Nancy Bagatell

Division Director and Associate Professor
Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Bondurant Hall 2052 – CB #7122
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Phone: 919-843-4463


  • PhD, Occupational Science, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
  • MA, Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
  • BA, Music Performance, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Personal Statement

I joined the Division in the fall of 2013 after working in a number of academic and clinical settings. As a clinician, I have worked in mental health settings and with individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities across the lifespan and in schools, homes, and community settings. I am particularly interested in issues related to adolescence, transition to adulthood, and creating a meaningful adult life through engagement in occupation. As an occupational scientist I am interested in how sociocultural, contextual, and political phenomenon support engagement in everyday occupation and exploring methods that best capture the complexity of occupation. I have been teaching for nearly 20 years and thoroughly enjoy thinking about how students learn. My educational philosophy is influenced ideas of constructivist education and the learning paradigm, that is that learning occurs through doing, problem-solving, dialoguing about ideas, and having real life experiences.

Personally, I engage in a variety of meaningful occupations, many of them centering around my family, such as hiking, going to the farmer’s market, traveling, and dog walking. I am also an avid reader, enjoy running, and am learning to play the piano. The UNC School of Medicine Academy of Educators inducted Bagatell into its ranks 2019.

Courses Taught

OCCT 725: Human Capacities: Body, Structure and Function
OCCT 756: Therapeutic Processes
OCSC 845: Conceptual Introduction to Occupational Science
AHSC 910: Application and Implementation of Qualitative Methods: Analysis of Qualitative Data

Research Interests

My research interests focus on the transition needs of individuals with developmental disabilities; the experiences of adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and cerebral palsy and their caregivers; intervention to increase community living and integration; and occupation and identity, particularly in marginalized populations.

Recent Publications

Johnson, K. & Bagatell, N. (2018). “No, You can’t have it”: Problematizing choice in institutionalized adults with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, Advance online publication.

Johnson, K. & Bagatell, N. (2017). Beyond custodial care: Mediating choice and participation for adults with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Occupational Science, 24(4), 546-560.

Bagatell, N., Chan, D.V., Rauch, K.K., & Thorpe, D. (2017). ‘‘Thrust into adulthood’’: Transition experiences of young adults with cerebral palsy. Disability & Health, 10, 80-86.

Bagatell, N. & Womack, J. (2016). Human capacity for action as core content in occupational science education, Journal of Occupational Science, 23(4), 514- 518, Doi: 10.1080/14427591.2016.1226682

Bagatell, N. (2016). The routines and occupations of families with adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 31(1), 49-59. Doi: 10.1177/1088357615587503

Sanders, M.J., Reynolds, J., Bagatell, N., Treu, J., O’Connor, E., & Katz, D.L. (2015). Promoting healthy lifestyles to children at school using a multidisciplinary train-the-trainer approach. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 21(4), E27-34.

Bagatell, N. & Mason, A. (2015). Looking backward, thinking forward: Occupational therapy and autism spectrum disorders. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 35(1), 34-41.
Sanders, J.M., Reynolds, J., Bagatell, N., Treu, J.A., O’Connor, E. & Katz, D.L. (2014). Promoting healthy lifestyles to children at school: Using a multidisciplinary train-the-trainer. Journal of Public Health Management Practice, 1-9.
Bagatell, N., Cram, M., Alvarez, C. & Loehle, L. (2014). Routines of families with adolescents with autistic disorders: A comparison study. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81, 62-67.

Bagatell, N., Hartmann, K. & Meriano, C. (2013). Evaluation process and assessment choice of pediatric practitioners in the Northeast United States. Journal of Occupational Therapy, School, & Early Intervention, 6(2), 143-157.

Bagatell, N., Lawrence, J., Schwartz, M. & Vuernick, W. (2013). Occupational therapy student experiences and transformations during fieldwork in mental health settings. Journal of Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 28(2). 181-196.

Bagatell, N. (2012). Engaged moments: Mediated action and children with autism in the classroom setting. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health32(1), 258-265.

Bagatell, N., Mirigliani, G., Patterson, C., Reyes, Y. & Test, L. (2010). The effectiveness of therapy ball chairs on classroom participation in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64(6), 895-903.

Bagatell, N. (2010). From cure to community: Transforming notions of autism. Ethos, 38(1), 33-54.

Solomon, O. & Bagatell, N. (2010). Introduction: Autism: Rethinking the possibilities. Ethos, 38(1), 1-7.

McKeough, M. & Bagatell, N. (2010). Attitudes of health care students about computer-aided neuroanatomy instruction. Journal of Allied Health, 38(4), 189-195.

Bagatell, N. (2007). Orchestrating voices: Autism, identity and the power of discourse. Disability and Society, 22(4), 413-426.

Nancy Bagatell, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA