Communicating disabilities research in plain language

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The Promise of Discovery” is a new podcast hosted by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) that highlights research in intellectual and developmental disabilities in plain language, making it accessible to the general public. The podcast launched May 8, with the premiere of the first three episodes.

The goals of the podcast are to host conversations about research in plain language and to highlight “real world” implications. The discussions cover why the research matters in the lives of people with disabilities and families, how the research impacts and enhances what we know already and/or raises additional questions in the field, and what implications the research might have for policy.

Jeffrey Neul, M.D., Ph.D.

Jeffrey Neul, M.D., Ph.D.

“We are excited to build upon the communication activities of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and to bring our research to a broader audience,” said VKC director Jeffrey Neul, M.D., Ph.D. “As researchers, we feel a responsibility to reach beyond academia, our peers, and our science journals and to make our work accessible in a way that will increase its impact. As scientists, we need to be able to explain in plain language what we are doing and why it matters. This podcast is an excellent way to raise awareness and understanding of disabilities research.”

Each episode runs around 20-30 minutes and features a VKC researcher or group of researchers, who are interviewed by an individual who has a connection to the work being discussed. This might be a research assistant, student, research participant, parent, or self-advocate.

The first three episodes of “The Promise of Discovery” are currently available. They include:

Episode 1: Understanding Critical Issues in Down Syndrome

VKC researchers are using electronic medical record information and biological samples to better understand how Down syndrome is related to a variety of disorders and conditions. Jeffrey Neul, M.D., Ph.D. is interviewed by Elise McMillan, J.D.

Episode 2: Language Growth in Young Children with Disabilities

The Vanderbilt KidTalk project facilitates studies centered around language learning in young children with disabilities. Interventions typically focus on teaching partners (parents, siblings, peers, etc.) to support language development in children who have language delays. Ann Kaiser, Ph.D., is interviewed by Elise McMillan, J.D.

Episode 3: Learning How Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Process Sensory Information

A multidisciplinary, five-year project focused on understanding how the brain integrates information coming in from multiple senses, and whether we can train multisensory integration abilities in children with autism. (Mark Wallace, Ph.D., Tiffany Woynaroski, Ph.D., and Carissa Cascio, Ph.D. are interviewed by graduate student Jacob Feldman.

Additional episodes will air on the first Friday of each month, starting June 5.

The podcast is accessible through the VKC Podcast page, Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

Courtney Taylor is director of VKC Communications and director of The Promise of Discovery.


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