PhD (University of Durham), MA (University of Lancaster)
Dr Sofia Mavropoulou is currently a Senior Lecturer at the School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education and Study Area Coordinator for the area of Inclusive Education (Master of Education) in the Faculty of Education. As a recipient of a scholarship from the Greek State Scholarships Foundation and Durham University (UK), she completed a Master of Education in Special Educational Needs with Distinction at Lancaster University and a PhD in the area of autism and theory of mind at Durham University. Sofia has received extensive training at the University of North Carolina and in the UK on a range of evidence-based strategies (i.e. TEACCH, PECS, Social Stories) supporting students with autism in school, home and community settings. Sofia is very passionate about creating autism-friendly environments to accommodate the strengths and preferences of persons with autism to promote their inclusion, independence and well-being.
Before moving to QUT in 2017, Sofia had been teaching as adjunct or full-time academic a suite of units in the area of autism education in preservice, in-service and postgraduate study programs, delivered on campus and/or by distance in 5 Universities located in Europe (University of Thessaly, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, University of Macedonia, University of Nicosia) and Australia (University of New England).
With funding from the Greek Ministry of Education and the European Union, Sofia has: a) led a team of expert educators with the commission to develop the first National Curricula (K1-6) for students with autism educated in public general schools (2003-2004), and b) coordinated a large group of professionals (n= 92) in three cities tasked to implement the first pilot programs (2006-2008) in Greece for the transition of 40 students with autism from special to general primary education and to employment sites. Sofia initiated and coordinated for 7 years a regional service-learning program (Befriending Families with children with autism) for preservice teachers in a partnership between the University of Thessaly and the Association of Parents, Carers and Friends of Persons with Autism in Larissa (Greece).
Before immigrating to Australia in late 2014, Sofia collaborated with A/Prof Anastasia Zissi (Aegean University) in a large-scale qualitative study, funded by the Greek Ministry of Education and the European Union (Research Program: Excellence I, 2012-2015), to explore social inequalities, social supports and parenthood in mothers of children with autism in Greece.
In collaboration with Professor Virginia Slaughter (UQ) and A/Prof. Kristie Asaro-Saddler (State University of New York), Sofia (CI) won the National Research Award by the Australian Association of Special Education (2016-2018). This project is aimed to develop and evaluate narrative interventions for developing social understanding and literacy within the Australian Curriculum for students with autism in general primary education.
Sofia has been also engaged in the following research projects with colleagues at the University of New England: 1) Qualitative evaluation of the peer-mentoring program for university students with autism (HEPP, 2015). 2) Inclusive education in the Cook Islands: A qualitative evaluation of an in-service training program for teaching staff of students with disabilities (Inclusive Education Research Network, School of Education, 2015).
In regards to service, Sofia serves as and Associate Editor of: a) the International Journal of Special Needs Education, and b) the Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities. Sofia is also a Committee member of the IASSIDD-SIRG in Inclusive Education.