Frist Center for Autism and Innovation

David's blog posts

TPI gives 2018 update on jobs for Nashville folks on the spectrum

Our partners at The Precisionists (TPI) established a presence in Nashville in 2017 by opening a local branch, an Innovation and Technology Center, in the Metro Center section of Nashville. They specialize in contracting out autistic employees to local companies looking to hire neurodiverse talent. In 2018 (particularly the second half of the year), TPI formalized contracts with…

Posted by on March 8, 2019 in News


Spring retreat for our center successfully concluded

On Monday (March 4, 2019), representatives of leadership throughout the Vanderbilt community gathered for a spring retreat to discuss the future of our center. We reviewed how we got to today, what we learned from our successes and struggles, and explored such questions as: What does success mean for the center in the first two…

Posted by on March 5, 2019 in News


Frist Center for Autism and Innovation featured in Vanderbilt Magazine

Vanderbilt Magazine published an article, The Innovation of Autism: The newly endowed Frist Center for Autism and Innovation seeks to unlock unique talents. This article explores how our center came into being and highlights a number of staff, with a lovely side article about one of our Vanderbilt University undergrads who’s also on the spectrum,…

Posted by on February 22, 2019 in News


Construction underway for our center

Construction has begun on the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation, located on the main floor of the Wond’ry, where the Au Bon Pain used to be. Construction should be complete by late spring.

Posted by on January 24, 2019 in News


Photos from Nov. 29 Conference now available

Anyone interested in seeing some photos from our conference featuring Temple Grandin are welcome to see them here.

Posted by on January 4, 2019 in News


VKC Notables shares article on November Conference

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center did an article on our “Envisioning the Future of Human-Technology Partnerships” conference on November 29. You can read the full article here.

Posted by on January 4, 2019 in News


Vanderbilt Hustler features article on FCAI

The Vanderbilt Hustler posted an article Dec. 6, 2018 featuring the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation. You can read the online article here.

Posted by on December 6, 2018 in News


Frist Center for Autism and Innovation announced

We are excited to announce that Jennifer and Billy Frist have endowed our work with a $10 million gift, officially announced today in Vanderbilt News. AIW will be renamed the “Frist Center for Autism and Innovation,” and our headquarters will be located in the Wond’ry at a future date. Stay tuned for more news as…

Posted by on November 8, 2018 in Uncategorized


Temple Grandin keynote at our upcoming Conference Nov. 29

Dr. Temple Grandin, a celebrated autism self-advocate, will be our keynote speaker at our event on Nov. 29, Envisioning the Future of Human-Technology Partnerships Conference 2018. This conference will showcase technologies and innovations aligned with assisting autistic individuals in the workplace. If you’ve not yet registered to attend, we encourage people to follow the link…

Posted by on October 29, 2018 in News


AIW host autism film screening at Franklin Theater Oct. 8, 2018

We’re hosting a private screening of “Extraordinary People,” a half-hour documentary on autism, community, and meaningful work, after which we’ll have a panel discussion on the challenges and solutions highlighted in the documentary. The screening will take place at Franklin Theater Oct. 8, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. Though this is a “private” event, registration to attend…

Posted by on October 5, 2018 in News


Videos now included on our website

From time to time, we obtain videos related to our efforts. If you mouse over our “Home” button on the menu, a drop-down list will display these videos. Moving forward, as more videos are collected, we’ll add them to our site.

Posted by on October 1, 2018 in News


Autistic individuals and families sought for non-invasive study

Led by Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Zachary Warren, Ph.D., the SPARK for Autism study is looking for individuals of all ages with a professional diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to become part of the largest autism study ever undertaken in the United States. Biological parents and full biological siblings (with and without ASD) are invited…

Posted by on September 19, 2018 in research and development


New student-led organization at Vanderbilt for neurodiversity

A new student-led organization was created on campus, called the Vanderbilt Autism & Neurodiversity Alliance, or VANA. This group welcomes undergraduates, graduate students, staff, faculty, and others of the Vanderbilt community who may be on the spectrum or be a part of neurodiversity. The group will meet once a month at the Wond’ry, to support…

Posted by on September 19, 2018 in News


Our Partners the Precisionists win award

The Precisionists, Inc., a company that specializes in finding meaningful employment for people with disabilities (including autism), has won the Autism Society of America 2018 Adam Heavner National Award. Congratulations! Bethesda, MD (July 11, 2018) – The Autism Society of America (ASA) has bestowed its top business award to The Precisionists, Inc. (TPI), a Wilmington, Delaware-based…

Posted by on July 25, 2018 in News


First WRaP camp finishes at Currey Ingram Academy

Our first four-week, pre-employment camp for teens on the spectrum, called the Workforce Readiness and Preparation camp, or simply WRaP, finished at the end of June. This WRaP was held at Currey Ingram Academy, with two of their teachers, Scott Field and Trevor McKey, serving as coaches, under the direction of Jane Hannah and Joy…

Posted by on July 3, 2018 in News


Spectrum Pathways joins AIW team

Dr. Beth Malow and Dr. T A McDonald, the director and co-investigator, respectively, of Spectrum Pathways officially joined us as team members this month. For a brief bio and contact information, they’re now visible on our Team page. To read more about their work, view our page on Spectrum Pathways.

Posted by on June 27, 2018 in News


New editorial on strategies to bring autism into the workplace

Our team members July Taylor and Timothy Vogus published an editorial (May 28, 2018) in SAGE journals that explores the challenges people in the spectrum face at work, and what some businesses are doing to address it. You can read the article with the link below. Flipping the script: Bringing an organizational perspective to the…

Posted by on June 1, 2018 in News


AIW team member publishes autism editorial

One of our team members, Julie Taylor, published an editorial in SAGE journals for the National Autistic Society on increased research devoted to understanding outcomes for adults with autism. You can read the full article and download a PDF version at this site.

Posted by on May 4, 2018 in News


Currey Ingram Academy completes WRaP training

Teachers from Currey Ingram Academy and executive director of AIW Dave Caudel, along with others, completed training last week for the upcoming Workforce Readiness and Preparation (WRaP) summer pre-employment workcamp.

Posted by on April 6, 2018 in News


Autism Awareness Day at Vanderbilt

Today, April 2nd, is Autism Awareness Day at Vanderbilt. The Vanderbilt Hustler published an article written by Clair Barnett, an undergraduate diagnosed with autism, which you can read here. This article challenges us to view neuro-diversity as a difference rather than as merely a disability.

Posted by on April 2, 2018 in News


New Partner: PAIRIN

AIW has recently partnered with PAIRIN, a social enterprise company that has some online assessment tools we feel may be useful for our endeavors. You can read more about them on our Partners page or visit their website.

Posted by on March 19, 2018 in News


AIW Undergrad Volunteer Weighs in on Autism Work

One of our undergraduate volunteers, Alexa Levitt, wrote a blog piece on VU Breakthru Blog about her experience learning about our work and joining us, volunteering her time and energy with us. You can read the full article on this link.

Posted by on March 8, 2018 in News


June 14 set for 2018 NSF Convergence Workshop

AIW is hosting the 2018 NSF Convergence Workshop on June 14 at the Vanderbilt Wond’ry. This invite-only event will bring together entrepreneurs, business leaders, academia, engineers, and disability specialists to examine current practices and technologies and brainstorm about what works, what’s lacking, and what’s needed for the future. This workshop will also lay the groundwork…

Posted by on January 26, 2018 in News


Pre-employment workshop for students with ASD: collaboration with Currey Ingram and Specialisterne

Partnering with Currey Ingram Academy and drawing on the expertise of Specialisterne, we’re developing a high-school pre-employment workshop for teenagers on the spectrum. Tentatively called Workforce Readiness and Preparation (WRAP) workshop for students with autism, this four-week course follows a similar development methodology the Specialisterne have used for assessing, training and integrating their autistic employees…

Posted by on December 22, 2017 in News


ASD survey to improve employment outcomes

The Autism Science Foundation is currently seeking participants to take part in a survey on autism spectral disorder and employment. The information gained may be used to draft a policy brief for the International Society for Autism Research. Adults on the spectrum, their family members, researchers and professionals who work with autistic individuals in a…

Posted by on December 18, 2017 in research and development


The Precisionists featured in Lehigh Business

Our partners, the Precisionists, were featured in a news article by Lehigh University. You can read the full article here.

Posted by on November 22, 2017 in News


AIW featured in Vanderbilt Hustler

The Vanderbilt Initiative for Autism, Innovation and the Workforce (AIW) has been featured on the Vanderbilt Hustler. To read the full article, visit this link.

Posted by on November 8, 2017 in News


Center featured in Vanderbilt News

Research News @ Vanderbilt released an article highlighting our center, written by David Salisbury, released today. Click this link to read the article.

Posted by on October 12, 2017 in News


VCAI November workshop announced

On November 17 at the Commons, the Vanderbilt Center for Autism and Innovation will host our first workshop, bringing together researchers from Vanderbilt to discuss their work in autism. To learn more, please visit our page, Vanderbilt Surprising Connections in Autism and Innovation.

Posted by on September 30, 2017 in research and development


Lecture about VCAI now available online

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center hosted a clinical and translational research lecture called “Introducing the Vanderbilt Center for Autism & Innovation.” The lecture can be view online through this link.

Posted by on September 14, 2017 in News


New Partner: Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Officials at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center have joined our growing list of partners. Although one of our team groups, TRIAD, is a part of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, there are many programs and groups beyond TRIAD that work in the field of ASD, including research and community aid. To read more about our latest partners, view…

Posted by on September 6, 2017 in News


TennesseeWorks features our center on their website

TennesseeWorks, one of our partners who specialize in elevating employment outcomes for people with disabilities, featured us on their website through a blog post, adding some Q&A at the end. To see this article, click this link.

Posted by on August 29, 2017 in News


VUBreakThru blog highlights VCAI launch

The VUBreakThru blog featured an article and our introductory video on their website highlighting our successful launch at the Wond’ry. To see the post, click this link.

Posted by on August 28, 2017 in News


VCAI Showcase opens at the Wond’ry

Participants interacted with a number of demos that highlighted Vanderbilt Autism research (John Russell/Vanderbilt University). The Vanderbilt Center for Autism and Innovation opened its showcase at the Wond’ry on August 22, 2017. Several demos were open, highlighting some of the research taking place at Vanderbilt University from center team members. A showcase will continue to…

Posted by on August 23, 2017 in News


Spectrum Pathways enters partnership with our center

We’re proud and excited to welcome our latest partner, Spectrum Pathways. They focus on empowering young adults with autism through interactions with Vanderbilt students. Welcome!

Posted by on August 12, 2017 in News


VU BreakThru Blog features VCAI

The VU BreakThru Blog, which features news about grants and research at Vanderbilt University to faculty and staff at the university, featured a post today about the Vanderbilt Center for Autism and Innovation. The post can be viewed here: Introducing the Center for Autism and Innovation.

Posted by on August 1, 2017 in News


Currey Ingram Academy joins our partnership

Jane Hannah, assistant head of school for Academics and Programs at Currey Ingram Academy, spoke with members of our center today and pledged to become a partner. “We’re excited about (your new center) and we look forward to working with you,” she said. Currey Ingram Academy is a K-12 school that caters to individuals such…

Posted by on July 6, 2017 in News