Office & Hours

Office: 532F
Tuesday: Fall semester: 11:15am-12:45pm
Thursday: Fall semester: 11:15am-12:45pm
You may also schedule by appointment.

512 471-4161

512 471-2471

Mailing Address
The University of Texas at Austin
Department of Special Education, SZB 306
1912 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
UT Mail Code: D5300


Dr. Zuna has more than 15 years of experience working with children with disabilities and their families in a variety of roles including, researcher, certified special education teacher, and in-home/in-school skills trainer. Her research interests include family quality of life, individual and family supports across the lifespan, and transition to adulthood for students with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities. More specifically, she conducts quantitative and qualitative research to understand individual/family characteristics and systemic variables that impact family quality of life in families who have children with disabilities; she also conducts intervention research to enhance transition outcomes for students with autism and significant intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2007, Special Education

M.Ed., University of Hawaii, 2000, Special Education

Representative Publications

Schaller, J., Yang, N., Eun, J., & Zuna, N. (accepted).  Predicting Employment Outcomes of

Asian Americans with Depressive/Mood Disorder from the RSA National Data File. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling


Chiu, C., Kyzar, K., Zuna, N., Turnbull, A.P., Summers, J.A., & Aya, V. (in press). Family quality of life. In M. W. Wehmeyer (Ed.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology and disability.  New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Zuna, N., Turnbull, A. P., & Turnbull, H.R. (2011). Fostering Family-Professional  Partnerships. In M. Snell & F. Brown (Eds.), Instruction of students with severe disabilities, 7th ed. Columbus, OH: Merrill.

Xu, H., Summers, J. A., Turnbull, A.P. & Zuna, N. (2011).  The quantitative measurement of family quality of life.  Journal of Intellectual and Disability Research, 55, 1098-1114. DOI:

Zuna, N.,  Summers, J. A., Turnbull, A.P., Hu, X., & Xu, S. (2010). Theorizing about family quality of life. In R. Kober (Ed.). Enhancing the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities: From theory to practice. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Turnbull, A. P., Zuna, N., Hong, J. Y., Hu, X., Kyzar, K., Obremski, S., Summers, J. A., Turnbull, H. R., et al. (2010). Knowledge-to-Action Guides:  Preparing families to be partners in making educational decisions.  Teaching Exceptional Children, 42, 42-53.

Zuna, N., Turnbull, A. P., & Summers, J. A. (2009). Family quality of life: Moving from measurement to application. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 6, 25-31.

Zuna, N., Selig, J. P., Summers, J. A., & Turnbull, A. P. (2009). A confirmatory factor analysis of a family quality of life scale for families of children without disabilities.  Journal of Early Intervention, 31, 111-125.

Turnbull, A. P., Zuna, N., Turnbull, H. R., Poston, D. & Summers, J. A. (2007). Families as Partners in Educational Decision-Making: Current Implementation and Future Directions.  In S. L. Odom, R. H. Horner, Snell, M., & J. Blacher (Eds.), Handbook on developmental disabilities. New York: Guilford Press.

Sailor, W., Zuna, N., Choi, J., Thomas, J., McCart, A. & Roger, B. (2006). Anchoring school- wide positive behavior support in structural school reform. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 31, (1), 18-30.

Recent Awards

    ·         Jay Turnbull Fellowship, Beach Center/Life Span Institute Award for excellence in scholarship that advances the community-based quality of life of individuals with intellectual or other developmental disabilities and their families, 2010 

    ·         Selected as a University of Kansas Woman of Distinction for contributions to the disability field, 2007/08

    ·         Recipient of the Judy Tate Outstanding Doctoral Student Medallion Award, 20007 Department of Special Education, University of Kansas

    ·         Recipient of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Student Award, 2007      

Current Research Projects and Grants

  • Transition Research Excellence for Life Long Independence with Supports (TRELLIS), Greater Houston Community Foundation (Tutcher Family Foundation)
  • Analysis of quality of life and family support issues in families of children with autism and other developmental disabilities, Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Texas at Austin

Boards, Committees and Associations

    ·         Member of the University Faculty Council, representing Assistant Professors and other non-tenured faculty

    ·         Member of the College of Education Gender Equity Council

    ·         Member of the Austin Area Regional Autism Task Force of the Texas Council for Autism and PDD

    ·         Treasurer, Quality of Life SIRG, International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID)

    ·         Editorial Board, Journal of Disability Policy Studies