Tennessee Kindred Stories of Disability

A project of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) Public Policy Team, each year the VKC and The Arc Tennessee collaborate to produce a collection of stories that highlight the challenges individuals with disabilities and their families face as they navigate service systems and supports. Booklets are shared with Tennessee legislators during Disability Day(s) on the Hill and the Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C., to educate them with first-hand accounts from constituents in their districts.

Stories are collected by students from Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities, who interview the families as part of a course assignment. The students enrolled in the Belmont University courses are paired with a Community Partner agency not only to collect stories, but also to volunteer a set number of service hours as a component of their course requirements.

Stories also are housed on the Tennessee Kindred Stories of Disability Website.

For more information, send an email to Courtney Taylor.

  • 2017 Kindred Stories of Disability: Access to Health Care

    This collection of stories relays the experiences of Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they seek access to quality health and mental health care. Studies have shown that individuals with disabilities face a variety of health disparities, and it is clear from these stories that they often do not have access to the same quality, patient-centered health and mental health care opportunities as the general population.

  • COMING SOON - 2016 Kindred Stories of Disability: Connections to Communities

    This collection of stories focuses on how individuals with disabilities and families find support in their communities and how they address the barriers to full community inclusion and meaningful engagement that many of them still face on a daily basis. The compilation was produced in collaboration with the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Supporting Families Program.

  • 2016 Kindred Stories of Disability: How Cuts to Federal Programs Would Affect Tennessee Families

    This collection of stories from individuals with disabilities and their families focuses on the topic of potential cuts to “lifeline programs,” such as Medicaid, SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The families share candidly about what these programs provide (e.g. health care, Medicaid waiver services, income to help with housing, food, clothing, other medical expenses not covered by insurance, etc.) and what might happen if these programs/financial supports were not available.

  • 2015 Kindred Stories of Disability: Communication and Down Syndrome

    The stories in this collection, published in 2015, focus on the communication experiences of individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Additionally, the results from two research studies at Vanderbilt University are shared as are key recommendations for supporting the development of language in young children, as well as speech in school-aged children and adolescents, with Down syndrome.

  • 2015 Kindred Stories of Disability: Special Edition Aging

    This particular edition focuses on the topic of aging. The stories illustrate both the challenges and joys that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities face as they age, and also highlight the uncertainty, fears, and challenges of their aging caregivers. From health concerns to worrying about what will happen to their sons and daughters when they are no longer able to care for them, these stories from aging caregivers demonstrate the limits as well as the lack of supports and services in Tennessee for individuals with developmental disabilities and the impact this can have on family life.

  • 2014 Kindred Stories of Disability: Sharing Personal Experiences to Impact Public Policy

    A Project Replication Manual. This manual outlines the Kindred Stories of Disability project's process as it has been developed and is currently being coordinated at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. Implementation of this program may vary for different organizations and classrooms, and all or part of the manual may be used in classroom application.

  • 2014 Kindred Stories of Disability: Special Edition Employment

    The stories in this collection, published in 2014, were compiled by students enrolled in a Vanderbilt University course on Families. This course provides an introduction to the field of family studies, with special attention paid to families that include children and adults with disabilities. This special edition is a collection of stories from Tennessee families on employment.

  • 2013 Kindred Stories of Disability: Waiting List Edition

    The stories in this collection, published in 2013, were compiled by students enrolled in a Vanderbilt University course on Families. This course provides an introduction to the field of family studies, with special attention paid to families that include children and adults with disabilities. This special edition is a collection of stories from Tennessee families on the waiting list for home and community-based waiver services.

  • 2013 Kindred Stories of Disability: Families With Diverse Cultural Backgrounds

    The stories in this collection, published in 2013, were compiled by students enrolled in a Vanderbilt University course on Families. This course provides an introduction to the field of family studies, with special attention paid to families that include children and adults with disabilities. This special edition is a collection of stories from families with diverse cultural backgrounds.

  • 2012 Kindred Stories of Disability

    The stories in this collection, published in 2012, were compiled by students enrolled in a Vanderbilt University course on families. This course provides an introduction to the field of family studies, with special attention paid to families that include children and adults with disabilities.

  • 2011 Family Stories: How Disability Affects Tennessee Families

    The stories in this collection, published in 2011, were compiled by students enrolled in a Vanderbilt University course on Families. This course provides an introduction to the field of family studies, with special attention paid to families that include children and adults with disabilities.

  • 2008 Family Stories: Systems Change

    The stories in this collection, published in 2008, were compiled by students enrolled in a Vanderbilt University course on Families. This course provides an introduction to the field of family studies, with special attention paid to families that include children and adults with disabilities.