The Institute was organized in 2005 exclusively for charitable, scientific, and educational purposes to enhance the well-being of people with disabilities, their parents, and the professionals who are devoted to their interests.

As a nonprofit publisher, the Institute collaborates with professional associations to publish society journals and monographs. The associations for which the Institute publishes scholarly journals include the American Council on Rural Special Education, the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association, the Association for Positive Behavioral Support, the Council for Learning Disabilities, and six divisions of the Council for Exceptional Children (Council for Educational Diagnostic Services; Division for Career Development and Transition; Division for Communication, Language, and Deaf/Hard of Hearing; Division for Developmental Disabilities; Division for Emotional and Behavioral Health; and the Division for Research).

In addition to publishing professional journals, the Institute publishes (a) books and instructional materials that focus on the education, rehabilitation, and transition of people who have special needs and (b) assessments that are used to identify individuals with disabilities and determine the severity of their problems, inventory their specific intervention needs, and monitor their progress.

The Institute also supports and conducts scientific research. Among its initial activities will be a concerted effort to identify those individuals who made significant contributions to the field of disability between the years 1800 and 1960 and to document in depth the nature and importance of their accomplishments in terms of today’s efforts to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Board of Directors

Donald D. Hammill received a doctorate in educational psychology-special education from The University of Texas at Austin in 1963. He had previously served as a teacher in the Corpus Christi (Texas) public schools and as a speech and language therapist in the Deer Park (Texas) public schools. He earned a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association in 1963. From 1963 to 1965, he held an assistant research professorship at the Institute of Logopedics at Wichita State University in Kansas, where he studied the language problems of children with brain damage. In 1965, he went to Temple University in Philadelphia, rising quickly to the rank of full professor of special education. He resigned from Temple in 1972 in order to return home to Texas. In 1977, Donald established PRO-ED, an international publishing company, and he serves as its president. Today PRO-ED is one of the major international publishers in the areas of special and remedial education, rehabilitation, psychology, assessment, and speech and hearing disorders. The extensive product line includes tests, teaching and therapeutic materials, as well as books and reference materials.
Mr. Lum is currently Vice President, Chief Operations Officer and General Counsel of PRO-ED, Inc., an educational publishing company. Prior to joining PRO-ED in this position, he practiced law in the corporate reorganizations and bankruptcy section of the Houston law firm of Sheinfeld, Maley & Kay, P.C. In addition, he was previously an officer in the Corporate Banking department of The Chase Manhattan Bank, working at various times in New York, Boston and Houston. Mr. Lum holds B.A. in economics from Boston College and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Prior to attending law school, he also worked for PRO-ED as a research assistant in the company’s Test Development department.
Joel McIntosh is the former president of Prufrock Press, Inc., an educational publishing house. Mr. McIntosh founded Prufrock in 1989. Now a part of Routledge, the company publishes an extensive line of award-winning software, assessment tools, classroom materials, and books supporting gifted, advanced, and special needs learners. For many years, he acted as the publisher of the Journal for the Education of the Gifted, the Journal of Advanced Academics, and Gifted Child Today. Mr. McIntosh received his master’s degree in educational psychology from Baylor University. At Baylor, he acted as Project Director for a joint research effort between Baylor University and Texas A&M University funded through the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act. In recognition of his education advocacy efforts, Mr. McIntosh is a past recipient of the National Association for Gifted Children’s President’s Award.
Katherine O. Synatschk is an author and consultant specializing in the development of tests and materials for counseling and transition with students with cognitive disabilities. She is the author of 5 books, 3 tests, and articles and book chapters in the fields of Special Education and School Counseling. She was previously the Executive Editor at PRO-ED, Inc., an educational publishing company. Prior to joining PRO-ED, Dr. Synatschk was the director of Professional School Counseling in the Austin Independent School District and an adjunct professor at The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University. She holds BS, MEd, and PhD in Education from The University of Texas.
Sharon Vaughn is the H.E. Hartfelder Southland Corp Regents Chair and Executive Director of the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at the University of Texas. She is a Regent’s Professor within the Department of Special Education at the University of Texas. She is the previous Editor in Chief of the Journal of Learning Disabilities and serves on ten editorial review boards for journals that focus upon individuals with disabilities. She is the author of more than 6 books and 100 peer-reviewed articles in the field of education. Dr. Vaughn has received over $50 million in research grants from such organizations as the United States Department of Education, the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development and the Texas Education Agency.