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VU receives grant renewal from Autism Speaks

Aug. 28, 2014, 10:08 AM

Autism Speaks is renewing Vanderbilt University as an Autism Treatment Network (ATN) site with a three-year, $420,000 grant. This elite designation allows Vanderbilt to continue improving medical care for children and adolescents with autism by offering comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, care and counseling.

One of 14 centers in the United States and Canada in the Autism Speaks ATN, Vanderbilt was first selected as a site in 2008 and received subsequent funding in 2011.

Being renewed as an ATN site speaks to Vanderbilt’s commitment to autism treatment and research,” said Principal Investigator Beth Malow, M.D., Burry Professor of Cognitive Childhood Development and professor of Neurology and Pediatrics.

“The Autism Speaks ATN is involved in multiple areas related to caring for children with autism and their families. Our goals at Vanderbilt include conducting research on the treatment of medical conditions in children with autism, partnering with community practitioners on medical and behavioral treatments as well as early diagnosis of the condition and quality improvement efforts aimed at increasing comfort for children undergoing medical procedures.”

As an Autism Speaks ATN, Vanderbilt facilitates access to coordinated care with a team of autism specialists across disciplines including but not limited to psychology, pediatrics, psychiatry, neurology and gastroenterology.

On a network level, registry data from children and families participating in the ATN will improve the standard of care and treatment for children with autism throughout North America, Malow said.

“Renewal of the Vanderbilt ATN is evidence of Vanderbilt’s national excellence in autism research and interventions,” said Elisabeth Dykens, Ph.D., Annette Schaffer Eskind Professor and director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. “The Vanderbilt ATN, the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and TRIAD together partner to provide supports for children and families and advance knowledge.”

In addition to Malow, co-PIs at Vanderbilt are Kevin Sanders, M.D., assistant professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics and medical director of the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Vanderbilt, and Zachary Warren, Ph.D., associate professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Special Education and director of the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

For more information about the Vanderbilt program, call (877) ASD-VUMC or email

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