love, enthusiasm, and a profound, shared dedication to inclusive education.Together, as a community, we not only met but exceeded our goals, raising over $785,000! This remarkable achievement stands as a testament to the boundless generosity and support of all our donors and volunteers. To each and every person who lent their time, resources, and spirit to this cause, we extend our deepest gratitude. Check out the photos from the night here. If you’re having trouble with viewing, please contact Noam Soker, nsoker@uw.edu. If you missed the auction or would love to relive the auction you can check out our YouTube Recorded live stream below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY9WdflDBTM Finally, you can also view the Champion for Inclusion video and our Fund the Future video linked below.  Champions for Inclusion: The Sunderland Foundation  Fund the Future Video featuring current EEU Parents, Kevin Pringle and Jaime Aranda, and former EEU Family, Tracy and Jeff Brown with their son Maxford Brown