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College of Education

Assistive Technology Research and Development Lab

Dr. Don McMahon, Co-Director ATR&D Lab

Dr. Don McMahon

Dr. Don McMahon

Dr. McMahon is the Founder and Co-Director of the Assistive Technology Research & Development Lab at the Washington State University’s College of Education and an Assistant Professor of Special Education Technology at Washington State University in Pullman, WA.  His research involves increasing the use of Universal Design for Learning principles in education, using mobile devices increase achievement for students with disabilities, and exploring the impact of augmented reality, virtual reality, and wearable devices as an assistive technology for students with disabilities.  Dr. McMahon is also an affiliate member of the Neurocognitive Sciences Lab.

Dr. McMahon received his Doctorate in Education from the Special Education Ph.D. program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In addition to his doctoral work, he was selected to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Universal Design for Learning Summer Institute in 2010.  Don was a special education teacher for 7 years and then became an Co-teaching instructional coach for general education and special education teachers. As as graduate student Dr. McMahon worked an instructor for a postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities and autism where he created courses on digital literacy skills for students with disabilities.  Don is a national presenter providing professional development sessions for both general educators and special educators on using mobile devices in education.

Dr. Brenda Barrio, Co-Director ATR&D Lab


Dr. Brenda Barrio

Dr. Barrio is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Washington State University. Her research focuses in the areas of disproportionality of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education, culturally responsive teaching in the response to intervention framework, bilingual and multicultural special education, assistive technology, and pre- and in-service teacher preparation.  Dr. Barrio received her Ph.D. in Special Education focusing on Mild to Moderate Disabilities with a Minor in Bilingual Education, from the University of North Texas.

She is also the faculty advisor for the Alhadeff Future Teachers of Color program and the Co-Director of the Assistive Technology Research and Development Lab. Dr. Barrio’s professional teaching focus is in special education and general education. Specifically, she has taught graduate and undergraduate special education courses in inclusion, strategies for exceptional learners, diversity in special education, assessment, introduction to special education, policy and historical background in special education, assistive technology, and research in special education. In addition, she taught K-5th grades as a bilingual special education inclusion teacher.