VKC faculty, staff attend 2014 Gatlinburg Conference in Chicago

The theme of the 47th Annual Gatlinburg Conference, held Mar. 5-7, was "The Co-Occurrence of Mental Illness and Developmental Disability."

By: Elizabeth Turner

Familiar faces around One Magnolia Circle Building were missing on Vanderbilt's campus the week of Mar. 3 as many Vanderbilt Kennedy Center faculty members, staff, and trainees attended the 47th Annual Gatlinburg Conference on Research & Theory in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, held Mar. 5-7, 2014, at the Hotel Allegro in Chicago, Ill.

The theme of this year's conference was "The Co-Occurrence of Mental Illness and Developmental Disability." The theme attracted clinicians and researchers from all over the U.S. and the globe, with attendees flying in from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and India. The theme carried a broad interest across many fields, which made this year's conference the most widely attended in the history of the conference.

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center has been closely involved with the Gatlinburg Conference for the last four years. 2014 was the penultimate year in a five-year grant contract with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to coordinate and host the conference in different locations across the country. VKC Director Elisabeth Dykens, Ph.D., has served as the Gatlinburg Conference Executive Committee Chair in those years, and the conference has been coordinated and co-managed by Laura McLeod, Director of Special Projects, and Elizabeth Turner, Communications Program Coordinator.

Among some of the faculty members and trainees presenting at this year's conference:

  • Julie Lounds Taylor, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Special Education, served as chair and discussant for a symposium titled "Beyond the Behavior: The Impact of Challenging Behaviors on Parents, Siblings, and Teachers";
  • Elisabeth Dykens, Ph.D., served as discussant for the symposium "Deletion and Duplication of the Williams Syndrome Region: Relations with Anxiety Disorders, Externalizing Disorders, and Autism";
  • Paul Yoder, Ph.D., Professor of Special Education, chaired a symposium titled "Dose Frequency Effects on Early Communication and Vocabulary." One of Dr. Yoder's graduate students, Tiffany Woynaroski, presented the paper "Why Does Dose Frequency Affect Vocabulary in Preschoolers with Down Syndrome?" during that symposium. In addition, Woynaroski received a David Zeaman Graduate Travel Award based on the merit of the abstract she submitted;
  • Sarika Peters, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Developmental Medicine, was a co-author of the paper "Agressive and Self-Injurious Behaviors in the Behavioral Phenotypes of MeCP2-Related Syndromes" within the symposium "Agression and Self-Injurious Behavior in Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities."

In addition to the syposia, posters were presented by several Vanderbilt faculty and students:

  • Nathan Dankner presented the poster "Self- and Caregiver-Report of Anxiety in Williams Syndrome"
  • Maria Paula Mello presented the poster "Services for Children with ASD: Comparing Rural and Non-Rural Communities"
  • Samantha Goldman presented the poster "The Relationship Between Age, Severity, and Services for Children with ASD"
  • Julie Lounds Taylor, Ph.D., presented the poster "Engagement in Vocational Activities Promotes Behavioral Development for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders"
  • Katherine Gotham, Ph.D., presented the poster "Modeling Growth of Internalizing Symptoms from Childhood through Young Adulthood in Autism Spectrum and Developmentally Delated Samples"
  • Jessica Greenlee presented the poster "Medical and Behavioral Correlates Associated with a History of Depression in Children and Adolescents with ASD."

The 2015 Gatlinburg Conference will be held Apr. 1-3, 2015, at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, La. The theme of next year's conference is "Big Data As It Relates to Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities." After the 2015 conference, the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center will be handing over the conference to Len Abbeduto, Ph.D., and the University of California-Davis MIND Institute to coordinate for the next five years.

For more information on the Gatlinburg Conference, including PDFs of the 2014 program book and abstracts, please visit http://kc.vanderbilt.edu/gatlinburg/.

Last Updated: 3/18/2014 4:28:22 PM

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