A desire to understand her young son’s speech and language delay sparked Deborah Parker’s interest in speech-language pathology.
A mother’s love knows no bounds, and Deborah Parker found her career goals shifting when her little boy began speech and language therapy. With no prior experience in the field, Parker emailed Professor Diana Emanuel to discuss transferring into TU’s undergraduate speech-language pathology and audiology program. “She was so generous with her time and went above and beyond to answer my questions and make me feel comfortable,” says Parker. “Even before I applied, I knew how deeply the program cares about its students.”
“My professors and my classmates have created a family for me at Towson,” said Parker, who worked as a research assistant with the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism on the TU campus, where she helped to develop visual supports for therapy sessions so that participants can more effectively communicate.
Parker is particularly attuned to the role parents can play in developing skills to support their children. “I would like to work as a speech-language therapist or speech educator in the Baltimore City Public Schools in a position that would allow me to help other parents.” Her long-term career aspirations are even more ambitious. “Ultimately, I would like to open my own practice and develop a summer camp for children with special needs.”
Parker has made contributions to the TU program as well. At a TU panel on inclusion, race and gender, Parker noted that case studies used in her curriculum never included individuals that “looked like me.”
“I was encouraged to have this powerful conversation,” which resulted in a webinar offered by Clinical Associate Professor Karen Day on assessments of African-American dialogue. “The whole class signed up for the webinar.”
Parker is now in her second year of the master’s program in speech-language pathology.