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

Sp Ed: Adapted Curriculum
Special Education

Contact Information

Send email to Dr. Ainsworth

Phone: (703) 993-5469
Fax: (703) 993-3681
Email: mainswor (

George Mason University
Fairfax Campus
Finley Building 206A
4400 University Dr.
MS 1F2
Fairfax, VA 22030


Dr. Ainsworth serves as an Instructional Faculty member for the Graduate School of Education. She teaches courses in the Adapted Curriculum Program both in the Severe Disabilities Consortium and in Cohort Outreach programs

Dr. Ainsworth’s research focuses on instructional practices and quality of life issues for individuals with low-incidence disabilities.  Her research involves individuals with intellectual disabilities, autism and physical disabilities across the life span. 

Dr. Ainsworth earned a B. A. in English from West Virginia University and an M.A. in English from the University of Wyoming and she began her career in education as an English teacher.  She later became interested in special education and earned both her M.Ed and Ph.D. in special education from George Mason University.  

Research Interests

Dr. Ainsworth’s current research endeavors involve literacy instruction for school-aged students with intellectual disabilities, autism and complex communication needs and science content instruction for adults with intellectual disabilities, autism and physical disabilities.  

Recent Publications

·         Ainsworth, M.K., Evmenova, E., Behrmann, M. & Jerome, M. (2016). Teaching phonics to groups of middle school students with autism, intellectual disabilities and complex communication needs.  Research in Developmental Disabilities, 56, p 165-176.   doi:  10.1016/j.ridd.2016.06.001