Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Interview with Ann Turnbull

Produced by the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

Ann Turnbull

Dr. Ann Turnbull has been a professor, teacher, researcher, and advocate for individuals with disabilities, their families, and service providers for four decades. She is co-founder of the Beach Center on Disability and Professor Emerita at the University of Kansas. She has served as Principal Investigator for more than 25 federally funded research projects; authored 34 books, including two textbooks in the field of special education, and more than 340 articles; and held leadership positions on more than 50 boards of national organizations.

She is the parent of three children, one of whom, Jay (1967-2009), had multiple disabilities. In large part, what the Turnbull family learned from and about Jay influenced Ann’s research that continues today and has withstood the test of time. Through trial and error, and taking advantage of multiple grant opportunities and other research studies, Jay had what his family most wanted him to have – a dignified and “enviable life.”

In 1988, Ann began her research on family quality of life with a focus on maternal characteristics. The initial research study included 33 focus groups of families with children with disabilities and without disabilities, and 34 interviews with non-English speaking families. A national survey was then designed and conducted in seven states with 500 families of children with disabilities. From that survey, a definition of family quality of life was created along with a Family Quality of Life Framework consisting of five domains and 25 indicators.

Professor Turnbull is recognized as a leading family researcher on the topics of family support, family quality of life, family-professional partnerships, and community inclusion. She is a visionary whose writings are human interest stories that reflect real, authentic life.

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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center, the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 2301MNSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

This website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,120,136.00 with 83 percent funded by ACL/HHS and $222,000.00 and 17 percent funded by non-federal-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.