Editorial Policy and Author Guidelines

Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities (RPSD) is a quarterly journal published by TASH (formerly The Association of Persons with Severe Handicaps). RPSD publishes articles that report original research, authoritative and comprehensive literature reviews, analysis of policy, conceptual and practical position papers that offer new directions, and descriptions and examinations of innovative practices, programs, and models of service delivery. The article must address issues and concerns relating to or are relevant for persons with severe disabilities. Authors may submit manuscripts for review in any of the above categories or may choose to submit a paper as a Brief Report, no longer than 10-12 pages. Papers considered to be particularly appropriate for the Brief Report format include time series case studies of innovative interventions, curriculum evaluation reports, model descriptions, reports on effects of personnel preparation programs, and replication studies. RPSD also publishes issues-oriented book reviews, invited articles, and reader perspectives in the Exchange (see specific guidelines below).

Manuscript Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rpsd. Log in, or click the “Create Account” option if you are a first-time user. Once logged in, go to the Author Center. Make sure to have the following before starting submission: manuscript files; keywords for manuscript subject matter; all coauthors’ full names, addresses (city/state), and e-mail addresses; number of figures, number of tables, and number of manuscript pages. Click the “Submit a Manuscript” link and follow the submission steps. A guide is available on the main page under “Resources,” User Tutorials. Please contact the Editor regarding any questions about the review process, category of article submission, or suitability of a manuscript for RPSD – Martin Agran, Editor, RPSD Editorial Office, University of Wyoming, Department of Special Education, Dept. 3374, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071. Phone: (307) 766-2082; Fax: (307) 766-4064; magran@uwyo.edu.

Submission Requirements

RPSD requires that authors follow the style of presentation in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). In addition to following the manual, authors should note that all sections should be typed double-spaced on 8 1/2 by 11-inch paper with at least a 1-inch margin on all sides. Manuscript files and file names MUST NOT CONTAIN ANY AUTHOR-IDENTIFYING INFORMATION. Include title, abstract, and 4 to 5 keywords. All tables and figures must be cited in text.


Figures must be production-ready. Rules/tick marks should not be smaller than 1 point. Use bold type that is large enough to be reduced. Acceptable electronic formats for art: TIFF, EPS, Word, or Excel. Scans/photos must be at least 300 dpi (also sometimes called lpi). (At lower resolutions these items will have a very poor print quality even if they look crisp and clear on a laser printout.) If you have trouble when loading Excel files, copy and paste them into a Word document.


Words such as “the handicapped” and “the retarded” should never be used as nouns. In general, phrases such as “persons with severe disabilities” and “children with autism” are appropriate. As indicated in the APA publication guidelines. A term more descriptive than “subjects” should be used in empirical research reports; a pseudonym first (children) or last (adults) name generally is acceptable. All RPSD articles will be edited to adhere to TASH policies on language, which are available from TASH Executive Offices:

2013 H Street, NW, Suite 715
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 540-9020

Description of Participants and Programs

Authors should include sufficient descriptive information on persons involved in research reports and program descriptions to allow the reader to determine the relevance of the information in the article to the individuals of interest to him or her. This may require a table describing participants (including age, gender, information on functional level and adaptive behavior, and any other information directly relevant to the paper). Intervention procedures should be described in sufficient detail to allow for replication, and readers should be invited to write to the author(s) for more information.

Educational Validity

RPSD emphasizes ecological and educational validity in the content of the journal. Applied research conducted in actual, inclusive service delivery and community environments is likely to be more relevant to our readers than research conducted in highly artificial and controlled settings. Reports of validated interventions should also strive to meet three criteria for educational validity: (a) a demonstration of behavior change associated with the intervention or independent variable(s); (b) why and how the behavior change is meaningful; and (c) a description of the program strategies used that is replicable, along with documentation that implementation of those strategies was reliable. Papers will be accepted for review and possible publication in the journal even though components of one of these criteria may be absent, but authors are encouraged to incorporate each into their study design and report.

Review Process and Editorial Decision

Articles submitted are sent for review by the Editor or Associate Editor to four anonymous reviewers, each of whom is selected for particular expertise and interest in the topic involved; a guest reviewer may also be asked to review the manuscript. The review process takes from 3 to 4 months, at which time the editor responsible for the manuscript will communicate the editorial decision to the corresponding author along with a summary of information critical to the decision. Editorial decisions include: Publish, Publish with Revision, Do Not Publish/ Invite Revision, or Do Not Publish.


Authors submitting a manuscript do so with the understanding that if it is accepted for publication, copyright belongs with TASH, including the right to reproduce the article in all forms and media, and not to the author. Permission requests can be made directly from the RPSD journal page.  Additional information regarding permissions requests can be found here or by contacting permissions@sagepub.com.

Proofs and Reprints

Authors will receive galley proofs directly from the publisher approximately 5 to 6 weeks after the issue has gone to press. Authors are given a 48-hour turnaround time to proof the galleys and return corrections to the copy editor. The author may only change typeset errors at this stage, and any changes that exceed these errors should not be made: if such changes are made, the author will be charged. Authors will receive a PDF copy of their article as soon as the article has been published online.  For information about reprints, click here.

Books for Review

The book reviews published in RPSD are issues-oriented, with an emphasis upon discussing the content and perspective of a book in relationship to critical developments in the field. Only current year books are reviewed. Book reviews are solicited by invitation only; however, persons interested in doing such a review may contact the Editor. Publishers wishing to submit a book for possible review need to send two copies to the Editor. Books submitted for possible review will not be returned to the publisher. Reviewers will receive a complimentary copy of the book. Publishers will be requested to send a complimentary copy of the reviewed book to the TASH Executive Offices to be included in the TASH library.


RPSD also publishes short, thought-provoking articles that present the author’s views on important issues in the field. The Exchange includes thoughtful perspectives on current controversies or new developments in practice and research, responses to articles published in RPSD and other sources, and personal reflections about the author’s experiences as a participant in the disability field. Perspectives from all RPSD readers are encouraged (e.g., self-advocates, family members, teachers, researchers, policy-makers). Submitted articles must be no more than 8 double spaced manuscript pages and will undergo a non-anonymous review by two members of the senior editorial board, plus one editorial board member or invited guest reviewer with particular experience or interest in the topic. Acceptance for publication will be based on the manuscript’s perceived importance, timeliness, and contribution to the field.

Statement of Ethics

The opinions expressed in the journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the editor, editorial board, TASH Board of Directors, and the TASH Staff. Authors are encouraged to be respectful of all authors they cite or persons to whom they refer, and are advised not to reveal any personal information about these persons that is damaging or hurtful.