A photo of Debra Reisinger.

Debra Reisinger, PhD

  • Clinical Psychologist, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
  • Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
I use a family-centered approach to care. I consider each patient and their family's unique situation, needs and perspectives so I can provide culturally sensitive care.



I’m a clinical psychologist specializing in diagnostic consultation, psychological evaluation, and individual and group treatment services. I care for children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental and related disorders, including autism spectrum disorder, developmental delay, intellectual disability and fragile X syndrome.

My passion for children with neurodevelopmental disorders began before graduate school. While working as a research specialist with Dr. Jane Roberts in the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Lab at the University of South Carolina, I coordinated two research studies that included infants up through young adulthood with autism spectrum disorder and fragile X syndrome. Since then, my career has been dedicated to providing diagnostic and treatment services for neurodevelopmental disorders.

I have trained in various clinical settings, including schools, intensive outpatient clinics, residential facilities and parent training clinics. I’m trained in several evidence-based therapies, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) and Regulating Together. When working with families, I incorporate all of my skills learned across treatment settings and evidence-based therapies to provide patients and their families with an individualized treatment approach. I am also passionate about educating families on how to best advocate for their child outside of the clinic setting.

I use a family-centered approach to care. I consider each patient and their family's unique situation, needs and perspectives so I can provide culturally sensitive care. All my work is informed by evidence-based behavioral techniques, including CBT, mindfulness, relaxation strategies and parent training. I also use a systems approach as multiple factors can affect each patient, including family, school, support systems and their community.

My research interests mirror my clinical interests and focus on developmental, diagnostic and treatment outcomes in individuals at high genetic risk for autism spectrum disorder. More specifically, I’m interested in integrating behavioral and biological mechanisms (e.g., eye tracking, EEG, heart rate) to characterize diagnostic outcomes and measure treatment progress.

When I’m not working, I enjoy photography, traveling, cooking, spending time with my two dogs and being with family and friends.

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Systematic Review: Emotion Dysregulation in Syndromic Causes of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Shaffer, RC; Reisinger, DL; Schmitt, LM; Lamy, M; Dominick, KC; Smith, EG; Coffman, MC; Esbensen, AJ. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2022.

Provider and Caregiver Satisfaction with Telehealth Evaluation of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Young Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Reisinger, DL; Hines, E; Raches, C; Tang, Q; James, C; Keehn, RM N. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2022.

Regulating Together: Emotion Dysregulation Group Treatment for ASD Youth and Their Caregivers. Shaffer, RC; Schmitt, LM; Reisinger, DL; Coffman, M; Horn, P; Goodwin, MS; Mazefsky, C; Randall, S; Erickson, C. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2022.

Brief Report: Intranasal Ketamine in Adolescents and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder-Initial Results of a Randomized, Controlled, Crossover, Pilot Study. Wink, LK; Reisinger, DL; Horn, P; Shaffer, RC; O'Brien, K; Schmitt, L; Dominick, KR; Pedapati, EV; Erickson, CA. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2021; 51:1392-1399.

Delineating Repetitive Behavior Profiles across the Lifespan in Fragile X Syndrome. Reisinger, DL; Shaffer, RC; Tartaglia, N; Berry-Kravis, E; Erickson, CA. Brain Sciences. 2020; 10.

Atypical Social Attention and Emotional Face Processing in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Insights From Face Scanning and Pupillometry. Reisinger, DL; Shaffer, RC; Horn, PS; Hong, MP; Pedapati, EV; Dominick, KC; Erickson, CA. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. 2020; 13.

A Pilot Quantitative Evaluation of Early Life Language Development in Fragile X Syndrome. Reisinger, DL; Shaffer, RC; Pedapati, EV; Dominick, KC; Erickson, CA. Brain Sciences. 2019; 9.

Initiating joint attention use in infants at high-risk for autism spectrum disorder. Brewe, AM; Reisinger, DL; Adlof, SM; Roberts, JE. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. 2018; 62:842-853.

Behavioral Markers of Emergent Stranger Anxiety in Infants and Toddlers with Fragile X Syndrome. Tonnsen, B; Scherr, J; Reisinger, D; Roberts, J. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2017; 47:3646-3658.