Robin L. Dodds, a doctoral student at the Gevirtz School at UC Santa Barbara, has been awarded a Philip & Aida Siff Educational Foundation Fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year.
The Siff Foundation, based in Santa Barbara, supports doctoral students researching the education of individuals with developmental disabilities.
Dodds, currently a doctoral student in the Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk emphasis in the Department of Education, is conducting research with a national peer support program for parents of children with disabilities with the aim of improving the wellbeing of families by providing informational and emotional support. Previous to her doctoral studies, Dodds worked as a Special Education teacher for toddlers and preschoolers, and is the mother of two children, one with autism. She has presented at TASH and CalTASH as well as the Disability Studies in Education, UCSPEDR and Parent to Parent USA conferences, and has recently accepted a position on the Parent to Parent USA Executive Board. Her research interests include: inclusion, parent support, culturally and linguistically diverse families, and special education.
“I am honored to be awarded the Siff Fellowship,” Dodds says. “This award will allow me to continue my partnership with Parent to Parent in a program of research and service in the support of parents of children with special needs. Without effective social supports, some parents of children with disabilities may be an increased risk for the negative physical and psychological effects of chronic stress. Peer support provided by a parent who has dealt with similar issues can provide a parent with information and emotional support, assisting them in making their life more manageable, helping their child, and imparting a sense of hope and positivity to the entire family. I am blessed to be involved in such important work and service to a community dear to my heart.”