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Mrs Nicola McDowell staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099

Nicola McDowell MSpTching, PGDipRehab, BA, GradDipT


Institute of Education

Prior to taking up my position at Massey University, I was a Developmental Orientation and Mobility Specialist and a Resource Teacher Vision. I currently teach in the areas of inclusive education and am the Blind and Low Vision Edorsement Coordinator on the Post Graduate Specialist Teaching Programme. I also supervise students completing a Masters of Specialist Teaching and am a member of the Centre for Equity Through Education at Massey University. 

I am currently completing a PhD Thesis by Publication with my focus on developing an effective framework for supporting children with cerebral visual impairment (CVI). My research has an autoethnography component to it, using my own experiences of living with acquired CVI to make life easier for others with this impairment.

I am involved in the provision of short courses for Resource Teachers Vision to help them develop skills for supporting orientation and mobility programmes within school and community environments. I have also supported blindfold training for those training to become Developmental Orientation and Mobility Specialists.  

I am a Senior Tutor in the Institute of Education at Massey University. My area of interest is in the field of education and rehabilitation for learners who are blind or who have low vision and disability rights. This has stemmed from my own experience of living with a vision impairment which I acquired as a teenager. As such, I am passionate about ensuring that students with disabilities have equal access and equal opportunities for success within their educational environment. I also believe children need to be empowered so they are able to become self advocates. 

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  • Masters of Specialist Teaching - Massey University (2016)
  • Post Graduation Diploma in Rehabilitation - Massey University (2006)
  • Bacholer of Arts - University of Otago (2001)
  • Graduate Diploma in Teaching - University of Waikato (2012)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

My major research interests are in the area of blind and low Vision and inclusive education. My current PhD reserach focus is on supporting children with cerebral visual impairment (CVI).


21st Century Citizenship

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Education (130000)


inclusive, education, equity, social justice, human rights, learning, teaching, resource teaching, blind and low vision, disability

Research Outputs


McDowell, N. (2020). Power is knowledge: empowering parents of children with cerebral visual impairment. Disability and Society.
[Journal article]Authored by: McDowell, N.
McDowell, N. (2020). A pilot study of the Austin Playing Card Assessment: A tool to detect and find the degree of visual perceptual difficulties related to clutter. British Journal of Visual Impairment. 38(2), 118-136
[Journal article]Authored by: McDowell, N.
McDowell, N., & Dutton, GN. (2019). Hemianopia and Features of Bálint Syndrome following Occipital Lobe Hemorrhage: Identification and Patient Understanding Have Aided Functional Improvement Years after Onset.. Case Rep Ophthalmol Med. 2019, 3864572
[Journal article]Authored by: McDowell, N.
McDowell, N., & Budd, J. (2018). The perspectives of teachers and paraeducators on the relationship between classroom clutter and learning experiences for students with cerebral visual impairment. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. 112(3), 248-260
[Journal article]Authored by: McDowell, N.

Teaching and Supervision

Courses Coordinated

  • 249.700 Braille Proficiency
  • 249.746 Theory and Foundations of Blind and Low Vision Education
  • 249.751 Evidence-based Interprofessional Practice in Blind and Low Vision Education
  • 249.752 Practicum in Blind and Low Vision Education

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