New VKC Resources

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Vaccine confidence videos

The VKC UCEDD produced three brief videos to build COVID-19 vaccine confidence in the disability community. In one video, an adult with Down syndrome shares his initial hesitation and the steps he took to educate himself. In another video, a parent of a child with autism shares her family’s story of educating themselves on vaccine safety and addresses additional concerns present in the Hispanic community. The third video features this same mother and daughter and is entirely in Spanish.

The videos were produced as part of a funding award from the U.S. Administration for Community Living of the Department of Health and Human Services. They also build upon the work of the Tennessee Developmental Disabilities Network and community partnerships.

Visit to view all three Vaccine Confidence video series.

TRIAD/LEND trainees develop community toolkits

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The year saw several new free toolkits created for the community by VKC TRIAD and the Vanderbilt Consortium LEND (Leadership Excellence in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) Training Program. Each year, participants in the Vanderbilt Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship in Autism and Developmental Disabilities take experience gleaned from their time as LEND trainees to develop print resources and online courses for the disability community.

In 2022, TRIAD post-doc and LEND trainee Alexa Dixon, Ph.D., created a toolkit called “Promoting Self-Determination in Early Childhood Services.” Fellow TRIAD post-doc and LEND trainee Madeline Auge, Ph.D., created “Promoting Neurodiversity in Early Childhood Services.”

Earlier in the year, TRIAD and LEND faculty and trainees adapted a past LEND toolkit to create “Taking the Work Out of Blood Work and Needle Sticks: Helping Your Child with an Intellectual and Developmental Disability.” This toolkit provides strategies for parents of individuals with disabilities to cope with the stress and worry that may come with blood draws, needle sticks for vaccines, or both. There is also a version of the toolkit for healthcare providers and clinical research staff to assist them in making visits to the clinic less stressful for patients with disabilities.

Check out these LEND toolkits and more at

“The Promise of Discovery” Podcast, Season 3

“The Promise of Discovery” is a podcast hosted by the VKC that highlights research in intellectual and developmental disabilities through conversations about research in plain language and to highlight “real world” implications in the lives of people with disabilities and families.

The podcast is in its third season for the 2022-23 academic year. Recent episodes include VKC researchers Miriam Lense, Ph.D., discussing how her lab studies social connection for neurodiverse children and families through music class, and Autumn Kujawa, Ph.D., exploring the neurocognitive effects of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome.

In January 2023, Erik Carter discusses his work in employment, transition, and the intersection between faith and disability. Click here to listen to “Erik Carter: A career in friendships, flourishing, and faith.”

“The Promise of Discovery” and its past episodes are available for download on Apple, Soundcloud, Google Play, and Spotify.

Top image by Adobe Stock