Don Bailey

Distinguished Fellow, Early Childhood Development

Don Bailey


  • PhD, Early Childhood Special Education, University of Washington
  • MEd, Early Childhood Special Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • BA, Psychology, Davidson College.

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Don Bailey, PhD, is internationally known as an expert on young children with disabilities. For 27 years, he was on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor and, for 14 years, director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Dr. Bailey's research addresses early identification and early intervention for children with disabilities, as well as family adaptation to disability. For 20 years, his work has focused on children with fragile X syndrome, the leading inherited cause of intellectual impairment, and their families.

Using his extensive experience in examining the effects of disorders that result in intellectual disability on children and families and the importance of early identification and early intervention programs, Dr. Bailey has been at the forefront of our response to the Zika virus epidemic. He is working with health officials and research collaborators in Brazil to explore the possiblity of a longtidunal study of families affected by Zika and the role early intervention programs can play in addressing the virus.

He has an extensive record of publications, with more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and books on a wide variety of topics related to early education, early intervention, disability, and family support. In 2006, Dr. Bailey received the Career Research Scientist Award from the Academy on Mental Retardation. From 2006 to 2009, he served as president of the board of directors of the National Fragile X Foundation. Recently, he was appointed to serve a 4-year term on the DHHS Secretary's Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children.