Thomas Fish, PhD

Nisonger Center - UCEDD
OSU Wexner Medical Center/Office of Health Sciences
The Ohio State University
357 McCampbell Hall
1581 Dodd Dr
Columbus, OH 43210
Phone: 614-685-8723
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Last Updated: September 22, 2017


Discipline Coordinators: Social Work
Project/Program/Clinic Contacts: Family Support Services - Next Chapter Book Club/Jot it Down
Discipline(s): Social Work
AUCD Council Membership: No Council Membership
Research: adult literacy, Next chapter book clubs, social programs, asperger syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, adult supports, community supports, also
Fish, T.R., Rabidoux, P., Ober, J., & Graff, V.L.W. (2006). Community literacy and friendship model for people with intellectual disabilities. Mental Retardation, 44, 443-446.
Education: 2003 Ohio State University
Major: Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Services

1971 Boston University
Major: MSSS in Social Work

1969 Northern Michigan University
Major: B.S. in Elementary Education

Service: Dr. Fish is a board member of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio. He is the founder of the Next Chapter Book Club, a community literacy and friendship program with over 80 clubs throughout the country. Dr. Fish was a recipient of a Mary Switzer Research Fellowship from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research for his work on attitudes of families of youth with disabilities toward transition from school to adult life.


Work Address:     Nisonger Center                                                    

                              371K McCampbell Hall                                        

                              1581 Dodd Drive                                                  

                              Columbus, OH  43210


                              Fax:  614/366-6373


E-Mail Address:




2003                      Ohio State University

                              Major: Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Services


1971                      Boston University

                              Major:  MSSS in Social Work


1969                      Northern Michigan University

                              Major:  B.S. in Elementary Education




1995 – Present       Director of Social Work and Family Support Services, Nisonger Center,

                                    The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio


1992 – 1995          Associate Director and Outreach/Technical Assistance Director,

                                    Nisonger Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio


1990 – 1992          Acting Director, Nisonger Center, The Ohio State University,

                                    Columbus, Ohio


1983 – 1990          Director of Clinical Services, Nisonger Center and Adjunct Assistant

                                    Professor of Social Work, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio


1979 – 1983          Social Work Faculty Coordinator and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Social

                                    Work, Nisonger Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio


1975 – 1979          Administrative Director, Westside Mental Health Project, Maricopa County

                                    Department of Health Services, Glendale, AZ


1974 – 1975          Psychiatric Social Worker

                                    Maricopa County General Hospital Emergency Room, Phoenix, AZ


1971 – 1974          Anchor Worker

                                    Tufts New England Medical Center Community Mental Health

                                    Delinquency Prevention Program, Boston, MA



Burke, M.M., Fish, T., & Lawton, K. (2015). A comparative analysis of adult siblings' perceptions towards caregiving. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 53, 143-57.

Fish, T., Kingsley, B., Ober, J., & Powers, E. (2014). Jot It Down: A Community-Based Writing Club for People with Developmental Disabilities Training Manual.  Columbus, OH.


Burke, M., Fish, T., & Lawton, K. (2014). A Comparative Analysis of Adult Siblings’ Perceptions Towards Caregiving.  Under Review


Fish, T. & Ober, J. (2012). Lucky Dogs, Lost Hats, and Dating Don’ts.  Bethesda, MD.: Woodbine House.


Hillier, A., Fish, T., Siegel, J., & Beversdorf, D. (2011). Social and Vocational Skills Training Reduces Self-reported Anxiety and Depression Among Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 23: 267-276.


Senner, J. E. & Fish, T. (2010). Comparison of child self-report and parent report on the sibling need and involvement profile. Remedial and Special Education, XX(X) 1–7


Fish, T., & Rabidoux, P., with Ober, J., & Graff, V. L. W. (2009). Next Chapter Book Club: A Model Community Literacy Program for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Bethesda, MD.: Woodbine House.


Fish, T., Graff, V., & Gross, A. (2009). Next Chapter Book Club: Lifelong learning and community inclusion. In W. L. Heward, Exceptional children: An introduction to special education (9th ed.) (pp. 594-595). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.


Hillier, A., Fish, T., Cloppert, P., & Beversdorf, D. Q. Outcomes of a social and vocational skills support group for adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 22 (2), 107-115, 2007.


Fish, T.R., Rabidoux, P., Ober, J., & Graff, V.L.W. (2006). Community literacy and friendship

         model for people with intellectual disabilities. Mental Retardation, 44, 443-446.


Fish, T., Izzo, M., Karoulis, K., & Growick, B.  Improving supported employment outcomes

         through cross-agency training: Local solutions to local problems. Journal of Vocational

         Rehabilitation, 9, 159-169, 1997.


Fish, T., Sibling Need and Involvement Profile. Columbus, OH: Nisonger Center, 1994.


Fish, T., Next steps: Information and planning guide and 20-minute video dealing with adult

         sibling issues, 1992.


Fish, T., Choices for the future: A retirement planning guide. Columbus, OH: Nisonger Center,



Mysiw, W.J., Corrigan, J.D., Hunt, M., Cavin, D., & Fish, T. Vocational evaluation of traumatic

         brain injury patients using the functional assessment inventory. Brain Injury, 3:1, 27-34,



Fish, T. & McCaffrey, F., Profiles of the other child: A sibling guide for parents. Columbus, OH:

         Nisonger Center, 1989.


Fish, T., Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters.  In A. Riemenschneider (Ed.), Parent-professionals

         interactions: A key to parental involvement (monograph). Columbus, OH, 1985.





Fish, T., Ficker- Terrell, C., Bridging Social Capital and Literacy for Adults with IDD. National AAIDD Annual Conference, Orlando, FL, June, 2014.  


Fish, T. The Importance of Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning for Individuals with IDD.  Statewide ARC Conference and Training, Youngstown, OH, April, 2014.


Fish, T. What We Know and Need to Still Need to Learn about Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learing for People with IDD.  National Next Chapter Book Club and Beyond Conference, Chicago, IL, October, 2013.


Fish, T. Making Adult Literacy Meaningful and Realistic.  National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, August, 2011.


Fish, T. A Systematic Study of a Social-Vocational Support Program for Young Adults with High-Functioning Autism. AAIDD Annual Conference, Providence, RI, June, 2010.


Fish, T. & Gross, A. An Adult Literacy and Community Inclusion Program for Adults with IDD. AAIDD Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, June, 2009.


Fish, T. Adult Literacy in the Lives of Young Adult and Adults with IDD. National Developmental Disability Council Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, WI, October, 2008


Fish, T. The Important Role of Siblings in the Lives of Their Brothers and Sisters with IDD. National Developmental Disability Council Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, WI, October, 2008


Fish, T. Aspirations: A Model Social-Vocational Support Program for People with High-Functioning Autism. National AUCD Conference, Washington, D.C., November, 2007.


Fish, T.  Understanding Parental Concerns During The Transition Process. National AAMR Conference, New York, NY., May, 1997.


Fish, T.  Supporting and Involving Siblings During Early Intervention. Michigan Early Intervention Conference, Grayling, MI., May, 1997.


Fish, T.  Strengthening Peer and Sibling Relationships. National Spina Bifida Association of America Conference, Louisville, KY., June, 1997.


Fish, T.  Why Siblings are Important. Pennsylvania Early Intervention Conference, Hershey, PA., May, 1996.


Fish, T.  Realistic Involvement of Families in the Supported Living. National AAMR Conference, San Antonio, TX., June, 1996.


Fish, T.  Adult sibling issues. Paper for the AAMR Region VI Meeting, Indianapolis, IN., October, 1992.


Fish, T.  Successful outcomes of integrated child care for young children with disabilities. Poster session at AAUAP Annual Meeting, Austin, TX., October, 1991.


Fish, T.  Adoption of children with mental retardation. AAMR Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., May, 1990.





Columbus Foundation Grant—2014 for Short Interactive Plays for Adults with IDD. $20,000.


Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council—2013 To Develop the Jot It Down Manual. $4,000.


Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities – Total of 7 awards for Social Programs. $441,000.


Ohio Developmental Disabilities Planning Council – 5 year grant entitled Ohio Adult Sibling Project. $100,000.


Columbus Foundation – A total of 7 awards from 2004 – 2012 for the Next Chapter Book Club project.  $180,000.


Ohio Community Service Council – A total of 8 awards from

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