Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

VKC represented at 2012 AUCD Conference

Updated on 1/22/2013 3:16:57 PM.

Source: Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

By: Courtney Taylor

The 2012 Association for University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Conference in Washington, DC took place Dec. 2-5. The theme of the Conference was “Innovating Today, Shaping Tomorrow: Promising Practices in Research, Policy, Education, and Service.” A number of Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) faculty, staff, and trainees presented at the Conference through concurrent sessions, workshops, and poster presentations. A list of Vanderbilt participants (denoted with an *) and presentation descriptions are included below.

We also celebrate VKC investigator Erik Carter, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Special Education, receiving the Young Professional Award. The award is presented to professionals in the disabilities field under the age of 40 years who have demonstrated dedication and commitment to people with developmental disabilities and their families through their work as a bridge between the academic sector and the community.

Carter was the recipient of the award because he shows truly exceptional dedication and commitment to individuals with significant disabilities in his research, his teaching, and his service. His work is having an extraordinary impact on preparing youth and young adults with severe disabilities for self-determined lives with meaningful work and strong community support. He focuses primarily on two areas: (1) promoting peer relationships and inclusive education for youth with severe disabilities; and (2) transition needs, services, and supports for youth with severe disabilities. In viewing supports, he looks not just at traditional service systems but also at natural community supports, which may be why he is among only a few researchers nationally to examine inclusive faith communities. His research is methodologically rigorous. It is responsive to local and national needs. It addresses questions of importance to students, families, educators, and employers. And it translates seamlessly into effective, practical strategies that can be readily implemented in schools and communities.


Conference Workshops and Presentations

Essential Clinical Genetics for LEND and UCEDD Programs (Pre-Conference Workshop)
Featured Presenters:

  • Tyler Reimschisel, M.D.*; Vanderbilt LEND, Nashville, TN
  • Robert W. Marion, MD; Rose F. Kennedy Center, Bronx, NY
  • Karen Edwards, MD, MPH; University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
  • John Moeschler, MD; New Hampshire LEND, Lebanon, NH
  • Joann Bodurtha, MD; McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Our knowledge of the genetic basis for disease has expanded exponentially in the last few decades, and in the future these discoveries will guide the evaluation and treatment of patients and their families. Therefore, competency in basic clinical genetics is essential for all healthcare professionals and should be integrated into LEND and UCEDD educational experiences. In this workshop a team-based learning format was used to provide the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will help participants integrate genetics into the care that they provide to individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities.


Core Functions and Core Questions: Addressing spirituality and spiritual supports in training, technical assistance, research, and dissemination
Featured Presenters:

  • Bill Gaventa, M.Div., Director, Community and Congregational Supports, The Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, UCEDD
  • Erik Carter, Ph.D.*, Nashville, TN, United States, TN - Vanderbilt University, UCEDD/LEND
  • Penny Seay, Ph.D., Executive Director, Austin, TX, United States, TX - Texas Center for Disability Studies, UCEDD
  • Marilyn Hammond, Ph.D., Salt Lake City, UT, United States, UT - Center for Persons with Disabilities, UCEDD/LEND
  • Eric Moody, Ph.D., Denver, CO, United States, CO - JFK Partners/University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, UCEDD/LEND
  • Jenny Hatfield-Callen, MA, Kansas City, MO, United States, MO - University of Missouri, UCEDD/LEND

Eleven UCEDDs have formed the Collaborative on Disability, Religion, and Inclusive Spiritual Supports to address inclusive spiritual supports in all of the core functions of a UCEDD/LEND program. Seminaries and other training programs for clergy and lay leaders also do training, technical assistance, research and dissemination. The panel outlined several of the UCEDD initiatives, new frontiers in spiritual supports, and the vision and organization of the new Collaborative.


Postsecondary Education (PSE) for Students with Intellectual Disabilities: Successes and Challenges
Featured Presenters:

  • Donna Yerby, M. Dd, Educational Specialist/Assistant Director
  • Stirling Peebles, Center on Disability and Community Inclusion, Burlington, VT, United States, VT - Center on Disability & Community Inclusion, UCEDD
  • Susan Ryan, PhD, Center on Disability and Community Inclusion, Burlington, VT, United States, VT - Center on Disability & Community Inclusion, UCEDD
  • Richard Kiefer-O'Donell, PhD, Anchorage, AK, United States, AK - Center for Human Development, UCEDD/LEND
  • Elise McMillan, JD*, Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN, United States, TN - Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development - IDDRC
  • Deborah Zuver, MA, Chapel Hill, NC, United States, NC - The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities - IDDRC

This panel presented an overview of recent developments in postsecondary education. The panel included representatives from North Carolina and Tennessee who have collaborated to advance PSE program development. Also included were the sharing of results of research and evaluation conducted in Alaska and Vermont related to the impact of PSE for students with I/DD. A general discussion followed on the current state of PSE in the US presented by the TPSID Coordinating Center.


Poster Presentations


Ambassadors of Change: Experiences of Peer Mentors Supporting Students with Intellectual Disabilities at College
Megan Griffin, Ph.D.
, Vanderbilt University, UCEDD/LEND

With the recent expansion of inclusive postsecondary education (PSE) programs, more students with intellectual disabilities (ID) are being included in college than ever before. Many PSE programs rely on the efforts of typically developing college students to support and include students with ID in academic, vocational, and social experiences. This poster described the experiences of peer mentors who support students with ID in the Next Steps program at Vanderbilt.


Strengths and Well-Being Among Individuals with Significant Disabilities: Helping Young People Flourish
Erik Carter, Ph.D.*
, Associate Professor, Special Education, Vanderbilt University, UCEDD/LEND

Courtney Taylor, M.Div.,* Vanderbilt UCEDD, Nashville, TN, United States, TN - Vanderbilt University, UCEDD/LEND

Thomas Boehm, M.Div.,* Vanderbilt UCEDD, Nashville, TN, United States, TN - Vanderbilt University, UCEDD/LEND

In this poster, findings from a mixed-methods study were presented exploring the strengths, supports, spirituality, and well-being of youth and young adults with intellectual disabilities or autism. Policies and practices supporting people with disabilities and their families to flourish in all aspects of their lives were highlighted.


Peer Support and Peer Network Interventions to Promote the Inclusion of Adolescents with Severe Disabilities
Erik Carter, Ph.D.*
, Associate Professor, Special Education, Vanderbilt University, UCEDD/LEND

Katherine Weir, MSW, Madison, WI, United States, WI - Waisman Center, UCEDD/LEND

Tiffany L. Born, Madison, WI, United States, WI - Waisman Center, UCEDD/LEND

Findings from a research project examining the impact of school-based interventions-peer supports, peer networks, and individually assigned adult support-on the social relationships, learning, and school involvement of high school students with intellectual disabilities or autism. This mixed-method, randomized study incorporates classroom observations, teacher- and parent-completed assessments, focus groups, and interviews.

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