Natasha Spassiani
natasha spassiani

Dr Natasha Spassiani PhD, SEDA, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Honorary Advanced Research Fellow at NHS, Lead of the Knowledge to Action Research Group in Intellectual Disabilities

Lecturer

Biography

Dr. Spassiani received their B.Sc. (Hons.) and M.Sc. from York University in Kinesiology and Health Science. Dr. Spassiani received their Ph.D. (2015) in Disability Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago, an internationally renowned institution in the field of Disability Studies. After completing their Ph.D., Dr. Spassiani was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto in the Department of Psychiatry jointly with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health where they examined the stigma, discrimination, and social oppression that people with disabilities experience when accessing health systems.

In October 2015, Dr. Spassiani became Assistant Professor in Inclusion and Disability at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in the School of Education. During their time at TCD, they were appointed as the Director of the Trinity Center for People with Intellectual Disabilities (TCPID), formally known as the National Institute for Intellectual Disabilities, a TCD institute dedicated to the advancement of research and education for people with intellectual disabilities.

In November 2016, Dr. Spassiani began a tenure-track appointment at Edinburgh Napier University in the School of Health and Social Care as a Lecturer and Researcher in Intellectual Disabilities, where they were hired due to their Disability Studies background and community-based research approach.

In 2022, Dr. Spassiani was appointed as research lead for The Knowledge to Action Research Group in Intellectual Disabilities, where they lead a team of interdisciplinary researchers and clinicians who study health and disability.

Dr. Spassiani's educational and professional background in Disability Studies and health bring a unique perspective in how they examine and engage in disability and health discourses through a rights and empowerment approach. Dr. Spassiani's research is dedicated to examining the interplay between disability and inclusion as it pertains to health systems, community engagement, and education using a socio-cultural lens to examine disability.

Themes

News

Esteem

Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Midwest Roybal Center for Health Promotion and Translation (Chicago, USA)

 

Conference Organising Activity

  • Member of the executive planning committee for the Scottish Learning Disability Nurse Conference (Scotland)
  • Member of the excutive planning committee for the Disability Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) II Annual Consensus Conference (USA)
  • Member of the executive planning committee for Rectech's 2nd State of the Science Conference on Interactive Exercise Technologies and Exercise Physiology for People with Disabilities (USA)
  • Member of the executive planning committee for the Eastern Canadian Sport and Exercise Psychology Symposium (ECSEPS) (Canada)

 

Fellowships and Awards

  • British Journal of Learning Disabilities Recognition Award
  • Edinburgh Napier Student Association Excellence Awards Nominee for Best Supervisor for Research
  • Above & Beyond Award for Inclusive Research, Teaching, and Community Practice (Short Listed)
  • Edinburgh Napier Student Association Excellence Awards Nominee for Best Lecturer
  • Above & Beyond Award Nominee for Leadership at ENU
  • Edinburgh Napier Student Association Excellence Awards Nominee for Best Academic Support
  • EMERG10 Conference: First Place for Poster Presentation (UK)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK)
  • Nursing Programme of the Year Award (UK)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Dual Diagnosis at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (Toronto, Canada)
  • PhD Student Achievement Award from the University of Illinois at Chicago (Illinois, USA)
  • American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Dissertation Impact Award (USA)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Psychiatry (Toronto, Canada)
  • PhD Scholarship at the University of Illinois at Chicago (Illinois, USA)

 

Invited Speaker

  • Invited Speaker at the Reform of Adults with Incapacity Law: Addressing Challenges at the Centre for Mental Health Practice, Policy, and Law Research (Scotland, UK)
  • Invited Speak at the School of Nursing at Ontario Tech University (Toronto, Canada)
  • Invited Speaker at Balgreen Primary School to speak to children about disability and inclusion
  • Invited Speaker at the Manager Care Networks, Physical Activity and Inclusion Workshop (Scotland, UK)
  • Invited Speaker at the School of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Invited Speaker at the School of Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Invited Speaker at the University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago, USA)

 

Membership of Professional Body

  • The Institute of Mental Health
  • International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IASSIDD)
  • Disability Health Equity Research Network
  • Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG)
  • Midwest Roybal Center of Health Promotion and Translation
  • American Public Health Association (APHA) Disability Section Leadership Team
  • Eastern Canadian Sport and Exercise Psychology Symposium (ECSEPS)

 

Non-executive Directorship

  • Board Member of Get2gether (non-profit disability organization) (Scotland)
  • Chair of the Academic Council for Accessible Curriculum Development (Ireland)
  • Midwest Roybal Center of Health Promotion and Translation (USA)

 

Public/Community Engagement

  • Lead of the Community Engagement Project: Our Rights, Our Community. A human rights approach to capture the lived experiences of people with learning disabilities as they meaningfully engage in the community (£5000, ENU).
  • Co-Lead of the Community Engagement Project: The Appletree Community: A narrative approach to integrated community living for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (£4250, ENU).
  • Lead of Community Engagement Project: Fitness Centres inclusive or exclusive? Understanding how people with learning disabilities can meaningfully participate at fitness centres: Part 2 (£1500, ENU).
  • Lead of Community Engagement Project: Fitness Centres inclusive or exclusive? Understanding how people with learning disabilities can meaningfully participate at fitness centres (£4800, ENU).
  • Co-Lead of workshop: Likes, dislikes, supports and barriers: The experience of students with disabilities in university in Ireland. Trinity College Dublin.
  • Co-Lead of Public Engagement Project: Helping students with intellectual disabilities engage in STEM. Trinity College Dublin.

 

Reviewing

  • Peer Review for the Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities (USA)
  • Internal Course Moderator for The Development of Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Internal Reviewer for Louise Malone. Professionals Masters in Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Internal Course Moderator for The Authentic Classroom and the Hidden Curriculum at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Internal Course Moderator for the Early Intervention Masters Programme at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Internal Moderator for the Bachelors of Nursing Programme (Learning Disability) at ENU (Scotland, UK)
  • Peer Reviewer for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Internal Reviewer for Ciara McMakin. Professional Masters in Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Intenral Reviewer for Ruth Malone. Professional Masters in Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Internal Reviewer for Rosanna Hergueta Rodriquez. Professional Masters in Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Internal Reviewer for Stephanie Bowe. Professional Masters in Education at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Peer Reviewer for the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities (USA)
  • Peer Reviewer for Inclusion (USA)
  • Peer Reviewer for the Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

 

Visiting Positions

  • Adjunct Professor, School of Health and Human Performance, Faculty of Health Professionals (Halifax, Canada)

 

Date


31 results

Making Survey Research Accessible for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Book Chapter
Friedman, C., & Spassiani, N. A. (2024)
Making Survey Research Accessible for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. In G. Bennett, & E. Goodall (Eds.), The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Disability (1-10). Cham: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-40858-8_77-1
Historically, research about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) has been conducted through proxies because of ableist assumptions about people with ...

‘Now that I am connected this isn't social isolation, this is engaging with people’: Staying connected during the COVID‐19 pandemic

Journal Article
Spassiani, N. A., Becaj, M., Miller, C., Hiddleston, A., Hume, A., & Tait, S. (in press)
‘Now that I am connected this isn't social isolation, this is engaging with people’: Staying connected during the COVID‐19 pandemic. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, https://doi.org/10.1111/bld.12478
Background The COVID-19 global pandemic has put adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities at greater risk of being socially excluded due to physical distancing. Tech...

‘It will make more people feel included if they can talk to them in their first language’: The experience of university students with an intellectual disability engaging in a formal Irish Sign Language Course

Journal Article
Spassiani, N. A., Clince, M., & Ó Murchadha, N. (2021)
‘It will make more people feel included if they can talk to them in their first language’: The experience of university students with an intellectual disability engaging in a formal Irish Sign Language Course. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 49(4), 467-474. https://doi.org/10.1111/bld.12417
Accessible Summary Learning a second language can provide people with more opportunities to be included in society. For example, they could have more opportunities for em...

Experiences of health and aging for younger adults in long-term care: a social-ecological multi-method approach

Journal Article
Barber, B. V., Weeks, L. E., Spassiani, N. A., & Meisner, B. A. (2021)
Experiences of health and aging for younger adults in long-term care: a social-ecological multi-method approach. Disability and Society, 36(3), 468-487. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2020.1751074
There is an increasing number of younger adults with disabilities becoming residents of long-term care (LTC) homes across Atlantic Canada. Moving younger adults into LTC is le...

Emergency department nurses’ knowledge, skills, and comfort related to caring for patients with intellectual disabilities

Journal Article
Spassiani, N. A., Abou Chacra, M. S., Selick, A., Durbin, J., & Lunsky, Y. (2020)
Emergency department nurses’ knowledge, skills, and comfort related to caring for patients with intellectual disabilities. International Emergency Nursing, 50, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ienj.2020.100851
Introduction Individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) are more likely to visit the emergency department (ED) more frequently than their counterparts without ID. Nurses ...

The Impact of Organizational Supports on the Person‐Centered Health of People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Journal Article
Friedman, C., Rizzolo, M. C., & Spassiani, N. A. (2020)
The Impact of Organizational Supports on the Person‐Centered Health of People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 17(1), 70-78. https://doi.org/10.1111/jppi.12320
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have significantly poorer health than the general population. A key threat to health programs for people with IDD...

What is and isn’t working: Factors involved in sustaining community-based health and participation initiatives for people aging with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Journal Article
Spassiani, N., Meisner, B., Abou Chacra, M. S., Heller, T., & Hammel, J. (2019)
What is and isn’t working: Factors involved in sustaining community-based health and participation initiatives for people aging with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 32(6), 1465-1477. https://doi.org/10.1111/jar.12640
As people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) age it is important that I/DD agencies are prepared to support healthy aging in homes and in communities. Thi...

An Ageing Intellectual Disability Population: Exploring How Intellectual Disability Agencies Are Supporting Healthy Ageing

Journal Article
Spassiani, N., Meisner, B., Heller, T., & Hammel, J. (2019)
An Ageing Intellectual Disability Population: Exploring How Intellectual Disability Agencies Are Supporting Healthy Ageing. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 63(7), 650. https://doi.org/10.1111/jir.12651
Introduction: Providing support for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) to remain in the community as they age is a relatively new concept for ID agencies. The purpose ...

It's Okay to Teach People with an Intellectual Disability about Their Disability

Journal Article
Spassiani, N. A. (2018)
It's Okay to Teach People with an Intellectual Disability about Their Disability. The Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 31(3), 287-294
This paper introduces a newly accredited university programme for students with an intellectual disability (ID). The curriculum is largely based on disability studies pedagogy...

Self-management of health by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Journal Article
Friedman, C., Rizzolo, M. C., & Spassiani, N. A. (2019)
Self-management of health by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 32(3), 600-609. https://doi.org/10.1111/jar.12554
Background Self‐management of health includes people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) playing a key role in health management in collaborating with healt...

Pre-Napier Funded Projects

  • Likes, dislikes, supports and barriers: the experience of students with disabilities in university in Ireland. Trinity College Dublin (€1000.00 EUR)
  • Including university students with intellectual disability in STEM. Trinity College Dublin (€ 1500.00 EUR)
  • Developing a numeracy module for students with intellectual disabilities in higher education. Trinity College Dublin (€ 1500.00 EUR)
  • Sustaining Community Health Initiatives for People Aging with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. Pilot Grant Midwest Roybal Center for Health Promotion and Translation, National Institute on Aging, ($12,500.00 USD).

Current Post Grad projects

Non-Napier PhD or MSc by Research supervisions

  • Primary Supervisor for Steven Green. Masters in Business (Health Management) at ENU (Scotland, UK)
  • Primary Supervisor for Suzanne Maynard. Masters in Business (Health Management) at ENU (Scotland, UK)
  • Primary Supervisor for Kennisha Powell. Masters in Business at ENU (Scotland, UK)
  • Primary Supervisor for Brock Clancy. Masters in Business at ENU. (Scotland, UK)
  • Primary Supervisor for Caroline Patton. Masters in Nursing at ENU (Scotland, UK)
  • Internal Reviewer for Clement Ryan. PhD in Education. Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Second Supervisor for Brittany Barbara. Masters of Arts at Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia, Canada)