For more than a decade, Angel Fettig has worked with young children and their families as a teacher, researcher, trainer and consultant. Now an assistant professor at the University of Washington College of Education, Fettig recently co-authored a position statement for the Council for Exceptional Children's Division for Early Childhood on preventing and addressing challenging behaviors in young children.

Fettig received her doctorate in special education with a concentration in early childhood from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her research focuses on supporting families and early education professionals in addressing challenging behaviors in natural environment and inclusive settings.

On Oct. 20, Fettig and other UW researchers will discuss their work to ensure that all children get a strong start during EDU Talks: Raising Washington in Spokane.

Fettig recently answered questions about her research, what courses she’ll be teaching and more.

What drew you to education?

After my undergraduate program in psychology, I decided to explore the field of education because I wanted to learn how to be a parent. I was drawn into early childhood special education immediately because I realized how much early childhood professionals can influence young children’s developmental trajectory.

Describe your research agenda.

My research focuses on supporting the social-emotional development of and reducing challenging behaviors for young children with or at risk for disabilities. Specifically, I examine factors that influence implementation and intervention fidelity for education professionals and caregivers in implementing evidence-based practices.

Another area of my research focus is on intervention frameworks that promote culturally responsive, family-centered practices in early intervention and early childhood education settings to maximize children's learning opportunities in natural environments. I partner with early intervention professionals to promote the implementation of family-centered practices to support families of children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

This work is meaningful to me because I strongly believe that social-emotional development is critical in young children and sets up foundational skills for future success.

What attracted you to the UW College of Education?

This is my dream job! Since graduate school, I knew UW was where I want to be for my career. There isn’t a place that’s a better fit for me than here. It feels incredible to be at a program and an institution where so many colleagues share similar career goals and value my expertise and my passion. Additionally, the University’s location in a large city is ideal for my family. I come to work everyday feeling so excited that I am here!

What courses will you be teaching and what current/future courses are you most excited about?

This winter, I will be teaching EDSPE 564: Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities. In spring quarter, I will be teaching EDSPE 435: Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders. I am really look forward to teaching these courses and getting to know students at the UW!

Tell us about an education-related book or movie that has influenced you.

Leisure reading doesn’t happen very often, but my 8-year old daughter has been telling me about the book “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio that she just finished reading. I am really looking forward to the movie release in November this year.

What's something that students and colleagues should know about you?

I love my work. I am passionate about mentoring and supporting students in research and practice and their overall well-being.

Besides your work, what's something that you're passionate about?

I don’t think I can call this a passion but I do enjoy keeping my house in order so my family is comfortable. Besides work and family, I play basketball!


Dustin Wunderlich, Director of Marketing and Communications