Debra Young is the owner of EmpowerAbility® LLC, an occupational therapy consultancy specializing in environmental modifications and assistive technology.
Debra Young is a certified specialist in environmental modification, aging in place, and assistive technology. She is a registered and licensed occupational therapist with 22 years of experience, holding a Master’s in Education degree with specialization in Assistive Technology (AT) from Bowling Green State University, a graduate certificate in AT from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Elizabethtown College.
Debra is a Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Certified Aging-in-Place
Debra has been named a Fellow to the American Occupational Therapy Association (FAOTA) and has also earned the Specialty Certification in Environmental Modifications (SCEM) from the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Both distinctions have been accomplished by less than 1% of occupational therapists nationally. She is an elected Director to the American Occupational Therapy Association Board of Directors and is the 2014 recipient of the AOTA Recognition of Achievement Award for notable contributions to the profession and its consumers in the environmental modifications specialty area of practice.
Debra has published and presented on local, state and national levels. She previous work experience as an Assistant Professor and adjunct instructor teaching at post-professional doctoral, PhD, and Master’s levels.
Debra has also held external leadership positions as the NAHB State Associate Director, 55+ Housing and Industries Council Trustee, consultant governor to the CAPS Board of Governors and an NAHB approved instructor for the CAPS and Universal Design/Build courses. She is the recipient of the NAHB 2013 CAPS of the Year Award. Locally, she is the Associate Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Delaware (HBADE) Executive Board and is the President of the HBADE Associates Council.
Sharing our occupational therapy experiences with one another is priceless. Not only does it show the amazing work we do, it gives the profession an opportunity to demonstrate our distinct value to external professionals and stakeholders.
I have been invited to publish and present on local, state, national and international levels; in occupational therapy related venues/publications as well as external to the profession. I have also participated in research, presently in the process of completing a systematic/scoping review. Two quick recent examples of book chapters I authored:
Internal to the profession: I authored a chapter on Assistive Technology in Foundations of Theory and Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, by Amy Wagenfeld.
International & External to the profession: I authored a chapter on Enabling health, well-being and engagement in life through ambient technologies; An occupational therapist’s lens, in Active and Assisted Living: Technologies and Applications, by Francisco Florez-Revuelta & Dr. Alexandros Andre. I was honored to be the only occupational therapist to participate in this interprofessional collaboration.
My experiences and comfort with communicating to diverse audiences and stakeholders—across state, local, national and international levels and in both written and public forums—in an effort to advance the occupational therapy profession, make me well suited for the role of Vice President of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Be sure to check out Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of My OT Journey:
Part 1: I am a CLINICIAN
Part 2: I am a BUSINESS OWNER
Part 3: I am an EDUCATOR
Part 4: I am a COLLABORATOR