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Washington State University
College of Education

Don McMahon




Don McMahon

Associate Professor
Special education
WSU Pullman
Cleveland Hall 329


Curriculum Vitae

ResearchGate Profile

Twitter @macddm  


Research Interests

Dr McMahon’s work is focused on Universal Design for Learning, Assistive Technology, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Wearable devices, Mobile Learning, inclusive postsecondary education, and Instructional technology.

At WSU Don McMahon coordinates the VR2GO Lab and is also the co-founder of the WSU ROAR postsecondary education program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Don graduated from the Special Education Ph.D. program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.   While at the University of Tennessee Don was on the program staff of a postsecondary education program similar to ROAR where he designed and taught courses in digital citizenship for students with disabilities.

Don was a special education teacher for 7 years and then became an instructional Co-teaching coach for general education and special education teachers.  Don is a national presenter providing professional development sessions for both general educators and special educators on using mobile devices in education.  Don attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Universal Design for Learning Summer Institute in 2010.  Don’s work has been featured in invited podcasts, television and print features, and invited presentations.


Interview with Motherboard Magazine on Augmented Reality in Education


Peer Reviewed Articles

*Kaczorowski, T. L., McMahon, D., Gardiner-Walsh, S., & Hollingshead, A. (In Press, Accepted Dec 2021). Designing an inclusive future: Including diversity and equity with Innovations in Special Education Technology. Teaching Exceptional Children.

*McMahon, D., & McMahon, A. K., Abrams, K., Anglin, M., Wilds, K., & Aumell, A., (In Press). Digital wellness and fitness tools for students with disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology. 

*McMahon, D., Hirschfelder, K., Poppen, M., Whittenburg, H., & Bruno, L. (2021). WSU ROAR and ROAR Online! program description and COVID-19 response. Rural Special Education Quarterly. Vol. 40(2) 70–84

*Wright, R.E., McMahon, D., & Cihak, D. F., Hirchfelder, K. (2020). Smartwatch executive functional supports for students with intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Special Education Technology, Online First September 15, 2020,

*Shahrokni, S. A., Salsbury, T., Bettis, P., Newcomer, S., & McMahon, D. (2020). Second language socialization in Stronghold Kingdoms: A narrative inquiry. The Modern Language Journal. (21),1 42-63

*McMahon, D., & Walker, Z. (2019). Leveraging emerging technology to design the inclusive future with universal design for learning. Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal. (9)3. doi: 10.26529/cepsj.639

*McMahon, A. K., McMahon, D., & Hirschfelder, K. (2019). Effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic literature review. DADD Online Journal.

*McMahon, D., Barrio, B. L., McMahon, A. K., Tutt, K., & Firestone, J. (2019). Virtual reality exercise bike intervention for high school students with intellectual/developmental disability. Journal of Special Education Technology. Online first on April 11, 2019

*Smith, C. C., Cihak, D. F., McMahon, D., & Coleman, M. B. (2019). Examining digital messaging applications for postsecondary students with intellectual disability. Journal of Special Education Technology. Online first January 22, 2019.

*Walker, Z., McMahon, D., & Rosenblatt, K. (2017). Beyond Pokémon: Augmented reality is a universal design for learning tool. Sage Open, 7(4) 1-8.

*Cihak, D.F., Musacchio, M.M., Kim, B., McMahon, D., Wright, R., Gibbons, M.M. Gordon, J., & Bardo, J. (2017). Evaluating self-instruction using YouTube to acquire and generalize vocational skills for college students with intellectual disability. Division on Autism and Developmental Disability Online Journal, 4(1), 92-109.

*Scheef, A. R., Barrio, B. L., Poppen, M. I., McMahon, D., & Miller, D. (2017). Exploring barriers for facilitating work experience opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities enrolled in post-secondary education programs. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 31(3), 209-224.

*Howorth, S.K., Cihak, D.F., & McMahon, D. (2017). Effects of explicit instruction on fidelity of teacher candidates’ creation of trigger-based-video models. Journal of Evidence-Based Practices for Schools, 16(2), 132-146.

*Smith, C. C., Cihak, D. F., Kim, B., McMahon, D., & Wright, R. (2016). Examining augmented reality to improve navigation skills in postsecondary students with intellectual disability. Journal of Special Education Technology, 32(1), 1-9.

*McMahon, A. K., & McMahon, D. (2016). Exercise technology interventions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities: A systematic review. Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities Online Journal, 3(1), 42-53.

*Cihak, D. F., Moore, E., Wright, R., McMahon, D., Gibbons, M.M., & Smith, C. (2016). Evaluating augmented reality to complete a chain task for elementary students with autism. Journal of Special Education Technology, 31(2), 99-108.

*McMahon, D., Cihak, D. F., Wright, R.E., & Bell, S. M. (2016). Augmented reality for teaching science vocabulary to postsecondary education students with intellectual disabilities and autism. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 48(1), 38-56.

*McMahon, D., Wright, R., Cihak, D.F., Moore, T.C., & Lamb, R. (2016). Podcasts on mobile devices as a read aloud testing accommodation in secondary science assessment. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 25(2), 263-273.

*McMahon, D., Cihak, D. F., & Wright, R.E. (2015). Augmented reality as a navigation tool to employment opportunities for postsecondary education students with intellectual disabilities and autism. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 47(3), 157-172.

*McMahon, D., Smith, C., Cihak, D.F.,Wright, R., & Gibbons, M. (2015). Effects of digital navigation aids on adults with intellectual disabilities: Comparison of paper map, google maps, and augmented reality. Journal of Special Education Technology, 30(3), 157-165.

*Cihak, D.F., McMahon, D., Smith, C.C., Wright, R., & Gibbons, M.M. (2015). Teaching individuals with intellectual disabilities to email across multiple device platforms. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 36(3), 645-656.

*Cihak, D. F., Wright, R., Smith, C., C., McMahon, D., & Kraiss, K. (2015). Incorporating functional digital literacy skills as part of the curriculum for high school students with intellectual disabilities. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 50(2), 155–171.

*McMahon, D., & Walker, Z. (2014). Universal design for learning features and tools on iPads and iPhones. Journal of Special Education Technology, 29(2), 39-49.

McMahon, D., Cihak, D.F, Gibbons, M., Fussell, L., & Mathison, S. (2013). Using a mobile app to teach individuals with intellectual disabilities to identify potential food allergies.  Journal of Special Education Technology, 28(3), 21-32.

McMahon, D., & Smith, C. S. (2012). Universal design for learning: Implications and applications in UT Knoxville FUTURE Program. Think College Insight Brief, Issue No. 14. Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion.

Cihak, D.F, Kildare, L., Smith, C., McMahon, D., & Quinn-Brown, L. (2012). Using video Social Stories™ to increase task engagement for middle school students with autism spectrum disorders. Behavior Modification, 36, 399-425.

Invited Editorially Reviewed Articles

*McMahon, D., & Hollingshead, A., (2021). ISET’s Stance on Special Education Technology and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Journal of Special Education Technology. 36(3) 183-184.

*Firestone, J.B. & McMahon, D., (2021). Using technology to provide access to STEM for students with disabilities. TEACHING Exceptional Children, doi:

*McMahon, D., K., Hirschfelder, K., Sheridan-Stiefel, K., Henninger, E., & Buchanan, H., (2021). Technology Tools for Postsecondary Education Success. Teaching Exceptional Children. 53(5)

*McMahon, D., McMahon, A. K., & Hirschfelder, K., Anglin, M. K.,(2020). Digital tools for visual arts: Multiple Means of Artsy Action and Expression. Teaching Exceptional Children. [Invited Article]. Accepted December 2, 2019.

*McMahon, D. (2019). Getting started with virtual reality as assistive technology. Closing the Gap [Invited Editorial]. June/July 29-34.

*McMahon, D., Farrell, E., Howorth, S., & Trump, C. (2019). Using technology to support and extend applied behavior analysis. Closing the Gap. [Invited Editorial]. December/January 29-34

Book Chapters

Book Chapters (Peer Reviewed)

*Bruno, L.P. Abrams. K.M., Brendli, K.R., McMahon, D.D. (submitted). Culturally responsive and sustaining universal design for transition and postsecondary education. In C.A. Thoma &   L.A. Scott (Eds.), Universal Design for Transition: The Educators’ Guide for Equity Focused Transition Planning. Brookes Publishing

*Hirschfelder, K., Anglin, M., & McMahon, D. (2022). Strategies to successfully implement assistive technology for post-secondary education programs and beyond. In X.Liu & P. Wachira, Technology-supported interventions for students with special needs in the 21st Century (pp.177-205). IGI Global. eEditorial Discovery. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8874-1.ch008

*McMahon, A. K., & McMahon, D. (2020). Flipping physical education, health, and exercise science postsecondary classroom. In W. Z. Editor, T. D. Editor & K. K. N. Editor (Eds.), Flipped Classrooms with Diverse Learners-International Perspectives (1-96). Singapore: Springer.

*Cihak, D.F., Smith, C.C., McMahon, D., & Ramsey, J. (2014). Using video modeling in conducting research with young children. In O.N. Saracho (Ed.), Handbook of Research Methods in Early Childhood Education II. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing Inc.

Book Chapters (Editorial Reviewed)

*McMahon, D. (2015). Augmented reality learning games. In R. Lamb & D. McMahon (Eds.), Educational and Learning Games: New Research (1-17). New York: Nova Publishing Inc.

*Rosenblatt, K., Walker, Z., & McMahon, D. (2015). Understanding the impact and importance of educational games for students with disabilities. In R. Lamb & D. McMahon (Eds.), Educational and Learning Games: New Research (55-79). New York: Nova Publishing Inc.


Walker, Z,. Rosenblatt, K., McMahon, D., (2015). Teaching the Last Backpack Generation: A Mobile Technology Handbook for Secondary Educators. Corwin Publishers. California.