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Debra Dunn, Esq

3535 Market Street
Suite 860
Philadelphia, PA 19104


Deb is the Director of Outreach and Study Recruitment at the Center for Autism Research (CAR) at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). She is responsible for developing and coordinating all of CAR's community outreach activities, and she directs CAR's autismMatch program that recruits and matches families interested in research to specific projects at CAR and at other regional research institutions. Deb is actively involved in planning and implementing CAR's NextSteps program (three sets of educational workshops for parents and professionals), CAR's Distinguished Lecture Series, CAR's online Services Roadmap (in development), CAR's outreach to area pediatricians, and a yearly autism awareness event with the Philadelphia Eagles called Huddle Up for Autism. Deb is also CAR's liaison to the Public Relations Department at CHOP, with which she works to ensure print and broadcast media coverage of CAR and to provide information to reporters as needed, and is CAR's liaison to CHOP's Development Department (The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation).

Deb is a member of CHOP's Autism Integration Committee and a board member of ASCEND Group (a local autism advocacy organization). In the past, she has served as a board member for the Autism Society of America Greater Philadelphia Chapter and the Right to Education Task Force of Delaware County, where she led a team assisting the Pennsylvania Department of Education in monitoring special education programs in Delaware County, PA.

Prior to her work at CAR, Deb was an attorney for a litigation firm in Philadelphia. She continues to use her experience as an attorney to help parents understand and become effective advocates for themselves. She recently contributed six articles related to education and advocacy to The Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders, a comprehensive reference which will be available online and in print (Editor-in-chief, Fred R. Volkmar) and has conducted workshops on parents' rights throughout the special education process.

Deb is also the parent of a child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, which infuses her work with the perspective of a parent living with autism at home. She recently participated as a parent reviewer for the American Academy of Pediatrics Council of Children with Disabilities autism subcommittee, which is charged with reviewing and revising the Autism Toolkit in use by pediatricians and families living with autism.

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