Skip to main content

Search NYU Steinhardt


Audrey Trainor

Professor of Special Education; Content Director, Programs in Special Education

Teaching and Learning


Audrey A. Trainor, PhD, studies equity and diversity in special education, focusing on postsecondary transitions for adolescents with learning and behavioral/emotional disabilities. A central purpose of her work is to improve inclusive transition education and postschool outcomes for adolescents with disabilities who are made vulnerable by 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. She is currently the principal investigator for the IES-funded project, Factors Associated with Postsecondary Success for English Language Learners with Disabilities: A Mixed Methods Exploration. This study includes secondary analyses of the NLTS 2012 transition experiences and postschool outcome data of multilingual learners with disabilities and qualitative explorations of these experiences and outcomes for high school and postsecondary students in New York City. Her books and articles focus on qualitative research methodology and ethics, in addition to special education transitions from high school to adulthood. Trainor is a past president (2012-13) of the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Career Development and Transition. She was awarded the 2015 DCDT Sitlington Research Award, and named the 2014 Gershman/Ahler Distinguished Lecturer in Qualitative Research. Prior to her career in postsecondary education, she was a special education high school teacher working with students with disabilities for nearly a decade.

Selected Publications


  • Trainor, A. A. (2017). Transition by design: Improving equity and outcomes for adolescents with disabilities. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Trainor, A. A., & Graue, E. (Eds.). (2013). Reviewing qualitative research in the social sciences. New York: Routledge.

Guest Editor of Special Journal Issues

  • Trainor, A. A., Bettini, E., Scott, L. A. (Eds.). (in press). Special issue. A necessary step in pursuit of equity: Developing a racially/ethnically diverse special education teaching force. Remedial and Special Education.
  • Trainor, A. A., & Leko, M. (Eds.). (2014). Special issue on qualitative research in special education. Remedial & Special Education, 35(5).

Recent Journal Articles

  • Trainor, A. A., Carter, E. W., Karpur, A., Martin, J. E., Mazzotti, V., Morningstar, M. E., . . . Rojewski, J. W. (in press). A framework for research in transition: Identifying important areas and intersections for future study. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals. Accepted May 30, 2019.
  • Trainor, A. A., Bettini, E., Scott, L. A. (in press). Introduction to the special issue. A necessary step in pursuit of equity: Developing a racially/ethnically diverse special education teaching force. Remedial and Special Education.
  • Trainor, A. A., Newman, L., Garcia E., Woodley, H. H., Traxler, R. E., & Deschene, D. N. (2019). Postsecondary education-focused transition experiences of secondary English learners with disabilities. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 42, 43-55. doi: 10.1177/2165143418811830
  • Trainor, A. A. (2018). Community conversations as a method of gathering and analyzing qualitative data. Journal of Disability Policy Studies29, 2-6.
  • Alhossan, B. A., & Trainor, A. A. (2017). Faculty perceptions of transition personnel preparation in Saudi Arabia. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 40, 104-112. doi: 10.1177/2165143415606665
  • Trainor, A. A. (2017). Special education transition in the United States context: Developing social and cultural capital to promote agency (H. Fashing, Trans.). In H. Fashing, C. Geppert, & E. Makarova (Eds.), Inclusive transitions—International perspectives on inclusion in the transition from compulsory school to further education, training, and employment. Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna.
  • Bal, A., & Trainor, A. A. (2016). Culturally responsive experimental intervention studies in special education: The development of a rubric for paradigm expansion. Review of Educational Research, 86, 319-359. doi: 10.3102/0034654315585004
  • Dutta, A., Kundu, M. M., Johnson, E., Chan, F., Trainor, A. A., Blake, R., & Christy, R. (2016). Community conversations: Engaging stakeholders to improve employment-related transition services for youth with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 45(1), 43-51.
  • Trainor, A. A., Morningstar, M., & Murray, A. (2016). Characteristics of transition planning and services for students with high incidence disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 39, 113-124. doi: 10.1177/0731948715607348
  • Trainor, A. A., Murray, A., & Kim, H. (2016). English learners with disabilities in high school: Population characteristics, transition programs, and postschool outcomes. Remedial and Special Education, 37, 146-158. doi: 100731948715607348
  • Morningstar, M. E., Trainor, A. A., Murray, A. (2015). Examining outcomes associated with adult life engagement for young adults with high incidence disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 43,195-208.


Special Education

Learn to develop child-centered educational environments for students of all abilities and gain firsthand teaching experience with diverse student populations.

Read More