Young man wearing EEG net

VKC Disabilities and Human Development Research Overview

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center promotes an interdisciplinary approach to research. Scientists and practitioners in behavior, eduction, genetics, and neuroscience work together in unique ways to solve the mysteries of development and learning.

  • Take Part in Research

    Children and adults, with and without disabilities, are invited to take part in research. This section provides easy ways to learn about studies seeking participants.

  • Opportunities for Students and Researchers

    Fellowships, grants, research training, and more are available through the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.

  • VKC Membership

    If you are Vanderbilt faculty and would like to collaborate on our mission or if you already work in the area and want to help facilitate discoveries and best practices that make positive differences in the lives of persons with developmental disabilities and their families, click the link above to view membership application process.

  • VKC IDDRC Research Cores

    The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center has funding as a Eunice Kennedy Shriver Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

    An important purpose of this grant is to facilitate collaborations among investigators. Five research cores help accomplish this goal by providing research services, by providing activities that promote interaction, and by attracting new investigators to the field. The page above describes the Cores.

  • Research Areas

    IDDRC investigators address four diagnostic groups: autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, genomic syndromes, and acquired or general intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). They use a broad range of methodologies including identifying basic mechanisms, treatment targets, and aberrant developmental processes in model systems; measuring cognitive, social, emotional, and neural phenotypes in IDD; and conducting treatment and intervention studies. Many IDDRC investigators study typical and atypical processes.

Gatlinburg Conference on Research and Theory in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The Gatlinburg Conference is one of the premier conferences in the U.S. for behavioral scientists conducting research in intellectual and related developmental disabilities.

What is a developmental disability?

A developmental disability is a condition that is significant and ongoing, begins before age 22, and substantially limits functioning in daily activities of living.

Examples of developmental disabilities include autism, brain injury, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, intellectual disabilities, Prader-Willi syndrome, spina bifida, and Williams syndrome.

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center serves persons with developmental disabilities and their families, as well as persons with all types of disabilities, including those whose disabilities occur after age 22.