Dr. Farah El Zein, Ph.D

Dr. Farah El Zein

Dr. Farah El Zein, Ph.D

Assistant Professor in the Counseling, Special Education, and Neuroscience Division


  • Ph.D. in Special Education, The University of Texas at Austin, USA.
  • M.Ed. in Special Education, Texas State University, USA.
  • B.A. in Early Childhood Education, The Lebanese University, UNESCO, Lebanon.

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Council for Exceptional Children (ECE)
  • Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES)
  • The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET)
  • Texas Association for Behavior Analysis (TXABA)


Dr. El Zein is an Assistant Professor in the Counseling, Special Education, and Neuroscience Division and brings with her over ten years of experience as a Special Education teacher in the United States serving students with a wide range of disabilities in special and inclusive classrooms. She has held professional positions with renowned higher education intuitions in the United States, Canada, and Lebanon. Prior to joining ECAE in August 2020, Dr. El Zein was Assistant Professor of Special Education at Haigazian University and part-time Instructor at the American University of Beirut. She was previously Assistant Professor of Special Education at Cleveland State University and Lecturer in the Psychology Department at Brescia University College, London Ontario.

Dr. El Zein’s research interests focus on developing research-informed interventions to improve academic performance and promote prosocial behavior of students with disabilities in inclusive schools. Dr. El Zein was involved in federally funded research projects in the United States that aimed to identify evidence-based practices for supporting students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the inclusive setting. She is currently engaged in multiple research and development partnership projects with public and private schools in the UAE.

Dr. El Zein serves as Associate Editor for the journal of Frontiers in Education, a Q2 open-access journal indexed in SCOPUS, Google Scholar, and others. She currently serves as a peer-reviewer for Q1 and Q2 international academic journals in the area of special education including Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Exceptional Children, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Journal of Behavioral Education, and Behavior Modification. Dr. El Zein also contributed to the development of the instrumental NPDC 2015 report on evidence-based practices for educating students with ASD.

Dr. El Zein holds Texas State Certificates in Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (EBD), Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS), Learning Disabilities (LD), Inclusive Education, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). She was granted the 2011 CARES Researcher of the Year Award from Texas State University- San Marcos.

Dr. Farah El Zein completed her Ph.D. in Special Education in 2014 from The University of Texas at Austin with two emphases: Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and Learning Disabilities and Inclusion. Her dissertation entitled “An Examination of Collaborative Strategic Reading-High School (CSR-HS) Intervention for Students with ASD” investigated the effects of a modified version of CSR intervention on reading comprehension and challenging behaviors in high school students with ASD. She earned her M.Ed. in Special Education in 2011 from Texas State University and her B.A. in Early Childhood Education in 2005 from the Lebanese University in Beirut.

Publications in Peer-Reviewed Research Journals

  • Alussaif, E., Solis, M., El Zein, F. (in review). Improving reading comprehension for students with intellectual disability: Effectiveness of main idea and self-monitoring strategy. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities.
  • Machaka, N., Al-Hroub, A, El Zein, F. (in review). Effects of social-emotional learning program on the self-regulation, social competence, empathy, and responsibility of intellectually able and less able adolescents in Lebanon. Frontiers in Educational Psychology.
  • Annous, N., Al-Hroub, A., & El Zein, F. (2022). A systematic review of empirical evidence on art therapy with traumatized refugee children and youth. Frontiers in psychology, 13. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.811515
  • Attar, N., Al-Hroub, A., El Zein, F. (2022). Effects of three music therapy interventions on the verbal expressions of children with autism spectrum disorder: A combined single subject design. Frontiers in Psychology 13:819473, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.819473
  • Solis, M., El Zein, F., Black, M., Therrien, W., & Invernizzi, M. (2019). Word study intervention for students with ASD: A multiple baseline study of data-based individualization. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities.
  • El Zein, F., Solis, M., Lang, R., & Kim, M. K. (2016). Embedding perseverative interest of a child with autism in text may result in improved reading comprehension: A pilot study. Developmental neurorehabilitation, 1-5.
  • El Zein, F., Gevarter, C., Bryant, B., Son, S. H., Bryant, D., Kim, M., & Solis, M. (2015). A Comparison between iPad-assisted and teacher-directed reading instruction for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 1-21.
  • Reutebuch, C. K., El Zein, F., & Roberts, G. J. (2015). A systematic review of the effects of choice on academic outcomes for students with autism spectrum disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 20, 1-16.
  • Solis, M., El Zein, F., Vaughn, S., McCulley, L., & Falcomata, T. (2015). Reading Comprehension interventions for students with autism spectrum disorders: An alternating treatments comparison. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities.
  • Reutebuch, C. K., El Zein, F., Kim, M. K., Weinberg, A. N., & Vaughn, S. (2015). Investigating a reading comprehension intervention for high school students with autism spectrum disorder: a pilot study. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 9, 96-111.
  • Kucharczyk, S., Reutebuch, C. K., Carter, E. W., Hedges, S., El Zein, F., Fan, H., & Gustafson,
    J. R. (2015). Addressing the Needs of Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder Considerations and Complexities for High School Interventions. Exceptional Children, 81(3), 329-349.
  • Fleury, V., Hedges, S., Hume, K., Browder, D., Thompson, J., Fallin, K., El Zein., F., Reutebuch, K., Vaughn, S. (2014). Addressing the academic needs of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder in secondary education. Journal of Remedial and Special Education, 35(2), 68-79.
  • El Zein, F., Solis, M., Vaughn, S., & McCulley, L. (2013). Reading Comprehension Interventions for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Synthesis of Research. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 1-20.
  • Ramdoss, S., Mulloy, A., Lang, R., O’Reilly, M., Sigafoos, J., Lancioni, G., Didden, R., & El Zein, F. (2011). Use of computer-based interventions to improve literacy skills in students with autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  • Lang, R., Mahoney, R, El Zein, F., Delaune, E., & Amidon, M. (2011). Evidence to practice: Anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.

Books, Chapters in Books and Other

  • El Zein, F., Abboud, R., Srour, S. (2018). Assessment in special education. In J. Hetzel, R. LaBarbera (Ed.). Inclusive classrooms for community flourishing. Dar Manhal Al Hayat.
  • O'Reilly, M., Green, V., Sigafoos, J, Lancioni, G., Lang, R., Fragale, T., El Zein, F., Cannella, H., & Edrisinha, C. (2012). Working with students with intellectual disabilities who engage in severe challenging behavior. In C. Franklin, M. Harris, & P. Allen-Meares (Eds.), The school services sourcebook (2nd ed.). Oxford: University Press.
  • Lang, R., El Zein, F., & Pfeiffer, B. (2014). Autism. In C. Reynolds, K. Vannest & E. Fletcher- Jensen (Ed), Encyclopedia of Special Education: A reference for the education of children, adolescents, and adults with disabilities and other exceptional individuals (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.