2018 AAIDD Awards will honor three VKC faculty and student researchers

By: Jan Rosemergy

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) announced its 2018 award recipients, which this year honors three individuals affiliated with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC).

Ann Kaiser, Ph.D., Susan Gray Chair in Education and Human Development, professor of Special Education and Psychology, and a VKC investigator, will receive the 2018 AAIDD Research Award, which recognizes formulations and investigations that have contributed significantly to the body of scientific knowledge in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Kaiser is one of the premier scholars in child language intervention internationally. Her impact on the lives of young children with special needs and their families is exceptional. She has led the field in developing approaches that have since become widely accepted practices for serving children with and at-risk for developmental disabilities.

Kaiser was responsible for bringing an ecobehavioral analysis perspective to the study of child development. She reconceptualized the strategies that today make up Milieu Language Therapy, now one of the most widely used practices among language interventionists.

Amy Weitlauf, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics and a VKC investigator, will receive the 2018 AAIDD Early Career Award, which recognizes the contributions to the field made by individuals in the early stages of their career.

Weitlauf is a clinical psychologist and researcher whose work focuses on the early identification and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Her research program includes investigations into diagnostic categorizations, screening methodologies, and family stress and coping related to the diagnosis of young children with ASD. Additionally, she is a highly sought-after research collaborator, working with multiple investigators across Vanderbilt and contributing to projects related to neuroimaging, behavioral intervention, major life transitions, evidence reviews related to screening and intervention, and the application or robotic technology to better understand topics such as visual attention and emotion identification.

Jennifer Bumble, M.Ed., will receive the 2018 AAIDD Student Award, which recognizes student contributions in service, leadership, or scholarship to the field.

Bumble has been working to improve the lives of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 2009, initially as a special education teacher in San Antonio, Texas; then as an ESL and Special Populations program developer in South Korea; next as an Easter Seals employment coach in St. Louis, Missouri; then undertaking graduate study in Special Education/Severe Disabilities at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, where she is now a third-year doctoral student.

As a graduate student and a trainee in the VKC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VKC UCEDD), Bumble has proven herself to be a leader. Her research and service involve incorporating service learning into middle and high school transition programming; community engagement strategies to improve post-school outcomes for youth with low-incidence disabilities; and employment outcomes for youth with low-incidence disabilities.

The awards ceremony will be held during the AAIDD’s 142nd Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 25-28, 2018.

Founded in 1876, AAIDD is the oldest professional association concerned with intellectual and developmental disabilities. AAIDD advocates for the equality, dignity, and human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and for their full inclusion and participation in society.

Last Updated: 1/4/2018 8:52:06 AM

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