College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University
Graduate School of Education - George Mason University

Our Graduate School of Education is the alma mater for one third of teachers and administrators in Northern Virginia’s world-class school systems. Each year, more than 3,000 graduate students enroll in our innovative academic programs, which include advanced study for teachers and school leaders, instructional design and technology, and a renowned PhD in Education program that is among the largest in the country.


School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism - George Mason University

The School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism (SRHT) offers exciting, career-ready majors in dynamic fields such as athletic training, tourism and events management, health and physical education, kinesiology, sport management, and recreation management. SRHT features renowned faculty, cutting-edge research, six laboratories and centers, and a diverse student body of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Each major requires one or more internship or clinical experiences, ensuring that students graduate not just with a transcript but with a resume that demonstrates their professional aptitude and skills.

PhD, George Mason University
Associate Professor
Academic Program Coordinator, Mason Life
Academic Program Coordinator, Mason LIFE (Learning Into Future Environments)
Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities

Contact Information

Send email to Dr. Graff

Phone: (703) 993-8036
Fax: (703) 993-5070
Email: hgraff (

Heidi Graff's website

George Mason University
Fairfax Campus
Krug Hall 110C
4400 University Dr.
MS 1F2
Fairfax, VA 22030


Heidi J. Graff began working on the Kellar Instructional Handheld (KIHd) System as a facilitator for the 2004/2005 George Mason University Graduate Immersion Program for Instructional Design and Development. She got involved in the project due to her professional and personal experience in working with children with Autism. Prior to her work with the KIHd System project, for almost ten years, Heidi administered and co-partnered a private practice to assist families and children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. During that time, she became very familiar with discrete trial training and the limitations of previous technology. With her teaching certificate in Elementary Education from SUNY, College at Cortland and her Master's degree from Long Island University in Library Science, it seemed natural for her to pursue a Ph.D. in Education to research intervention methodologies.

While at George Mason University, Heidi has had the opportunity to work as an adjunct professor where she taught courses related to special education, collaborative consultation and single subject design. She has the role of Project Coordinator on the KIHd System Steppingstones grant project. Furthermore, after graduation in May of 2007, she happily accepted the position of Mason LIFE Program Director. Heidi's future plans include making the LIFE program a model postsecondary program for students with intellectual disabilities with parent participation, research, funding, and inclusive community practices.

Research Interests

Dr. Heidi J. Graff serves as the Mason LIFE Program Director at George Mason University, as well as course instructor in the Autism Master’s program. Mason LIFE is an inclusive postsecondary education program for college-age students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in in that focuses on academics, independent living skills, and integrated employment. Dr. Graff’s research interests include disability and sexuality, parent perspective on transition into adulthood, and academic advancement for adult learners with challenges. 

Recent Publications

Evmenova, A. S., Graff, H. J., Motti, V. G., Giwa-Lawal, K., & Zheng, H. (2018). Developing a wearable technology intervention to support young adults with IDD in inclusive postsecondary academic environments. Manuscript submitted for publication (Journal of Special Education Technology).

Graff, H. J., Moyher, R. E., Bair, J., Foster, C., Gorden, M. E., & Clem, J. (2017). Relationships and sexuality: How is a young adult with an intellectual disability Supposed to Navigate? Sexuality and Disability, 1-9.

Alsuhaibani, A., Evmenova, A. S., Graff, H. J. (2016). Video-based educational interventions for individuals on the autism spectrum: a literature review. GAP, 17, 54-60.

Evmenova, A. S., Graff, H. J., & Behrmann, M. M. (2015). Providing access to academic content for high-school students with intellectual disability through interactive videos. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 1-13.