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Ms Maria Dowling

Senior Lecturer: Special Educational Needs and Inclusion Specialist


I am a senior lecturer in special educational needs, disability and inclusive practice at Kingston University and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I have taught in primary and early years' education. I have also worked with children and adults with disabilities across a range of health and social care settings, both as a registered provider manager and also as joint commissioning manager for local authorities and health services. I have undertaken specialist learning disability consultancy and training for local authorities, health  and voluntary organisations.

I joined Kingston University in September 2009. I have taught across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including the BA(Hons) Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Practice and PGCE programmes. I have recently been involved in developing the new Postgraduate Certificate in Special Educational Needs which incorporates the National SENCO Award.

Areas of specialism

  • Special educational needs and disability
  • Ethnicity and disability
  • Transition from children's to adult services for young people with special educational needs and disabilities
  • Social policy and adult learning disability services
  • Managing challenging behaviour
  • Person-centred planning
  • Supporting parents of children with disabilities


  • MSc Learning Disability Studies, University of Birmingham
  • PGCE (Primary)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies
  • BSc(Hons) Sociology
  • D32 / D33 Vocational Assessor Award
  • CCETSW Residential Social Worker Certificate

Professional membership

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD) member

Sector-endorsed Foundation Degrees in Early Years (SEFDEY) member


I have undertaken research on behalf of local authorities, health and voluntary organisations in order to promote inclusive practice including:

Services for people with learning disabilities and their families from ethnic minority communities 

Transition for young people with special educational needs and disabilities

Services for people with dual diagnosis learning disability and mental health across two London boroughs

Best Value review of learning disability services across three local authorities

Childminding study (local authority)

Research interests also include the impact of social policy on adults with learning disabilities

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