Skip to main content

Alexandra Da Fonte

Assistant Professor of the Practices, Director of Professional Studies, Department of Special Education

M. Alexandra Da Fonte, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department Special Education, Director of Professional Studies for the Department of Special Education, and a Member of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. Dr. Da Fonte has worked in various settings throughout her career. She has over 20 years of experience working with students with intellectual and multiple disabilities as well as with students with complex communication needs (CCN). During her teaching career, she worked in elementary and middle school settings with students with significant needs. Additionally, Dr. Da Fonte worked as an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) consultant privately, in home-settings, and in urban and suburban schools. In this role, she worked directly with special education and general education teachers as well as families in programming special education and related services for students with special needs. These experiences allow Dr. Da Fonte to apply this knowledge to her classes and trainings (pre- and in-service). She was recently the recipient of the 2015 Tennessee Council for Exceptional Children Faculty of the Year Award. 

In her role, Dr. Da Fonte teaches and serves as an advisor to undergraduate and graduate students in the Severe Disabilities Program. She is also the Field-based Coordinator for the Severe Disabilities Program in the Department of Special Education. Dr. Da Fonte’s primary research interests are in the areas of teacher training, bridging research-to-practice, AAC use on the classroom setting for students with CCN, instruction for students with students with significant needs, and collaborating with paraeducators. Currently she works closely with graduate students across a series of research projects that focus on bridging research-to-practice and using AAC in the classroom setting with students with CCN.

Courses Taught

Courses taught by Dr. Da Fonte:

  • SPEDS 2450: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • SPEDS 3330: Characteristics of Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities
  • SPEDS 3667: Field Work in Special Education
  • SPED 4950: Student Teaching Seminar
  • SPEDS 7100: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • SPEDS 7700: Characteristics of Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities
  • SPEDS 7953: Field Work in Special Education
  • SPED 7991: Extended Student Teaching in Special Education

Courses Dr. Da Fonte coordinates:

  • SPED 3871: Fieldwork in Special Education: Autism, Intellectual, and Multiple Disabilities
  • SPED 3361: Fieldwork in Special Education: Severe Disabilities
  • SPED 4951: Student Teaching in Special Education
  • SPEDS 7954: Field Work in Special Education: Autism, Intellectual, and Multiple Disabilities