Photo of Kirstin B. Birtwell, PhD

Birtwell, Kirstin B., PhD

  • Assistant in Psychology, Dept. of Psychiatry, MGH
  • Assistant in Pediatrics, Dept. of Pediatrics, MGH
  • Instructor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School


Accepting New Patients


As a staff psychologist at the Lurie Center for Autism, Dr. Birtwell is dedicated to providing diagnostic and neuropsychological evaluations and behavioral/cognitive behavioral therapy services to children, adolescents, and adults who are impacted by autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental/psychiatric disorders.  Her research interests include cognitive behavioral therapy, restricted interests in ASD, acceptance and commitment therapy, and parent/family support.



Centers & Specialties

MassGeneral Hospital for Children

Clinical Interests
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • intellectual disabilities in children
  • Language disorders
  • Neuropsychological assessment of pediatric populations:
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Medical Education
  • PhD, Suffolk University
  • Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Lexington: Lurie Center for Autism
Insurances Accepted
  • Aetna Health Inc.
  • Beech Street
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Blue Care 65
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Indemnity
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Managed Care
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Partners Plus
  • Fallon Community HealthCare
  • Great-West Healthcare (formally One Health Plan)
  • Health Care Value Management (HCVM)
  • Humana/Choice Care PPO
  • MassHealth
  • Medicare
  • Medicare - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - PBO
  • OSW - New Hampshire
  • Private Health Care Systems (PHCS)
  • TriCare
  • Tufts Health Plan
  • Unicare
  • United Behavioral Health
  • United Behavioral Health - MGH

Note: This provider may accept more insurance plans than shown; please call the practice to find out if your plan is accepted.

Patient Age Group
Pediatric and Adult


Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Kirstin Birtwell is the Principal Investigator of an ongoing pilot study entitled, "Using affinities technology to enhance social communication and emotion regulation skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorder."  Her study hopes to explore the ways in which a new autism technology can be used within the context of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for autism spectrum disorder. 



Selected Publications:

  1. Birtwell, K.B. & Nowinski, L. (2018). Access to treatment for individuals with developmental disabilities. In E. Braaten & B. Willoughby (Eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Intellectual and Developmental Disorders. Los Angeles: Sage Publishing.
  2. Parent, V., Birtwell, K.B., Dubard, M., Lambright, N. (2016). Combining CBT and behavior analytic approaches to target severe emotion dysregulation in verbal youth with ASD/ID. Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 9(1), 60-82.
  3. Birtwell, K.B., Willoughby, B. & Nowinski, L. (2016). Social, cognitive, and behavioral development of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. In C. J. McDougle (Ed.), Primer on Autism Spectrum Disorder. New York: Oxford University Press.
  4. Cavalari, R., DuBard, M., Luiselli, J., Birtwell, K. B. (2013). Teaching an adolescent with autism to tolerate routine medical examination: Effects of compliance training through graduated exposure and positive reinforcement. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology, 1(2), 121-128.
  5. Coyne, L. W. & Birtwell, K. & McHugh, L. (2013). Acceptance and commitment therapy: transdiagnostic processes in child and adolescent psychopathology. In J. T. Ehrenreich & B. Chu (Eds). Transdiagnostic treatment approaches to youth psychopathology. New York: Guilford Press.
  6. Birtwell, K. & Sandberg, E. (2012). The PLAY Project Home Consultation (PPHC) program. In E. H. Sandberg & B. L. Spritz (Eds.). A Brief Guide to Autism Treatments. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


Lurie Center for Autism
1 Maguire Road
Lexington, MA 02421-3114
Phone: 781-860-1700
Fax: 781-860-1766

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