TRIAD receives awards, grant for its community engagement work

TRIAD Community Engagement event at the Nashville zoo

TRIAD’s Community Engagement team continues to make an impact on our community, earning awards at Autism Tennessee’s recent Fall Conference and receiving a Community Engagement grant from Jackson Bank’s National Community Fund. TRIAD—Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorder—is the hub for autism assessment, treatment, training, and research within the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.

Sarah Blumberg

Autism Tennessee Awards to TRIAD

The TRIAD Community Engagement team received the 2014 Coston Education Organization Award at the Autism Tennessee 2014 Fall Conference. In addition, Sarah Blumberg, Ed.D., BCBA, TRIAD elementary/middle school program coordinator, was awarded the 2014 Coston Education Individual Award. This was the first time both an organization and an individual from that organization have received awards in the same year.

Blumberg was nominated by Misty Vetter. Blumberg is a board-certified behavior analyst. She visits schools across the state and provides autism-centered professional development training to administrators, teachers, and paraeducators. According to Dr. Vetter, “Sarah has impacted hundreds of kids and families across Middle Tennessee. Though she has no personal connection, Sarah has dedicated her career to autism. She will continue to touch the lives of those with autism and their families for years to come.”

TRIAD recipients of the Organization Award included:

    • Pablo Juarez, M.Ed., BCBA, TRIAD associate director; assistant in Pediatrics and Psychiatry;
    • Lauren Weaver, M.S., BSBA, TRIAD community engagement coordinator; behavioral/educational consultant; assistant in Pediatrics, School of Medicine;
    • Whitney Loring, Psy.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics, Division of Developmental Medicine; program coordinator, TRIAD Families First workshops;
    • Maria Lemler, TRIAD educational consultant;
    • Sarah Blumberg, Ed.D., BCBA-D, TRIAD elementary/middle school program coordinator, behavioral/educational consultant, assistant in Pediatrics, School of Medicine;
    • LaTamara Garrett, M.Ed., TRIAD early childhood program coordinator, educational consultant, assistant in Pediatrics, School of Medicine;
    • John Staubitz, M.Ed., BCBA, TRIAD behavior consultation coordinator and consultant; assistant in Pediatrics, School of Medicine;
    • Alacia Stainbrook, Ph.D., TRIAD early intervention program coordinator; behavioral/educational consultant; assistant in Pediatrics, School of Medicine; and
    • Mary Morton, M.Ed., BCBA, educational and behavioral consultant, TRIAD Families First workshops; assistant in Pediatrics, School of Medicine.

The Community Engagement team was nominated for the organization Coston Education Award by TRIAD director Zachary Warren, Ph.D. The overall goal of TRIAD’s Community Engagement Initiative is to create understanding and awareness of autism across the community by educating families and developing collaborative partnerships with local education and arts programs.

“Over the past year, this dynamic group has made an amazing effort to help ensure that individuals with autism and their families are integrated and celebrated within the community arts organizations that many of us consider the jewels of our Nashville community,” Warren said. “This sort of advocacy and leadership makes Nashville a better place for everyone, including individuals with autism.”

TRIAD collaborates with Nashville Children’s Theatre, thanks to Jackson National Community Fund Grant

The TRIAD Community Engagement team is teaming up with the Nashville Children’s Theatre to provide sensory-friendly performances for families of children with autism during several of NCT’s regular season shows. This Saturday, Dec. 6, TRIAD will be on hand for a special 2:00 p.m. performance of NCT’s “James and the Giant Peach.” Modifications and provisions for this special performance include visual supports, subdued lights and sounds, and a waving glow light in front of the auditorium to alert children ahead of time that there will be action onstage.

TRIAD’s collaboration with NCT is made possible by a grant given by Jackson Bank’s National Community Fund.

“The Jackson employees serving on the grant review committee saw the TRIAD program as an opportunity to support children with autism spectrum disorders by including them in all that our community offers,” said Jackson Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Corinne Bergeron. “This program is a great example of a unique partnership with many different nonprofits serving youth that will benefit the entire community.”

In addition to working with NCT, TRIAD Community Engagement coordinator Lauren Weaver recently met with staff at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center to collaborate on upcoming projects between the two organizations with the goal of providing sensory-friendly performing arts performances for families of children with autism. The two organizations will work together in mid-2015 thanks to grants received from Very Special Arts (VSA) Tennessee.

TRIAD’s community engagement includes monthly Families First workshops and community partner training. Last year, more than 900 people attended 11 different modified events hosted by community partners. Families were enriched by programs offered by Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, Country Music Hall of Fame, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville Children’s Theatre, Nashville Opera, Nashville Public Library, Nashville Zoo, Tennessee Performing Arts Center, and the YMCA of Middle Tennessee.

To find out more about upcoming TRIAD Community Engagement events, click here.

Pictured above: (top) TRIAD Community Engagement event at the Nashville zoo (bottom) TRIAD—head shot, Sarah Blumberg

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