The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) facilitates discoveries and best practices to improve the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. More than 200 faculty affiliated with Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center are engaged in multidisciplinary research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination. The VKC’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) works to improve assessment and treatment services for children with autism while advancing knowledge and training.
Building social connection for neurodiverse children and families through music class
The Promise of Discovery Season 3, Episode 1:
Community participation is important for family well-being but many families of autistic children report more difficulties and more negative experiences with recreational activities. The Serenade Parent-Child Music Class Program is specifically designed to support neurodiverse children and families during the classes, as well as provide parenting support through home musical activities. In this mixed-methods study, researchers investigated the mechanisms by which parent–child music classes can support community participation and well-being.
Serenade Parent-Child Music Class Program YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFcRe6UOi_veyfb3Hh3bacA
Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab:
Miriam Lense, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Otolaryngology, Co-Director Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab
Interviewer: Courtney Taylor, M.Div., Director of Communications, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
Accessing disability information and resources: Tennessee Disability Services Study
The Promise of Discovery Season 2, Episode 8:
The Tennessee Disability Services Study surveyed more than 3,000 individuals with disabilities, family members, educators, providers, agency staff, and health care workers in TN. Questions examined what matters most to disability and professional communities across the state, how they currently find needed information, and solicited their recommendations for making this process easier. Responses are informing recommendations for addressing enduring needs related to accessing information and services that enable people with disabilities to flourish.
View transcript at: https://vkc.vumc.org/assets/files/transcripts/PromiseDiscovery_S2Ep08.txt
Erik Carter, Ph.D., Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair and Professor of Special Education; Co-Director, VKC University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VKC UCEDD)
Elise McMillan, J.D., Co-Director, VKC UCEDD; Director of Community Engagement and Public Policy; Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Emily Lanchak, M.Ed., Educational Consultant, Transition Tennessee
Potential Rett syndrome drug shows promising results in phase 3 trial
The Promise of Discovery Season 2, Episode 7:
This episode features a discussion of the need for meaningful therapies in Rett syndrome (RTT), and highlights the Lavender™ study, a phase 3, 12-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of the drug trofinetide in 187 young females, ages 5 to 20, with Rett syndrome. Investigators discuss public, top-level results of the potential first-of-its-kind drug to treat the symptoms of RTT, and share the hope that this trial paves the way for other successful trials in RTT and related disorders.
Jeffrey L. Neul, M.D., Ph.D., Annette Schaffer Eskind Chair and Director, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center; Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neurology, Pharmacology, and Special Education
Cary Fu, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology
Training for special education teachers in augmentative and alternative communication
The Promise of Discovery Season 2, Episode 6:
This episode features discussion of a national survey of special education teachers to assess the level of training they received in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and to collect their reflections and recommendations to support students who use AAC in their classrooms.
Alexandra Da Fonte, Ph.D., associate professor of the Practice, Director of Professional Studies, Vanderbilt University
Miriam Boesch, Ph.D., associate professor of Special Education, University of North Texas
Tracking autism prevalence in Tennessee and the U.S.
The Promise of Discovery Season 2, Episode 5:
The estimated prevalence of children in the U.S. with autism spectrum disorder has increased in 2021. Principal investigators from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s TRIAD lead tracking in Tennessee through a grant from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. The national tracking study is discussed in this episode. https://vkc.vumc.org/vkc/triad/autismdata/
Zachary E. Warren, Ph.D., Director, Division of Developmental Medicine, Vanderbilt Department of Pediatrics; Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and Special Education; Executive Director, VKC TRIAD
Alison Vehorn, M.S., Clinical Research Coordinator, TRIAD
Reducing risk of Alzheimer’s Disease in individuals with Down syndrome
The Promise of Discovery Season 2, Episode 4:
The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center researchers in this episode are studying the connection of Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease. The Trial-Ready Cohort-Down Syndrome Study will identify individuals over age 35 with Down syndrome, obtain information about how they are functioning, and evaluate their brain activity and structure. This work will identify individuals with Down syndrome who may be eligible for a future medication study with the goal of reducing their risk for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
VKC Researcher: Paul Newhouse, M.D., Jim Turner Professor of Cognitive Disorders; Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Pharmacology, and Medicine; Director, Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine
Interviewer: Elise McMillan, J.D., Co-Director, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities; Director of Community Engagement and Public Policy; and Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences