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Sign-ups open for summer 2020 Workforce Readiness and Prep (WRaP) camp

Mar. 10, 2020—For the third year, Currey Ingram Academy is hosting a three-week program for students ages 15 – 20 who are on the autism spectrum. It is a collaboration between Currey Ingram Academy and the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation. The Workforce Readiness and Preparation (WRaP) program uses a strengths-based approach to help young autistic people prepare for success in the...

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New partnership with Tennessee Voc Rehab

Feb. 28, 2020—The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation is excited to announce its new partnership with Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation. The Division of Rehabilitation Services is responsible for the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services program, which includes determination of eligibility, determination of the nature and scope of VR services and the provision of employment-focused rehabilitation services for individuals...

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InclusAbility’s “Autism 101” event coming up on Feb. 25

Feb. 21, 2020—If you’d like to learn more about the autism spectrum, mark your calendar for February 25th. On Tuesday the 25th at 1 p.m., Vanderbilt’s InclusAbility campaign is hosting an event called “Autism 101.” The first part of the presentation, given by Autism Tennessee, will cover the diagnosis and most common characteristics of autism. There will...

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Frist Center promotes sensory spaces in Vanderbilt Hustler article

Feb. 3, 2020—Sensory spaces are a common resource at autism conferences and events, providing a calming spot for attendees to escape stress or overwhelming stimuli. But these spaces can be beneficial to a much wider audience, including those with anxiety, ADHD and other neurodiversity or disabilities. The Frist Center for Autism & Innovation is hoping to start a campus...

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Frist Center announces 2020 member awards

Jan. 27, 2020—  – This past October, the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation put out its first-ever call for large projects, mini-grants, scholarly literature reviews, and symposia proposals consistent with the Center’s mission of engineering technologies and transforming the workplace – inspired by neurodiversity. These awards are supported through a combination of Frist Center endowment funds,...

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Seeking 2020 Summer Autism Internship participants

Jan. 27, 2020—The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation is excited to announce the second annual Summer Autism Internship. The participating interns will work on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) research and projects throughout summer 2020. The Frist Center is seeking participants who have an interest in STEM and would like to explore these topics further. To apply, an...

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Dr. Caudel chats with fellow self-advocate on ‘Life in a Neurotypical Universe’ podcast

Jan. 15, 2020—Frist Center Associate Director Dr. Dave Caudel is the most recent guest on autism self-advocate Tim Goldstein’s podcast, “Life in a Neurotypical Universe.” Both Goldstein and Caudel were diagnosed with autism as adults, and they discuss their lives pre- and post-diagnosis. Caudel also shares about the mission and progress of the Frist Center. Caudel’s appearance...

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TEDx Talk highlights Frist Center work

Jan. 7, 2020—This past November, Frist Center for Autism and Innovation communications coordinator Claire Barnett spoke at TEDxVanderbilt about autistic employment. Her talk, titled “Why autistic unemployment is so high – and what we can do about it,” explores several reasons that autistic adults struggle to obtain meaningful work. Barnett also discusses the steps that both businesses...

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Support autistic adults through Electronics Recycling Solutions

Dec. 4, 2019—The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation aims to support and empower adults with autism in the workforce through research and community partnerships. Electronics Recycling Solutions (ERS) is one of those local organizations putting the Frist Center’s principles into practice. Their business model “is designed to provide sustainable, long term employment for adults with autism...

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Frist Center announces new partnership with Floreo

Nov. 19, 2019—The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation has begun a new partnership with the virtual reality start up Floreo. Floreo develops virtual reality trainings for autistic people to learn and practice life skills. The primary user inserts a phone into the VR headset to view one of the sessions. Meanwhile, another user can connect a tablet to observe...

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Frist Center featured on Leadership Lab podcast

Nov. 5, 2019—Dr. Patrick Leddin started the podcast “Leadership Lab” to inform and inspire leaders in all walks of life. He has hosted illustrious guests from the realms of business, academia, activism and more. This past week, Leddin’s guest was Frist Center associate director Dr. Dave Caudel. In the podcast, Caudel employs his own experiences as a self-advocate to provide the...

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Attention: Frist Center members, call for pre-proposals

Oct. 23, 2019—Call for Pre-proposals: Projects, mini-grants, literature reviews, and symposia Due: Nov 15, 2019 The Frist Center for Autism & Innovation announces its first call for proposals for members to request support for mini-grants, large research projects, literature reviews, and symposia. We are utilizing a two-step process: In this first step, members may first submit brief pre-proposals...

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Frist Center deputy director leads $1 million NSF project

Oct. 21, 2019—Autistic people are alarmingly under-represented in the American workforce; around 80 percent of autistic adults are un- or under-employed. So, when the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a program that would forge partnerships between public researchers and private companies, the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation saw an opportunity. A team of Frist Center leaders submitted their proposal...

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Forbes article provides guidance on hiring neurodiverse talent

Sep. 23, 2019—At the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation, we strongly believe that autistic people (and those with other types of neurodiversity) have valuable insights and skills to add to the workforce. An increasing number of companies around the globe have also begun to recognize the value of neurodiverse talent, and now they’re asking: what does it...

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Register now for fast-approaching College Inclusion Summit

Sep. 11, 2019—      The College Autism Network‘s annual College Inclusion Summit is just six weeks away, on Oct. 23, 24 and 25, 2019. This year’s Summit is being held right here at Vanderbilt University, and is co-hosted by the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation. You can register here. The Inclusion Summit convenes scholars, practitioners, college administrators, and...

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Frist Center featured at Precisionists CEO Luncheon

Sep. 5, 2019—The Precisionists, Inc. (TPI) have a unique goal: to create 10,000 jobs for people with disabilities by the year 2025. The company is a national leader in the disability employment space, and a partner of the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation. In Nashville, TPI has worked closely with the Frist Center to help autistic job-seekers find...

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Attention: Autistic college students

Aug. 27, 2019—If you’re on the autism spectrum, being a college student is both uniquely rewarding and challenging. With that in mind, we’d like to share a few tips and resources. Whether you’re a Vanderbilt student or not, it’s important to remember that there are school resources at your disposal. Your college should have a disability services office,...

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Frist Center releases application to become affiliate, fellow

Aug. 19, 2019—The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation has just announced its new membership program, which will allow Vanderbilt faculty and staff to apply to become affiliates or fellows of the Center. An affiliate can be any VU/VUMC faculty or staff member who has a relevant interest in the activities of the Frist Center, including—but not limited...

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Summer Autism Internship comes to a close

Aug. 6, 2019—This summer, the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation held its first-ever Summer Autism Internship. Interns included a cohort of participants and their mentors – almost all of whom were on the autism spectrum. Their goal was to learn STEM skills and conduct research in support of the NASA Neurodiversity partnership between labs at Fisk University and...

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Frist Center hosts official Grand Opening

Jul. 29, 2019—The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation is officially engineering technologies and transforming the workplace, inspired by neurodiversity. On Thurs., Jul. 25, the Frist Center held its Grand Opening. The private event was held in the Innovation Pavilion, on the first floor of the Engineering and Science Building. Frist Center staff and summer research interns...

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College Inclusion Summit reveals program highlights

Jul. 12, 2019—The College Autism Network (CAN) has announced several of the highlights of its upcoming Inclusion Summit in Nashville, TN. The Summit brings together scholars, practitioners, administrators, and self-advocates to discuss evidence-driven strategies to support college students with autism and other learning differences. On the first day of the Summit, Oct. 23, at 4:30 p.m., there will be a...

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Our video entry selected for finals in NSF 2026 Idea Machine competition

Jun. 4, 2019—The National Science Foundation (NSF) received more than 800 idea submissions for the NSF 2026 Idea Machine competition. Entries were judged and 33 are still in the running for the grand prize, including our entry, NSF announces: we need YOU to help NSF determine which entries will advance to the next stage by watching entrants’ video pitches...

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Neurotypical Women with Spouses on the Spectrum Announce Support Group

May. 7, 2019—A support group for Neurotypical Women with life partners who have Asperger’s Syndrome, now a part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder, have announced regular meetings in the Nashville area. As many people on the spectrum struggle with social norms, neurotypical spouses of those individuals may struggle with an apparent lack of needed nonverbal support from such...

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A few answered questions about our center

Apr. 26, 2019—Recently, an individual reached out to us with some questions. While answering these, we wondered if others out there may have similar questions about us, so we’re posting them here for everyone to see: How much is the tuition of the program? We’re trying to help people find innovations, programs, and supports that will help them...

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College Inclusion Summit puts out “Call for Programs”

Apr. 12, 2019—Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN  October 23-25 Call for Programs The College Autism Network is all about its members, so we rely on you for Summit presentations that share your ideas, practices, and challenges with one another during our breakout sessions. These sessions are roughly one hour in length. We are particularly interested in programs on the...

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2019 College Inclusion Summit to be held at Vanderbilt University

Mar. 28, 2019—We’re proud to announce our collaboration with the College Autism Network (CAN) to host the 3rd annual College Inclusion Summit, Oct. 23-25, here in Nashville Tennessee. This summit brings together scholars, practitioners, administrators, and self-advocates to discuss evidence-driven strategies to support college students with autism and other learning differences. Visit their website to learn more,...

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

Mar. 8, 2019—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...

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Spring retreat for our center successfully concluded

Mar. 5, 2019—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...

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Frist Center for Autism and Innovation featured in Vanderbilt Magazine

Feb. 22, 2019—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,...

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Construction underway for our center

Jan. 24, 2019—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.

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Photos from Nov. 29 Conference now available

Jan. 4, 2019—Anyone interested in seeing some photos from our conference featuring Temple Grandin are welcome to see them here.

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VKC Notables shares article on November Conference

Jan. 4, 2019—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.

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Vanderbilt Hustler features article on FCAI

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

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Temple Grandin keynote at our upcoming Conference Nov. 29

Oct. 29, 2018—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...

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

Oct. 5, 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...

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Videos now included on our website

Oct. 1, 2018—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.

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New student-led organization at Vanderbilt for neurodiversity

Sep. 19, 2018—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...

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Our Partners the Precisionists win award

Jul. 25, 2018—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...

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First WRaP camp finishes at Currey Ingram Academy

Jul. 3, 2018—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...

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Spectrum Pathways joins AIW team

Jun. 27, 2018—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.

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New editorial on strategies to bring autism into the workplace

Jun. 1, 2018—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...

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AIW team member publishes autism editorial

May. 4, 2018—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.

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Currey Ingram Academy completes WRaP training

Apr. 6, 2018—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.

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Autism Awareness Day at Vanderbilt

Apr. 2, 2018—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.

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New Partner: PAIRIN

Mar. 19, 2018—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.

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AIW Undergrad Volunteer Weighs in on Autism Work

Mar. 8, 2018—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.

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June 14 set for 2018 NSF Convergence Workshop

Jan. 26, 2018—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...

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

Dec. 22, 2017—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...

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The Precisionists featured in Lehigh Business

Nov. 22, 2017—Our partners, the Precisionists, were featured in a news article by Lehigh University. You can read the full article here.

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AIW featured in Vanderbilt Hustler

Nov. 8, 2017—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.

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