Diane Cavanagh

Dr. Diane Cavanagh retired to Hampstead with her husband Kevin after a 40 year career in special education. She began her career as a self contained classroom teacher of young children with Down syndrome, forging a longtime relationship with the Ds community. She continued teaching in the public schools until earning her doctorate at Columbia University. In 1991, she began her tenure as a professor in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. As a university professor, Diane shared her passion for working with children and families with Down syndrome by mentoring future teachers and focusing her research and service in this area.

Diane brings a wealth of experience to the NCDSA board. She has served on several boards that included: Catholic Charities Department for Persons with Disabilities; Pocono Parents of Down Syndrome; and, Equi-Librium Therapeutic Horsemanship. She also served on and chaired committees dealing with advocacy issues for individuals with disabilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She was President of the New Jersey Chapter of Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) , as well as faculty advisor to the university CEC student chapter. She co-chaired many Buddy Walks and was the faculty liaison for Special Olympics Pennsylvania. Diane has presented at many national, state and local conferences, sharing her expertise in working with individuals and families with Down syndrome, as well as other research initiatives that focused on inclusion and collaboration.

Since retiring to the beautiful coastal community of Hampstead, Diane remains a strong advocate for the disability community. She shares her passion by volunteering as a local coordinator and bocce coach with the North Carolina Special Olympics. She is also a member of the Retired Seniors Volunteer Corps, the founder and facilitator for the Kiwanis Aktion Club and a volunteer at Camp Victory Junction. Her personal interests include traveling with her husband, being an active member of her church, training for and racing in sprint triathlons, quilting, and working as a therapy dog handler with her black lab Murphy.