James Thompson Receives Fulbright Specialist Award to Portugal

James Thompson, professor of special education at the University of Kansas, has received a Fulbright Specialist Award to lead a series of plenary presentations and workshops in Portugal this semester.

Jim ThompsonJim Thompson, professor of special education at the University of KansasLater this month, Thompson will travel to Portugal for a three-week project with FORMEM, a Portuguese nonprofit organization that develops professional training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Thompson’s presentations and workshops will focus on understanding people with developmental disabilities by their support needs, assessing the intensity of people’s support needs, and planning processes that can be used to identify and arrange personalized supports for children in schools and adults in society.

Thompson will also have the opportunity to meet with faculty members and graduate students at universities in Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon.

Thompson is one of more than 400 U.S. citizens selected each year to share their expertise with host institutions abroad through the Fulbright Specialist Program. Recipients are selected based on academic and professional achievement, demonstrated leadership in their field and their potential to foster long-term cooperation between institutions in the U.S. and abroad. Established in 2001, the Fulbright Specialist Program enables U.S. academics and professionals with significant expertise to complete short-term, project-based exchanges designed by institutions around the world.

Several years ago, Thompson connected with academics in the fields of special education and rehabilitation who saw his work in the U.S as applicable to the Portuguese context.

“Over the years we’ve kept up our dialogue. I was thrilled when they suggested pursuing a Fulbright Specialist award for me to work with them in Portugal,” Thompson said. “It was an honor to have been chosen by the Fulbright Scholarship Board for this award.”

Thompson is a senior scientist in the KU Beach Center on Disability and associate director of the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities. He is a past president of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and is on the board of directors for the Council for Exceptional Children’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Division as well as the Arc of Douglas County. He is the editor-in-chief of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, a professional journal of research, policy and practice that AAIDD publishes. 

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries. Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 400,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.