As a graduate of University of Florida, Debiís first teaching job was in Miami at a residential school. From there, she moved to the northeast to complete her Masterís Degree in Education at Boston College. While at B.C, she supervised undergraduate students for their practicums and internships in education. She has held certifications in Elementary Education, Special Education, and Counseling/Guidance.
Debi taught for 12 years in a variety of settings. One of her noted experiences was at the New England Center for Autism (now New England Center for Children). While teaching in this program Debi had the opportunity to work with students with Autism and implement programming following an Applied Behavior Analysis model. At the Boston College Campus School, she worked closely with the communication clinic at Childrenís Hospital to develop Augmentative Communication Programs for children with both physical and mental challenges. Her last teaching position was in a Language-Based Integrated Preschool Classroom. Debi was able to further her learning on strategies for teaching children on the Spectrum by having the opportunity to work with Kathleen Ann Quill, Ed. D., Director of the Autism Institute.
After teaching, Debi worked as a Child Life Specialist in a clinic for children with long term illness. She helped to design lessons and activities to educate the children on understanding and management of their illness, provide outlets for expression of emotions, assist parents with behavioral programs to support medical management, and act as a liaison between the home school and the clinic. During this time, she also tutored elementary children in reading and math.
For advocacy, Debi was trained and did an internship at the Federation of Children with Special Needs, she is also Wrightslaw trained. She continues to update and advance her training by attending conferences and workshops on both legal and educational topics. Additionally, Debi is a member of SPAN and COPAA. Before joining Autism Spectrum Advocacy, she had her own practice where she worked with families to assist them in navigating through the Special Education Process and getting needed services and appropriate placements.
At home, she is busy raising her family. Active in the community, Debi has been involved in working with and/or advocating for children. She has assisted the religious education program in adapting curriculum and teaching children with special needs. Also, she was on a committee to assist in developing child protection policies. Debi trained to be a parent group facilitator for the It Takes a Village Program, a prevention program for At-Risk Teen behavior.