The Experts

Meet the autism experts who helped us develop Robots4Autism

Dr. Pamela Rollins

MS CCC-SLP, Ed.D, University of Texas – Dallas

Pamela Rollins, MS Ed.D. has devoted more than 30 years to research, teaching and clinical practice in service of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. She is a certified clinical speech language pathologist who holds a doctorate of from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Her early research focused on:

  • The critical evaluation of language measures
  • The development of social-communication tools that could be used with typical children and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Currently, Dr. Rollins is researching:

  • Using social-communication tools in defining learning and communication processes associated with acquisition of social communication and language children and adults with ASD

From 2003 to 2010 Dr. Rollins was the founding Director of the Early Communication, Language & Social Skills (CLASS) Preschool for children with ASD at University of Texas-Dallas, Callier Center for Communication Disorders.

The theoretical underpinnings and social skills curriculum is the focus her book, Early Communication, Language & Social Skills: From Theory to Practice, which was published by Autism and Aspergers Press in the Spring of 2014.

Dr. Rollins teaches graduate level courses on the assessment and treatment of children with ASD at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders, part of the School of Behavior and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas in Dallas.

She is also a three-time gubernatorial appointed member of the Texas Council for Autism and PDD and holds leadership positions on many of the Texas early identification and intervention planning and implementation initiatives for ASD.

 

Carolyn Garver, PhD

Program Director Autism Treatment Center – Dallas

Dr. Carolyn Garver holds a PhD in Health Studies and has been the Program Director for the Autism Treatment Center in Dallas since 1979. She was an Adjunct Professor teaching Epidemiology at Texas Woman’s University; has published numerous studies and articles; and spoken to many groups around the world regarding the autism spectrum.

Dr. Garver has provided diagnostics, treatment and care for people with autism for the past 34 years. Her passion for working with children on the autism spectrum is a life long journey and has helped make her a recognized expert in autism.

Her research has focused on:

  • Neuro feedback
  • Assistive technology devices
  • Sensory issues in autism
  • Play-based intervention

She has also participated in an NIMH study with Children’s Medical Center and a study of Sensory Motor Function in Children with Autism with the University of North Texas health Science Center, Fort Worth.

She is a member of the National Association of Residential Providers of Adults with Autism (NARPAA), Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) and was a consultant for the Burkhart Center Autism Program, Texas Tech University.

Michelle McFarlin

MS, CCC-SLP

Michelle McFarlin is a nationally recognized autism expert who has been one of the lead authors of the Robots4Autism curriculum since its inception.  With over 20 years experience in service to individuals with autism and their families, Michelle has worked in the university clinical setting, as an educational and therapy consultant and as a program coordinator and curriculum writer for early communication language and social skills classrooms. In addition, she co-wrote an assessment tool designed for children with severe social communication challenges and served on the Augmentative Communication Team at University of Texas at Dallas - Callier Center for Communication Disorders where she presented at the state and national level.  Additionally, Michelle is founding director of The Social Communication Connection, a private practice specializing in social communication and social skills, in Dallas, TX. 

Because of her unique experience, she was asked to join the RoboKind team in 2011 as a consultant and curriculum developer for Robots4Autism where she was instrumental in program design, curriculum development, and conceptualizing service delivery. As a co-author of the curriculum modules, she created the first original teaching manual and curriculum to be delivered by a humanoid robot to help facilitate social skills development in school-aged children with ASD. Her groundbreaking work with Milo has led her to advocate for innovative teaching techniques for social communication skills in children with ASD across the country. Michelle has served as advisor to four state legislative bodies on innovative techniques for teaching social skills to children with autism and has twice been invited to testify to state congressional education committees. Thanks to her efforts, thousands of children and families worldwide have been given hope and been empowered with language, social communication, and play skills.

Michelle is a certified, clinical Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in language, social communication disorders, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Southern Methodist University as well as a Masters of Science in Communication Disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas-Callier Center for Communication Disorders.