Sunday, January 4, 2015

Robin Parker

Autism Light #371 is Robin Parker.

Robin Shari-Rosenthal Parker, of North Lauderdale, Florida, was a professor in the communications sciences and disorders field at Nova Southeastern University. She passed away on July 16, 2014, at the age of 50, from pancreatic cancer. Robin Parker is survived by her husband Glenn, a daughter Sarah, and a son Michael. Also, surviving are her parents Lenore and David Rosenthal. Dr. Robin Parker is an Autism Light for her insights into autism and her decades of providing practical help with the communication needs of people with autism. Robin Parker will be placed on the Autism Light Memorial Roll today.

Education: Robin Parker received her Bachelor and Master's Degree from Florida State University. She earned her doctorate degree in Communication Disorders from Nova Southeastern University.

At the time of her death, Robin Parker was a professor at Nova Southeastern University. In order to improve communication with individuals who have autism, her work also included an interest in a study of effective communication Apps for mobile devices. Wren Newman, the Executive Director at the Speech Pathology program at Nova Southeastern University said,
We'll make sure she is not forgotten. Our students will know about her and her work. She was positive and gave families hope and strategies to implement with their children. In the 30 years I've been in this field, I can't think of a positive descriptor that I couldn't use about Robin (Wren Newman as Quoted in the Miami Herald, July 17, 2014).

Read more here:
The following is an interview of Dr. Robin Parker on communication conducted by Dr. Cyndy Hayes.

PrAACtical AAC Blog: Robin Parker along with her colleague Dr. Carole Zangari founded the PrAACtical AAC blog to promote supports for language learning in 2012.  Dr. Zangari said, "The blog was a happy place for [Robin]. She was all about helping individuals who can't speak gain a voice (Autism Daily Newscast, July 19, 2014)."

There are many resources available on the PrAACtical AAC blog. Strategies, videos, a tool box, and other material are available for therapists and people that work with autism. The blog also includes several supports to help observe Jewish Disability Awareness Month.

Parent Testimony: Mona Nasser said, "My daughter is an adult now and because of the work Robin did she will be able to manage her life in a meaningful way. I've since had the privilege of calling her one of my best friends and she lived her life like she left it--with dignity, respect and compassion (Mona Nasser as Quoted in the Miami Herald, July 17, 2014)."

The contributions that Dr. Robin Parker made for autism won't soon be forgotten. They have enriched human lives and have ushered in groundbreaking understandings of communications that will be felt in the field of autism for years to come. It is hoped that the legacy of Robin Parker will encourage other people to become experts in communications in order to shine a light for autism. Our thoughts continue to be with her family in their loss.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

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