Debra Dawn Head

Dawn Head is a speech-language pathologist with a passion for helping students on the autism spectrum to “tell their story.” Originally from Okinawa, Japan, Dawn received a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and a Master of Arts in Speech Pathology from the University of Florida. Before joining the Hillsborough County school system in 2001, Dawn served as the speech-language pathologist at a long-term, acute care hospital. In this capacity, she assisted patients with medically complex diagnoses in improving their communication and swallowing skills. Her work in Hillsborough County schools includes initiating and co-teaching a social skills class for students on the autism spectrum at Coleman Middle School. Catherine Zenko’s CARD presentation on improving literacy for students on the autism spectrum motivated Dawn to search for a method of literacy improvement that addressed the Theory of Mind, central coherence, and executive function deficits which pose challenges for these students. The guidance and support of her CARD mentor, Katy Langevin, as well as the educational opportunities provided by CARD and PEPSA greatly increased her ability to meet the needs of her students. Dawn looks forward to collaborating this year to give students tools and strategies which will allow them to improve their ability to create written work that conforms to the requirements of the middle school curriculum.