June 21, 2012

VKC grant augments autism training for Tennessee educators

VKC grant augments autism training for Tennessee educators

A grant from the Tennessee Department of Education will allow the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) to continue a 13-year partnership to provide autism-specific training opportunities for school personnel throughout the state.

The three-year, $1.5 million grant marks the largest award received since 1999, when TRIAD first partnered with the Tennessee Department of Education to offer training for educators.

This increase in funding correlates with the ever-growing need for autism services, says Zachary Warren, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry and TRIAD director.

“Our partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education provides us the opportunity to translate cutting-edge educational science into sustainable educational practice throughout the state,” Warren said. “This type of partnership is, in my opinion, critical to improving educational, vocational and social outcomes for individuals with autism.”

The training opportunities are free and include individual and team-based workshops on topics such as communication, social skills and behavior.

“Everything we present is very current on what we know works for kids with autism, and we break it down in a way participants can easily understand and implement,” said Pablo Juárez, M.Ed., educational consultant with TRIAD.

Last school year, TRIAD reached 1,400 school personnel in 86 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. The current grant will enable TRIAD to conduct more than 25 workshops each year.

More information and registration is at kc.vanderbilt.edu/triad/events/.