VKC TRIAD celebrates Autism Awareness Month in April

By: Elizabeth Turner

April is Autism Awareness Month, and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment & Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (VKC TRIAD) is preparing a series of events to increase autism awareness, and importantly to also promote acceptance and inclusion in the community.

“While we work year round with our community partners, Autism Awareness Month in April is important as it gives us the platform to magnify the voices and highlight the abilities and needs of people with autism and their families,” said Lauren Weaver, M.S., BCBA, TRIAD Organizational Outreach Coordinator and Behavioral/Educational Consultant.

Details of these events and links to available supports are posted on the VKC Events Calendar or TRIAD’s Community Engagement Initiative Events Calendar.

Saturday, Apr. 2, is World Autism Awareness Day, and to celebrate, TRIAD is teaming up with Tennessee Brew Works for a fundraiser called “Paint the Taproom Blue.” There will be live bluegrass music from 4-6 p.m., and $1 for every beer sold that day will go toward the TRIAD Families First program. And if you cannot make it to the Apr. 2 event, Tennessee Brew Works will also be donating $1 for every beer sold on Sundays in April to the Families First program. Tennessee Brew Works is located at 809 Ewing Ave., Nashville.

If you are looking for an opportunity to take the whole family to the theatre, mark Saturday, Apr. 23, on your calendars. Tennessee Performing Arts Company will be showing a 10 a.m. modified performance of “Egg,” a clever, engaging story told exclusively through physicality, illusion, and music. The production draws children close to the life of the little bird characters in their nest and offers a story of friendship, wonder, and tender loving care. This performance is free and open to the public, but prior registration is requested. The registration link will appear on the TPAC website and the TRIAD calendar closer to the event. For more information, contact the TPAC Box Office at (615) 782-4040.

The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere will hold an Autism Awareness Day on Sunday, Apr. 24. There will be family oriented activities throughout the zoo, including animal experiences and games to celebrate autism. Supports will be made available on TRIAD’s Resources Directory. The zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike, Nashville. For more information, call (615) 833-1534 or visit https://www.nashvillezoo.org/.

Finally, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts will hold an Autism Affinity Day on Tuesday, Apr. 26, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Parents can complete a brief survey to receive a voucher for free adult admission to the museum. Children 18 and under are always free. Visit the Frist website at http://www.fristcenter.org/ for more details.

Beyond April, TRIAD’s Director, A. Pablo Juárez, M.Ed., BCBA, is excited about the involvement of all their community partners throughout the year.

“Nashville is remarkable for many reasons. Among them is the fact that some of the most prominent arts, education, athletic, and community organizations across the city have been able to quickly develop accessibility, acceptance, and inclusivity initiatives focused on better supporting individuals with autism and other disabilities and their families,” Juárez said. “In this way our hometown is taking the initiative in learning how to be a stronger and more reliable community for everyone.”

For more information about TRIAD’s Community Engagement Initiative, contact Lauren Weaver at lauren.weaver@vanderbilt.edu.

Last Updated: 3/23/2016 1:52:38 PM

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