Ann P. Turnbull

Ann P. Turnbull

Ann P. Turnbull

Dr. Ann Turnbull has been a professor, teacher, researcher, and advocate for individuals with disabilities, their families, and service providers for four decades. She is currently the Ross and Marianna Beach Distinguished Professor of Special Education and Co-director of the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas.

In 1988, Ann was the co-founder of the Beach Center on Disability which is a vital hub of national and international research and development on contemporary issues impacting the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their families. She has been the Principal Investigator on over 25 federally funded research grants and has authored 35 books, including 2 leading textbooks in the field of special education. She has also authored over 275 articles and chapters. In 1999, she was selected by 7 professional and family organizations as one of 36 individuals who “changed the course of history for individuals with intellectual disabilities in the 20th century.” Ann has provided leadership in national professional and family organizations, including being the President of the American Association on Intellectual Disabilities. She was selected in 1990 for the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy International Leadership Award, as well as for The Arc’s Distinguished Research Award in 2004. In addition to her professional credentials, she is the parent of three children, one of whom, Jay (1967-2009), was an adult son with multiple disabilities who had what Ann describes as an "enviable life" in terms of his inclusion; productivity; and contributions to his family, friends, and community. Ann is recognized within the professional special education field as a leading family researcher on the topics of family support, family quality of life, and family-professional partnerships, while being simultaneously recognized within national and international family networks as a visionary and relentless family advocate and leader.


Emeritus Faculty, Beach Center on Disability,
Beach Center on Disability

Ed.D., Special Education , University of Alabama
M.Ed., Special Education , Auburn University
B.S.Ed., Special Education , University of Georgia

Contact Information

Professional Service

  • Family systems research and intervention
  • Family involvement and advocacy
  • Educational policy
  • School and community inclusion

Recent Publications

Turnbull, A. P., Turnbull, H. R., Wehmeyer, M. L., & Shogren, K. (2016). Exceptional lives: Special education in today's schools, Boston, MA: Pearson.

Turnbull, A. P., Turnbull, H. R., Erwin, E., Soodak, L., & Shogren, K. (2015). Families, professionals, and exceptionality: Positive outcomes through partnerships and trust, Boston, MA: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Turnbull, A. P., Turnbull, H. Rutherford, Wehmeyer, M. L., & Shogren, K. (2013). Exceptional lives: Special education in today's schools, Boston, MA: Pearson.



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