Debra Kirby, Ph. D.
Debra Kirby, Ph. D., is a fully licensed school psychologist in the states of Michigan and Massachusetts, and is currently completing requirements for licensure as a clinical psychologist in Michigan. Dr. Kirby earned her master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, and her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Her areas of special training and interest in behavioral neurophysiology were developed while conducting her dissertation research at Harvard Medical School, followed by postdoctoral study. She has published 25 peer reviewed papers on topics including changes in heart function during sleep, sleep apnea, and stress, and blood pressure regulation.
More recently, Dr. Kirby has developed skills as a practitioner of the Orton Gillingham reading instruction method (undertaken to help her own children learn to read) and tutored students from diverse backgrounds ages 7-18. She also pursued the credentials necessary to become a school psychologist. For the last 10 years, Dr. Kirby was a school psychologist in Duxbury Massachusetts, serving families and children in grades K-2. In this role, she assessed cognitive skills, behavior patterns, and executive function. Children who lacked success in these areas were helped to develop needed self-regulation skills using incentive-based behavior plans, peer model play groups, and counseling.
Dr. Kirby believes every child needs to feel successful and competent, and that these characteristics can be fostered by learning executive functioning, problem solving skills, and self-regulation. If areas of deficient academic skills are suspected, identifying areas of needed skills and remediating them as quickly as possible, will create a sense of accomplishment and well-being.