• Ph.D. 1986 – Vanderbilt University, Education and Human Development/Special Education
  • M.S. 1980 – Furman University, Special Education, Mental Retardation and Physical Disabilities
  • B.S. 1976 – Presbyterian College, Special Education, Mental Retardation

Areas of Expertise

  • Children and Youth with Autism
  • Interdisciplinary Personnel Preparation in Early Childhood and Special Education
  • Ethics and Public Policy for Children, Youth with Disabilites and Their Families
  • Family Centered Empowerment Strategies
  • Early Childhood, Families, Special Education
  • Translational Research/ Implementation Science
  • Teaching and Professional Development


Prior to joining the faculty in 1993, Harriet Able was an assistant professor at the University of Colorado at Denver, taught special education in preschool and elementary school settings and served as a state special education consultant for the Colorado Department of Education.

Able’s areas of expertise include early childhood, special education, interdisciplinary collaboration, teacher preparation and translational research with a focus on campus community collaborations, ethics and special education, and empowering families who have children and youth with disabilities with a particular focus on autism. She has received many interdisciplinary personnel preparation grants from the U.S. Office of Education focused on collaborative teaming initiatives between special education and the allied health professions.


Able’s research focuses on innovative personnel development models as well as ethics and special education. She has published and presented papers regarding the preparation of interdisciplinary personnel, family centered services, inclusion for children and youth with ASD, hospital-based early interventions and ethics and special education. Her primary research interests focus on young children and youth with autism spectrum disorders and family empowerment.