Patty Douglas

A white woman with brown hair in a side ponytail and glasses is looking at the camera and smiling.

I respect the treaties that were made on these lands and acknowledge that Brandon University is located on the traditional homelands and present day lands of the Dakota, Anishanabek, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dene and Metis peoples.

Pronouns: she/ her

University of Toronto, Ph.D., M.A., B.Ed.
Office: Faculty of Education 109
Email: douglasp@brandonu.ca
Phone: 204-727-7486

Patty Douglas (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Disability Studies and Inclusive Education at Brandon University. Her research focuses on transforming deficit approaches to disability and difference in education using critical and creative approaches including disability studies, critical autism studies, mad mothering, decolonial studies, intersectionality theory and arts-based methodologies. Douglas leads the Re•Storying Autism in Education project, a multimedia storytelling project that reimagines autism, disability and educational practice in ways that affirm difference. For more, see www.restoryingautism.com @Restorying

Douglas is a former special education teacher and mother of two sons, one of whom attracted the label of autism. She is a white settler deeply committed to decolonizing research and identifies as neurodivergent and invisibly disabled. Her first book, Unmothering Autism: Ethical Disruptions and Pedagogies is under review at UBC Press.

Recent Publications

Douglas, P., Runswick-Cole, K., Fogg, P. & Ryan, S. (2022). Making memories, making madness: Mad (m)others of disabled children write back through digital storytelling. Journal on Developmental Disabilities, 27(2), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6502811

The Re•Storying Autism Collective (Shields, R., Easton, S., Gruson-Wood, J., Gibson, M. F., Douglas, P. & Rice, C.). (2022). Storytelling methods on the move. Special Issue, Critical Autism Studies: Methodological Incursions (Eds. A. Broderick and R. Roscigno). International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/09518398.2022.2061625

Douglas, P. & Peters, S. (2022). Decolonizing stories of autism in education. Brandon University Research Connection. https://www.brandonu.ca/research-connection/article/decolonizing-stories-of-autism-in-education/

Underwood, K., van Rhign, T., Balter, A., Douglas, P., Lawrence, B. & Parekh, G. (2021). COVID-19, disability and childcare: A disabled children’s childhood approach. Journal of Childhood Studies, 46(3), 16-29. https://doi.org/10.18357/jcs463202119970

Douglas, P., Katherine Runswick-Cole, Sara Ryan & Penny Fogg (2021). Mad mothering: Learning from the intersections of madness, mothering and disability. Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies.

Douglas, P., Orsini, M., & Klar, E. (2021). Five ways to challenge systemic ableism during Autism Acceptance Month. The Conversation, 21 April (also appeared in Yahoo News, 21 April, The National Post, 22 April, Elliot Lake Today, 24 April, The Philippine Inquirer, 22 April, Newmarket Today, 25 April).

Douglas, P. (2021). Re•storying autism: An interview with Patty Douglas and Carla Rice. International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, No. 2, 1-9.

Underwood, K., Haché, A. & Douglas, P. (2021). IECSS Policy Brief No. 11: Submission to the Day of Discussions on Alternate Care. Inclusive Early Childhood Service System project. (Submission to the Day of General Discussion on Children’s Rights and Alternative Care).

Douglas, P. & Martino, A. S. (2020). Disability Studies in Education—Critical Conversations. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, Special Issue on Disability Studies in Education (Eds.).

Lawrence, B., Underwood, K., & Douglas, P. (2020). IECSS Policy Brief No. 9: Reconciling Interests of Children and Economies during the COVID-19 pandemic: Learning from Brandon, Manitoba. Inclusive Early Childhood Service System Project. https://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/inclusive-early-childhood-service-system/findings/publications/Policy_Brief_9_MAY-21-2020_finalversion.pdf

Rice, C., LaMarre, A., Changfoot, N. & Douglas, P. (2020). Making spaces: Multimedia storytelling as reflexive, creative praxis. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 17(2), 222-239. DOI: 10.1080/14780887.2018.1442694

Douglas, P., Rice, C. & Siddiqui, A. (2020). Living dis/artfully with and in illness. Journal of Medical Humanities, 41, 395-410. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10912-019-09606-5

Douglas, P. & Klar, E. (2019). Beyond disordered brains and mother blame: Critical issues in autism and mothering. In L. O. Hallstein, A. O’Reilly and M. Vandenbeld Giles (Eds.). Routledge Motherhood Companion. London: Routledge.

Douglas, P., Rice, C., Runswick-Cole, K., Easton, A., Gibson, M., Gruson-Wood, J., Klar, E., & Shields, R. (Advance online publication January 4, 2019). Re-storying autism: A body becoming disability studies in education approach. International Journal of Inclusive Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2018.1563835

Gibson, M. & Douglas, P. (2018). Disturbing behaviours: O Ivar Lovaas and the queer history of autism science. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, 4(2).  https://doi.org/10.28968/cftt.v4i2.29579  

Douglas, P., Rice, C. & Kelly, C. (2017). Cripping care: Care pedagogies and practices (Editorial). Review of Disability Studies, 13(4), 1-12. https://www.rdsjournal.org/index.php/journal/article/view/779

Current projects

Re•Storying Autism in Education: Advancing the Cultures and Practices of Inclusion (Principal Investigator) is an international, collaborative participatory multimedia story-making project in Brandon, MB, SW Ontario and Yorkshire, England collaborating with autistic people, family members, educators,  practitioners, artists and disability/community arts organizations to rethink inclusion and difference in schools. This project is an Insight Grant funded by the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada. GRANT NUMBER: 435-2019-0129 (2019-2023) @ReStorying https://restoryingautism.com/

Indigenous Approaches to Autism in Eduction (Principal Investigator with Brandon Friendship Centre and Manitoba Metis Federation Southwest) is a multimedia storytelling and narrative interview project in SW MB holding space for Indigenous understandings of autism and intervening in colonialist ableist school systems.  Funded through Mitacs and with the support of partners BFC and MMF-SW.

Neurodiversity matters: An ethnographic investigation of discourse, practice, and identity (Co-investigator). What kinds of human diversity do we value? This grant explores how people and documents are currently using the term, concept, and identity of “neurodiversity”.  This project is an Insight Development Grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/results (2019-2022)

Disability, Inclusion and Education (Principal Investigator), is a project making disability studies interventions into inclusive and special education teacher education programs. A special issue on Disability Studies in Education for the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies is currently in press. A conference and edited book collection, as well as a book project on Disruptive Pedagogies are under development. This project is funded by the Brandon University Research Committee New Faculty Research Grant. (2017-2020)

What is the Best Policy Mix for Diverse Canadian Families with Young Children? Re-imagining Family Policies (Co-investigator) In spite of recent policy efforts by Canadian federal, provincial, and territorial governments to address disparities among Canadian families, well-documented problems require systemic attention. What is needed to tackle such problems is a unified, interdisciplinary, integrated, multi-sectoral, partnership-based approach to the co-creation and mobilization of knowledges about family policies and families’ policy experiences. In Brandon, the Brandon Friendship Centre is our formal partner. This is a SSHRC Partnership Grant. https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/results-resultats/recipients-recipiendaires/2020/partnership_grants_2020-subventions_partenerial_2020-eng.aspx

Inclusive Early Childhood Service System project: A longitudinal study of familial viewpoints of early childhood disability services (Co-investigator) http://inclusiveearlychildhood.ca/, is an international project investigating family experiences with early childhood disability services. In Brandon, the Brandon Friendship Centre is our formal partner. This project is a Partnership Grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. GRANT NUMBER: 165720. (2018-2026)

Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life (Co-investigator), http://bodiesintranslation.ca/ is a project exploring disability art, Deaf art, Mad art, aging and e/Elder art, fat art, and Indigenous art, and access to life. We, the researchers, artists, curators, practitioners, and community members on this grant, explore the relationship between cultivating activist art and achieving social and political justice. This project is a Partnership Grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada GRANT NUMBER: 152623 (2016-2024)

Courses in Development

Disruptive Pedagogies

Mad Mothering

Courses Taught

EDUC 04:748 Autism & Education

EDUC 04:749 Advanced Disability Studies in Education

EDUC 07:789 Advanced Research Methods: Storytelling Methods

EDUC 04:356 Social Justice Education

EDUC 04:750 Theories of Inclusive Education

EDUC 04:751 Practices of Inclusive Education

EDUC 04:354 Assessment and Evaluation

Recent Community Talks

Douglas, P. & Shields, R. (2022). Changing Minds: Challenging Behaviour Part III: A new understanding of autism. Educational Assistant Learning Institute (Keynote). Brandon School Division, Brandon, Manitoba, 11 February.

Douglas, P. & Shields, R. (2022). Changing Minds: Challenging Behaviour Part II: A new understanding of autism. Educational Assistant Learning Institute (Keynote). Brandon School Division, Brandon, Manitoba, 28 January.             

Douglas, P. & Shields, R. (2021). Making the mindset shift: 5 Game-changing principles of inclusive practice (Keynote). Manitoba Association of Research Teachers, October 22.

Douglas, P. & Shields, R. (2021). Changing minds Part I: A new understanding of autism. Educational Assistant Learning Institute (Keynote). Brandon School Division, Brandon, Manitoba, 29 January.

Douglas, P. & R. Shields. (2020). A new view of autism. Keynote presentation at the Learning, Information for Teachers Conference (LIFT), Brandon Teacher’s Association, Brandon, MB, 23rd October.

Douglas, Patty. (2020). How a digital storytelling project is changing minds about the problem of autism in schools. BU at the Brandon Public Library Speakers Series, 16th January.

Douglas, Patty. (2019). Re•Storying autism in education. Special Services Administrators Association of Manitoba Pre-Conference, Brandon Manitoba, 27th November.

Douglas, Patty, Carla Rice & Katherine Runswick-Cole. (2019). Critical and creative engagements at the intersection of arts-based research, critical autism and disability studies. Provocations in Critical Disability Studies, iHuman, The University of Sheffield, 8th July.

Recent Panels Organized

Douglas, P. & Santinele,  A. (2022). COVID-19: A Critical Moment for Disability Studies in Education. Canadian Sociological Association, Congress for the Social Sciences and Humanities (online conference), 15-20 May. 

Douglas, P. (2022). Methods on the move: Decolonizing stories of autism through multimedia storytelling. Disability Studies and Arts Education 3rd Annual Conference (Online), Session #37, 8th October.

Douglas, P. (2021). Intersectional disability studies in education (with Alan Santinele Martino). Canadian Sociological Association, Congress for the Social Sciences and Humanities, online event, May-June.

**Panels organized for 2020 were cancelled.

Douglas, P. (2019). Re-storying autism: Multi-media storytelling as critical dialogue, Canadian Disability Studies Association, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of British Columbia, 2nd June.

Douglas, P. (2019). Disability studies in education: A call to action (2 panels), Canadian Sociological Association, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of British Columbia, 3rd June.

Douglas, P. (2018). Re-storying mothering and autism, Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement, Florence, Italy, 2nd-4th May.

Douglas, P. (2017). Disability Disturbs: Rethinking the Social (with Katie Aubrecht and Anne McGuire), Canadian Sociological Association, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Toronto, ON, 27th-2nd May-Jun.

Douglas, P. (2015). Disability Studies in Educational Spaces: Undoing Capital, Canadian Disability Studies Association – Association Canadienne des Études sur l’Incapacité, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, ON, 2nd June.

Recent Academic Papers Presented

Douglas, P., Peters, S. & Huff, T. (2022). Indigenous Approaches to Autism in Education, Aboriginal Education Research Forum Shawane Dagosiwin, May, 2-3.

Douglas, P. (2022). Re•Storying autism with/in teacher education: At the intersection of Indigenous, decolonial and disability studies. Paradigm shifts in equity, diversity, inclusion, Indigeneity (EDII) and teacher education research panel, Canadian Associate for Teacher Education, Congress for the Social Sciences and Humanities (online conference), 17 May.

Douglas, P. (2022). Disability studies in education: A critical response to Congress for the Social Sciences and Humanities’ Report Igniting Change: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization. Panelist at the Canadian Associate for Teacher Education, Congress for the Social Sciences and Humanities (online conference), 17 May.

 Douglas, P. (2021). Remaking inclusion under COVID-19 Through a Research Creation Project: An Intersectional Disability Studies in Education Approach. Scholhandi: Disability, Education and the Politics of Inclusion/Exclusion France-Canada Symposium (online), 16 December.

Douglas, P. & Singer, K. (2021). Alternative outputs: Mediated and arts-based theorising beyond the academy. Canadian Sociological Association, Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences Annual Conference, Western University, London, ON, 1-4 June.

Douglas, P., Rice, C. and the Re•Storying Autism Collective (Jan Hastie, Tyler Huff, Steacy Easton, Meg Gibson, Stephen Connolley, Julia Gruson-Woods). (2021). Methods on the move: Decolonizing stories of autism through multimedia storytelling. Disability Studies and Arts Education 3rd Annual Conference (Online), Session #37, 8th October.

Douglas, P. & Santinele, A. (2021). How a small disability studies in education project is bridging epistemological divides and shifting inclusive practice. Canadian Association for Educational Psychology, Congress for the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Alberta, 4th June (online conference).

Rice, C., Jones, C., Mundel, I. & Douglas, P. (2021). Stretching Our Stories (SOS): Disability Digital Worldmaking in Troubled Times. Society for Disability Studies@OSU Multiple Perspectives Conference, 2021, 17-20 April.

***Talks organized for 2020 were cancelled

Gibson, Margaret F. and Patty Douglas. (2019). Claiming Neurodiversity: Autism, Expertise and Resistance. National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference, Hilton Garden Square, San Francisco, 16th November.

Douglas, Patty and Margaret F. Gibson. (2019). Multimedia Storytelling as a Vitally Fraught Space of Feminist Disability Resistance. National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference, Hilton Garden Square, San Francisco, 15th November.

Douglas, Patty, Katherine Runswick-Cole, Sara Ryan and Penny Fogg. (2019). Mad mothering: learning from the intersections of madness, mothering, gender and disability. Disability and Disciplines: The International Conference on Educational, Cultural and Disability Studies, Liverpool Hope University, UK, 3rd-4th, July.

Douglas, Patty,  Carla Rice, Steacy Easton Meg Gibson & Raya Shields. (2019). Re-storying autism: Multi-media storytelling as critical dialogue. Canadian Disability Studies Association, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of British Columbia, 2nd June.

 Douglas, Patty & Alan Santinele Martino. (2019). The Astonishing Absence of Disability Studies in Education, Canadian Sociological Association, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of British Columbia, 3rd June.

Douglas, Patty & Margaret F. Gibson. (2019). Conversations at the Intersection of Feminism, Disability Studies and Decolonization: Untangling the Care-violence Binary in Parenting and Disability, Canadian Sociological Association, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of British Columbia, 4th June.

Douglas, Patty & Katherine Runswick-Cole. (2018). Re-storying mothering and autism, Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement Conference, Florence, Italy, 2nd-4th May.

Creative Outputs

Douglas, P. (2022). (Curator and Co-Producer) & Singer, K. (Curator). Autistic, Surviving and Thriving Under COVID-19: Imagining Inclusive Autistic Futures. Installation (zine and video) at Tangled Art + Disability Gallery, August-September.

Shields, R. & Gerry, C. (Directors) & Douglas, P. (Producer). (2021). Untitled and Fears & Dreams. Screened at Autistic Reels: Rendez-Vous with Madness Film Festival (online), 31 October.

Liang, B. (Director) & Douglas, P. (Producer). (2021). Defiance. Screened at Allies & Obstacles: A ReelAbilities, Autism Ontario and Re•Storying Autism Online Event, 7 April.

Douglas, P. (Producer and Panel moderator). (2020). Autism on Screen. ReelAbilities Film Festival, 4th November.

Singer, Kat (Director) & Patty Douglas (Producer). (2020). Unquiet Hands (short). Autism on Film. ReelAbilities Film Festival, 24th May. https://vimeo.com/374722896/bd7060d292

Douglas, Patty (Producer). (2016-2021). Re•Storying Autism in Education Video Archive. Produced over 34 videos with autistic individuals, practitioners, educators and family members and artists  (To see a selection go to https://restoryingautism.com/ and click on the ‘Gallery’ tab)

 Douglas, Patty (Producer) & Erin MacIndoe-Sproule (Director). (2017). Autism + inclusion (To watch this short documentary, go to https://restoryingautism.com/ and scroll down).