Dr. DeCleene has extensive experience in art education and adaptive arts, having worked for many years in inclusive general education settings and with students with moderate to profound disabilities in both self-contained and non-profit environments. Currently she teaches Understanding Autism, Visual Literacy, and Inclusive Arts Classrooms at the University level, serves as a chairperson on the Special Needs in Art Education group within NAEA and as the Special Needs in Art Education rep on the Colorado Art Education Association board. She has a passion for making arts experiences both accessible and meaningful for all learners. She earned her PhD from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The title of her dissertation is Visual Arts Education for Students with Significant Disabilities: Examining the Intersections between Art Education, Special Education, and the Learning Sciences. Dr. DeCleene has been an art educator for over 30 years, and has presented professional development workshops nationally, presenting specifically on this topic at both the National Art Education Convention and VSA Intersections. She developed and implemented an art program at a school for 10-21 year-old students with moderate to severe disabilities that she ran successfully for 5 years. Dr. DeCleene is passionate about the ways in which learning in and through the arts can foster academic learning, personal growth, self-esteem and self-expression for all learners.