Special Needs Education and Inclusion

The group is made up of researchers with a wide range of perspectives on issues related to inclusion. Their academic focus spans a wide spectrum that encompasses a diversity of challenges in both an individual and system perspective related to early learning and schools, and an inclusive society.

The area of interest includes traditional topics in special needs education, the relationship between special needs and general education, and the relationship between special needs and intercultural education.


The research group consists of academic staff members who have solid knowledge in this subject area, as well as considerable and varied knowledge of methodologies.

Sara Brøvig Østby, Assistant Professor 
Cheng-Yu Peter Pan, Assistant Professor 
Kristian Øen, Assistant Professor/PhD Research Fellow
Kjell Oppedal, Assistant Professor
Heidi Gudmundset, Assistant Professor 
Monica Helland Tøsse, Assistant Professor/PhD Research Fellow
Anne Lene Bakke Toppe, Assistant Professor 
Marit Mjøs, Associate Professor 
Andrea Baldomir, Associate Professor 
Anita Nygård, Assistant Professor 

Work of the research group

The work of the research group is related to the department’s teaching portfolio at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. The group members draw on a variety of theoretical perspectives, which in combination help address the complexity that exists in the field of practice in terms of inclusion. In addition, the group members have a network of academic contacts and research collaborations outside NLA University College.

As a result of a three-day writing seminar in August 2020, all members are currently engaged in various writing projects.

Depending on the COVID-19 situation, the group is considering attending the NERA 2021 conference in Odense, Denmark, on 3–5 March 2021 or the ECER 2021 conference in Genoa, Italy, on 6–9 September. The entire group wishes to participate, which paves the way for a Nordic/international orientation in various areas within the group’s academic fields of interest.


Head of the research group: Marit Mjøs 
Deputy head of the research group: Heidi Gudmundset 
Vice Rector for Research and Development: Torgeir Landro

Collaboration partners

Two of the group members are involved in the SUKIP research project, which is supported by the Research Council of Norway and involves collaborations with:

  • The University of Stavanger, Professor Stein Erik Ohna and Associate Professor Vegard Moen 
  • Statped, R&D Advisor Siv Hillesøy 
  • Academic reference group: Associate Professor Daniel Östlund at Kristianstad University College; Associate Professor Lotte Hedegaard-Sørensen, University of Aarhus; Professor Emeritus Peder Haug, Volda University College
  • Two local authorities, each represented by the Educational and Psychological Counselling Service (PPT), an early learning centre and a school