Home » About Nicole P. MacCarthy, PhD

About Nicole P. MacCarthy, PhD

My Special Education Experience

I have taught children with special needs for over 10 years in both the Chicago area (Chicago Public Schools, Cicero Public Schools) and Virginia.  My experience has been with emotional and behavioral disturbances (EBD), learning disabilities (LD) and educable mental handicaps (EMH) in the self-contained and inclusion settings.

Even though I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching this population of children in the classroom and feel I have experienced a high degree of success with them, I am concerned about the quality of education students with special needs in the United States are receiving.  Some of these concerns have to do with the current level of understanding about special needs students among administrators and general education teachers, assessment techniques used for placement, and Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals and related services. After having written at least 200 IEPs, assessed as many students and educated parents about the basics of special education and special education law, I felt I could make a bigger difference in the education of this special group of children by becoming a special education advocate.

My Education

  • Ph.D., Special Education, Walden University
  • M.Ed., Special Education, High and Low Incidence Disabilities, Assessment, Positive Behavior Interventions, Learning Disabilities, Educable Mental Handicaps (K-12) University of Arizona
  • B.S. Family and Child Development, Child Psychology, Family Psychology, Early Childhood Development, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Additional work and experience:

I teach small group instructional sessions educating parents in the basics of special education, special education law, and how to navigate the special education maze of paperwork and documentation required by the school district. 

Example Documents:

  • Individualized Education Plans (IEP)
  • 504 Plans
  • Due Process Complaint Notice
  • Response to Intervention (RTI)
  • Alternate Assessments
  • Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)
  • Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)
  • Documents and Assessments from School District