In Memoriam: Sara S. Sparrow, Ph.D. 1933-2010 Sara S. Sparrow, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Psychology and Chief Psychologist at Yale University 's Child Study Center from 1977 to 2002, passed away on June 10, following a long illness. Dr. Sparrow was the author of more than 100 articles and chapters in the fields of psychological assessments and developmental disabilities, and is senior author of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, one of the most widely used psychological assessment instruments in the world. Her research focused on the assessment of adaptive behavior, child neuropsychology, and developmental disabilities across a wide range of diagnostic groups of children and also across cultures. Her work included studies of children with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities, as well as gifted children and those with learning disabilities or emotional disturbance. She was active for decades in the training of mental health professionals at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels. Dr. Sparrow was always available to her junior colleagues and children and families in need. Dr. Sparrow's journey took her from the Midwest to Europe and Japan , to Florida and finally to New Haven . Her family includes prominent figures in sports, music, arts, and sciences. Several generations of her students lead clinical science programs around the globe. Dr. Sparrow was born May 9, 1933, in Minneapolis , Minnesota . She graduated summa cum laude from Montclair State College in New Jersey in 1958, and received her M.A. in speech pathology in 1962 and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology/clinical neuropsychology in 1968, both from the University of Florida . After a brief career as a speech pathologist and completion of her doctoral studies, she came to Yale in 1968 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology. She joined the department's research staff the following year, then served as acting chief psychologist at the Child Study Center in 1972-73. She was appointed to the rank of assistant professor in 1974, associate professor in 1977, and full professor in 1986. She was a marvelous cook, gourmet, and hostess. The parties organized by Sara and her husband, Dom, who survives her, remain legendary, including their long-standing tradition of hosting a party on the day of the Kentucky Derby. Her doctoral defense at the University of Florida was memorable both for the quality of her research and because she served caviar and wine. Among many professional recognitions, she received the Career Scientist Award from the American Association of Mental Retardation in 2002 for her lifetime contributions to the field. She was the 2004-2005 President of Division 33 of the American Psychological Association. She recently served on the National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) Committee on Disability Determination for Mental Retardation and was cofounder of the Journal of Child Neuropsychology. She is deeply mourned by her husband, many friends, and countless students and colleagues. Memorial contributions can be made to the Sara S. Sparrow Memorial Fund at the Child Study Center.

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  1. Dom, we are very sorry for your loss. Sara was an extremely warm and wonderful lady and she will be missed. We have fond memories of both you and Sara from the .Leon’s. days. All our thoughts and love to you. Bobbi and Joseph Varipapa, Liane (Varipapa) Page

  2. I was saddened to see the notice of Sara’s death. I attended graduate school with Sara at U of F– She was a very bright light in the dim environment of the graduate school trenches. I never kept up with her personally –but followed her career from Duke University. My condolences to those who survive this fine woman–thoughtful psychologist -and lover of life. Phil Costanzo

  3. Sarah, my Rolemodel in the Neuropsychology. I know that everyone must go someday and I respect this! Still the world of Neuropsychology and INS will still miss you! To the family I would say: .Say not, in grief, that she has gone, But give thanks that she was yours Sarah rest in Peace. Melva Croes-Yanez

  4. I was so very sorry to hear of Sara’s passing. I have always appreciated the warmth, support and guidance that Sara had given me during my time as a CSC Fellow. She created a place for me to grow as a psychologist for which I will forever be grateful. Dom, may your fond memories of your life with Sara compfort you during this time. Sincerely, Edgar Stewart

  5. I did not learn of Sara’s passing until several months later. I know that Dom has to be devastated at his loss. I have so many wonderful memories of time spent with Sara and Dom at Yale tailgate parties, road trips for the away games, trips to Bermuda, Super Bowl Parties, Derby Day parties, and many wonderful dinners. Sara was a wonderful hostess and an incredible cook in addition to being outstanding in her profession. She will be missed by many.

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