College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Dr. Melissa K. Ainsworth
PhD, George Mason University
Assistant Professor
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

Other Courses Taught