VKC UCEDD Research & Evaluation

UCEDD faculty and staff conduct research that aims to improve disability services and policies, and to identify causes of disabilities and novel ways to intervene and provide support for persons with disabilities and their families. We partner with our Community Advisory Council, State and community agencies, and families to identify pressing but under-studied topics. We also use existing large database to identify research and policy issues. We strive to integrate service, training, research, and dissemination across all UCEDD projects.

Individuals or families interested in taking part in research can view StudyFinder to find studies matching their interests

To register for research participation and be notified when a study matches your interests, view ResearchMatch.

Research activities include:

  • Disabilities, Religion and Spirituality Program
    Includes research on practices that promote inclusion of individuals with disabilities in faith communities;
  • Gatlinburg Conference on Research and Theory in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
    Students may attend and may submit research posters for the annual premier conference;
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome Research
    A national study of individuals with PWS, 4 years and up, to understand the “whole person” with PWS, strengths and challenges, with the aim of developing behavioral and dietary interventions that lead to positive outcomes;
  • Research Ethics Grand Rounds Lecture Series
    Addresses issues that arise in research involving individuals with disabilities and families;
  • SENSE Theatre
    A theatrical intervention research program to improve social and emotional functioning of children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders;
  • Tennessee Administrative Database Project
    Uses statewide, administrative databases to examine questions of health and family dynamics in Down syndrome compared to families of children without disabilities or children with other birth conditions;
  • TennesseeWorks
    A federally funded Projects of National Significance charged with spurring systems change and building greater capacity and commitment for supporting competitive employment;
  • Tennessee National Core Indicators (NCI)
    National Core Indicators (NCI) began in 1997 as a collaborative effort between the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) and the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI). The goal of the program was to encourage and support NASDDDS member agencies to develop a standard set of performance measures that could be used by states to manage quality, benchmark progress from one year to the next and make comparisons across states;
  • TRIAD Autism Research
    Programs and partnerships that examine the causes and treatment of autism spectrum disorders;
  • Vanderbilt Autism Treatment Network
    Hosted by the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, one of network of ATN sites supported by Autism Speaks to improve medical care for children and adolescents with autism;
  • Williams Syndrome Research
    A national study of individuals with Williams syndrome to understand the “whole person,” strengths and challenges, with the aim of developing interventions that lead to positive outcomes. Research is conducted with participants in the ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp;
  • Volunteer Advocacy Project (VAP)
    The Volunteer Advocacy Project (VAP) trains interested individuals to become special education advocates so they can provide instrumental and affective support to families of children with disabilities in Tennessee.

UCEDD Director

Core Directors

The VKC UCEDD is funded by the Office on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Grant #90DD0825-02-02.