Zachary Rossetti

Assistant Professor

Zach Rossetti is an Assistant Professor of Special Education in the Childhood and Exceptional Education Cluster. His research examines the social belonging and participation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), with a specific focus on how educators and parents can facilitate friendship opportunities between students with and without IDD. He is also interested in collaboration with families of individuals with IDD, specifically examining sibling relationships and parent-professional collaboration.

Ph.D. in Special Education, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

C.A.S. in Disability Studies, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

M.Ed. in Special Education (Concentration: Severe Disabilities), University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

B.A. in Sociology, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT

SED SE 250: Disability, Education, and Public Policy

SED SE 480: Teaching Students with Special Needs

SED SE 512: Students with Disabilities and the Law

SED SE 534: Classroom and Behavior Management

SED SE 535: Understanding Autism

SED SE 706: Introduction to Special Education

Dr. Rossetti's primary research program examines the social opportunities and relationships between students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities in inclusive settings with an emphasis on how educators may promote friendships. His research also focuses on family experiences related to disability by examining (a) family engagement in the special education process (e.g., IEP meetings), and (b) the roles and relationships of siblings with a brother or sister with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Friendships: Having a friend results in personal benefit, facilitates developmental gains, leads to positive school outcomes, and protects against bullying experiences. Yet, students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) continue to be on the periphery of peer social networks, even in inclusive settings, and infrequently engaged in friendships with classmates without disabilities. Dr. Rossetti's research identifies the ways that educators can increase and improve social interaction opportunities between students with and without IDD as a precursor to friendship development. This approach inherently shifts the focus from the deficits of students with IDD to the environmental contexts that support all students to participate, interact, and ultimately, to develop friendships with each other. It is clear that inclusive education alone does not lead to friendships. Dr. Rossetti's research addresses how to support development of these friendships. 

Family engagement: For over 40 years, the federal government has required that public school districts support family participation in their children’s special education and related services. Specifically, all parents of students with disabilities have the right to collaborate as equal members of educational teams in the development and implementation of their children’s Individualized Education Programs (IEP). However, families often experience difficulties collaborating with school professionals, and there are significant differences in family engagement in the IEP process by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Dr. Rossetti's research examines family experiences and perspectives on their participation and language access in IEP meetings, family involvement and support in their children's post-school lives, and sibling roles and relationships. This research has an applied focus and aims to improve policy and practice related to family-professional collaboration, post-school outcomes of students with IDD, and sibling support and involvement in the lives of their brothers and sisters with IDD. 

Dr. Rossetti's research is currently funded by the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, the American Educational Research Association (Education Research Service Project), and Boston University's School of Education.

Zach Rossetti's Faculty Profile

Rossetti, Z., Sauer, J. S., Bui, O., & Ou, S. (In press). Developing collaborative partnerships with culturally and linguistically diverse families during the IEP process. TEACHING Exceptional Children.

Rossetti, Z. & Keenan, J.* (2017). The nature of friendship between students with and without severe disabilities. Remedial and Special Education. Prepublished April 4, 2017. doi: 10.1177/0741932517703713 

Rossetti, Z., Lehr, D., Huang, S.*, Ghai, J.*, & Harayama, N. (2016). Parent and teacher perspectives on friendships and social interactions of middle and high school students with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities. Inclusion, 4, 239-256. doi: 10.1352/2326-6988-4.4.239 

Rossetti, Z., Lehr, D., Pelerin, D.*, Huang, S.*, & Lederer, L. (2016). Parent involvement in meaningful post-school experiences for young adults with IDD and pervasive support needs. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 54, 260-272. doi: 10.1352/1934-9556-54.4.260

Rossetti, Z., & Hall, S. (2015). Adult sibling relationships with brothers and sisters with severe disabilities. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities,40, 120-137. doi: 10.1177/1540796915592829

Rossetti, Z., Lehr, D., Lederer, L., Pelerin, D.*, & Huang, S.* (2015). Parent perceptions of time spent meaningfully by young adults with pervasive support needs. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 40, 3-19. doi: 10.1177/1540796914566714

Rossetti, Z. (2015). Descriptors of friendship between secondary students with and without autism or intellectual and developmental disability. Remedial and Special Education, 36, 181-192. doi: 10.1177/0741932514550370

Rossetti, Z. (2014). Peer interactions and friendship opportunities between elementary students with and without autism or developmental disability. Inclusion, 2, 301-315. doi: 10.1352/2326-6988-2.4.301

Rossetti, Z. (2012). Helping or hindering: The role of secondary educators in facilitating friendship opportunities among students with and without autism or developmental disability. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 16, 1259-1272. doi: 10.1080/13603116.2011.557448

Rossetti, Z. (2011). “That’s how we do it”: Friendship work between high school students with and without autism or developmental disability. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 36, 23-33. doi: 10.2511/rpsd.36.1-2.23

Rossetti, Z., & Goessling, D. (2010). The role of paraeducators in facilitating friendships between high school students with and without autism or other developmental disabilities. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 42(6), 64-70.

Rossetti, Z., Ashby, C., Arndt, K., Chadwick, M., & Kasahara, M. (2008). “I like others to not try to fix me”: Agency, independence, and autism. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 46, 364-375. doi: 10.1352/2008.46:364-375

Sauer, J., & Rossetti, Z. (2017, April). Negotiating meanings of disability through the lived experience of culturally and linguistically diverse families. Paper presented at the 2017 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX.

Rossetti, Z. (2017, April). Culturally and linguistically diverse parents’ participation and language access in IEP meetings. Paper presented at the Council for Exceptional Children 2017 Annual Convention & Expo, Boston, MA.

Rossetti, Z., & Sauer, J. (2016, June). Learning from culturally and linguistically diverse families with children who receive special education services. Paper presented at the 16th Annual Second City International Conference on Disability Studies in Education (Disability Studies in Education SIG of the American Educational Research Association), Des Moines, IA.

 Rossetti, Z. (2015, November). Friendship: The final frontier of inclusive education. Keynote Address at the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress 11th Annual Educators Forum for Supporting Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Worcester, MA.

Hall, S., & Rossetti, Z. (2015, June). Sibling relationships: Differing roles of adults who have siblings with mild-moderate and severe-profound IDD. Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Louisville, KY.

Rossetti, Z. (facilitator), Hall, S., Moreno, J., & Payne-Neward, J. (April, 2015). Perspectives from adult siblings of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Program Chair Featured Session (panel presentation) at Council for Exceptional Children 2015 Annual Convention & Expo, San Diego, CA.

Hall, S., & Rossetti, Z. (2015, April). Natural supports: Siblings of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Presentation at Council for Exceptional Children 2015 Annual Convention & Expo, San Diego, CA.

Rossetti, Z., Sauer, J., & Bui, O. (2014, December). Families as faculty: Collaboration for inclusive and culturally competent teacher preparation. Poster presented at the TASH Annual Conference, Washington, D.C. (TASH Poster Award winner)

Hall, S., & Rossetti, Z. (2014, June). Sibling relationships and support: Perspectives of adult siblings of people with severe and profound IDD. Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Orlando, FL.

Rossetti, Z. (facilitator), Hall, S., Mack, L., & Powell, A. (2014, April). Perspectives from adult siblings of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Program Chair Featured Session (panel presentation) at Council for Exceptional Children 2014 Annual Convention & Expo, Philadelphia, PA.

Blackwell, W., & Rossetti, Z. (2014, April). Lessons learned: Helping parents and teachers understand the research on IEP development. Presentation at Council for Exceptional Children 2014 Annual Convention & Expo, Philadelphia, PA.

Rossetti, Z., Lehr, D. Lederer, L., & Pelerin, D.* (2013, December). Examples of time spent meaningfully by young adults with pervasive support needs. Presentation at the TASH Annual Conference, Chicago, IL.

Rossetti, Z., Lehr, D., Ghai, J.*, & Huang, S.* (2013, December). Perspectives on friendship for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Presentation at the TASH Annual Conference, Chicago, IL.

Rossetti, Z., Lehr, D. Lederer, L., Pelerin, D.*, & Huang, S.* (2012, November). Time spent meaningfully by young adults with pervasive support needs. Presentation at the TASH Annual Conference, Long Beach, CA.

Rossetti, Z. (2011, December). Helping or hindering: Educator influence on social opportunities in inclusive settings. Presentation at the TASH Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Rossetti, Z., & Goessling, D. (2010, June). Friendship facilitation strategies for high school students with and without autism or other developmental disabilities. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Providence, RI.

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