Dr. Aleksandra Ristić
Dr. Aleksandra Ristić received her PhD in Special Education at the University of Ljubljana in 2019 and serves as a special education teacher in a primary school in Slovenia. Her classroom includes students with learning disabilities and emotional and behavioral disorders. In addition to classroom teaching, Dr. Ristić provides professional support and mentoring to classroom teachers and other support personnel.
Dr. Ristić is passionate about empowering students with disabilities to thrive by using different strategies to build their independence and develop healthy self-esteem. Dr. Ristić feels that nothing is as rewarding as seeing a child's eye sparkle when they say they feel empowered because of you and your teaching strategies.
Prior to starting her doctoral program, Dr. Ristić served over 4,000 hours as a volunteer for several non-governmental organizations in Slovenia. During this time, Dr. Ristić observed how having a child with a disability impacts family dynamics. This experience motivated Dr. Ristić to pursue doctoral-level qualitative research on serving families of children with disabilities. Her research topics included family access to social support or other professional services and improving the process of receiving aid. Dr. Ristić has completed research with the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal, as well as Temple University in Philadelphia, USA. Dr. Ristić has presented on the power of birthing a child with a disability, the concept of working relationships for families of children with disabilities, and the perspective of families and professionals during the process of obtaining assistance and social services. Dr. Ristić finds that establishing positive relationships with the student's parents is essential for success.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Ristić has conducted two research studies. The first study focused on distance learning during the pandemic school closures from the perspective of Slovenian students. This study is part of the UNESCO REDS Report. The second study focused on the organizational skills of students with disabilities and developing materials for establishing organizational skills in the home environment. Dr. Ristić presented two well- received poster sessions on hese topics at the DISES 2022 Summit in Breckenridge, CO: Organizational Skills by Children with Special Needs and Distance Learning Due to COVID-19 From the Slovenian Pupils’ Perspective.
In the future, Dr. Ristić is interested in international opportunities and continuing to address unique challenges in the field of special education through research, teaching, and organizational support. Dr. Ristić has had the opportunity to share her research in Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean and will be presenting at the 2023 DISES International Roundtable in India.