Audrey A. Trainor

Associate Professor, Department of Teaching & Learning, Special Education
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, & Human Development

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Audrey A. Trainor, PhD in special education, studies equity and diversity in special education, focusing on post-secondary transitions for adolescents with learning and behavioral/emotional disabilities. A central purpose of her work is to improve inclusive transition education and post-school outcomes for adolescents with disabilities who are vulnerable because they have experienced limited access to educational opportunities. Using capital theory, her projects examine how economic, cultural, and social capital coalesce and function as levers for power and agency in special education processes. Dr. Trainor has focused on mixed methods approaches to research, participating on teams of researchers conducting secondary analysis of the National Longitudinal Transition Studies (NLTS) funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, and qualitative interview studies with parents and individuals with disabilities.

In 2017 Dr. Trainor began to lead a 4-year, IES-funded research project exploring the transition to postsecondary education for students who are dually identified in schools as English learners and students with disabilities. This project, Factors Associated with Postsecondary Success for English Language Learners with Disabilities: A Mixed Methods Exploration, is a collaborative effort with NYU (Audrey Trainor, Heather Woodley, Lilly Padia, Rachel Traxler, Nicole Deschene, and Yuhang Tang) and SRI (Lynn Newman). More information about the project, including resources for teachers, students and families can be found at the project’s website: Postschool Success for English Learners with IEPs.

Additionally, Dr. Trainor’s interest in research methodology has led to her examination of the policy-driven initiatives such as the identification of evidence-based practices, and the development of a conceptual framework for culturally responsive intervention research. She has published a book and multiple articles on the peer review process for qualitative research, research ethics, and criteria for excellence in research. Dr. Trainor is a past president (2012-13) of the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Career Development and Transition. Prior to her career in postsecondary education, she was a special education high school teacher working with students with high-incidence disabilities for nearly a decade.