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.

He has an extensive record of publications on a wide variety of topics related to newborn screening, early intervention, disability, and family support. Currently, he directs several projects funded by the National Institutes of Health on newborn screening and broader issues surrounding the ethical, legal, and social consequences of genetic discoveries and the disclosure of genetic information to families. He and his team have developed a partnership with the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, and have secured funds to help the newborn screening program conduct pilot studies and research. He has also developed a partnership with the Altino Ventura Foundation in Recife, Brazil, to develop a longitudinal study of children with congenital Zika syndrome and their families. 

Dr. Bailey directs RTI’s new Center for Newborn Screening, Ethics, and Disability Studies.