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KidTalk Newsletter
We want to hear from you! Do you have news you would like us to include in an upcoming newsletter?  Please email us at

Lab News

We are excited to announce Tatiana Peredo, PhD, has been awarded a language intervention grant for Spanish-speaking families.  Dr. Peredo’s new study, “EMT en Español”, will begin soon.  She will be enrolling 20 families over the next two years.  Requirements for admission to the study are as follows:
  • Family speaks mostly or only Spanish to their child
  • Child’s age between 30-42 months, and is suspected of having or has a delay in their language development
  • Child does not have a diagnosis that would impact their language development such as Autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, deafness, etc.
  • Family meets criteria for being considered low-income
If you know a family who meet the requirements please have them call our office (615-322-8160) or email us at and we can set up a phone screening.

Congratulations Jenny!

Doctoral student, Jenny Cunningham, has been selected as one of the 2017-2018 four Emerging Research Scholars in the Bridging the Word Gap (BWG) Research Network.  Congratulations Jenny!! You might remember that one of our other doctoral students, Lizzy Fuller, was in the first cohort of scholars last year.  We are so proud of all of our students!
The BWG Research Network is a national collaboration of researchers, policymakers, early educators, civic leaders, program directors, and funders supported by the Health Resources Services Administration to identify the most effective intervention practices to bridge the gap between children from high- and low-income groups in the quality and quantity of children’s early language exposure.  Scholars are selected from across the U.S. as individuals who will contribute to current research knowledge about ways to promote the early language development of young children in poverty. Emerging Research Scholars each receive a cash award to support their research as well as mentoring from a BWG Research Network member.

For more information about the BWG Research Network please visit
Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development

We were fascinated by this article about a darling Nashville boy who is participating in autism research at the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development.  The article begins on page 4.
Dash for Down Syndrome

Do you know a child who would benefit from our project?

We currently have openings for our language intervention research projects for children ages 18-months to 4-½ years old with Autism and Down syndrome who live within the greater Nashville area. To set up a phone screen please email us at or give us a call at

For other services and resources check out the Kennedy Center Pathfinder database at this link:

Spotlight on the Kellum Family!

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your family?
Hi there!  I'm Bethany.  My husband, Ryan, and I have been married for 13 years and we have three rowdy sons, ages eight, six and four.  Ryan is a firefighter and I've been a stay-at-home Mom until recently. I've gone back to school full time to pursue a career in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.  Our life is crazy and hectic and messy and I love every bit of it!  


Our youngest son, Eli, has Down syndrome.  But let me tell you, there is nothing down about Eli!  He's a busy and mischievous little fella and he absolutely adores his brothers, as they adore him.  He has always wanted to be in the middle of whatever they are doing, which I believe has helped him so much with his development.  While I didn't plan to have three children this close together (let alone three boys), I would not change it for anything.  They are all so close!  

Q: What is your connection to KidTalk?
A:  We first heard of KidTalk about a year ago.  He started going to preschool with our local city school program when he turned three.  He receives speech therapy through this program (which we are very grateful for!) but I just felt as though he needed a little bit more.  I brought up this concern at our annual Down syndrome clinic visit at Vanderbilt and they told us about KidTalk.  The VERY NEXT DAY my friend Sheri, who also has a little one rockin' that extra chromosome, wrote to tell me about it!  So I knew beyond a doubt that this was something we wanted to pursue.  I called and spoke with Courtney and the rest is history!  Eli has completed the study and he's made tremendous progress thanks to KidTalk!

Q: What is the most useful strategy you have learned from KidTalk
A: Ooh, that's a tough one because I feel like everything we learned was so useful... but I think expansion and using target words has been the most useful.  Eli is a very communicative child, but until recently it was mostly with gestures, eye contact and fluent Martian.  Even though he spoke very few words, I've rarely had trouble understanding what he means.  But things have changed so much!  He's using words and even phrases now!  The look of satisfaction on his face when I repeat what he's said back to him is priceless! And now, using the strategy of expansion and adding target words, I'm seeing his vocabulary increase more and more.  It's been such a blessing to be able to communicate verbally with my son.  We are so grateful for KidTalk!
Q: What do you and your family do for fun? 
We are a very active family.  We love to be outdoors, so we've really enjoyed this unseasonably warm winter!  We played soccer outside yesterday in shorts!  Going to the park, riding bikes, going to the gym..  These are some of our favorite things. Spending time with our friends and family is very high on the list of things we love to do, but as our kids have gotten older and school schedules have taken over our lives, that time seems to be less and less.  I think a lot of families can relate to that.  But when we can, we love to hang with our friends!  We also love to hunker down for a family movie night at home.  Pizza and a movie is our Friday night tradition!  

Q: Best family-friendly restaurant?
As a family of five with a crazy schedule, we don't eat out very often.  But when we do... It's almost always Mi Patria in Murfreesboro.  Our kids LOVE Mexican food, as do their parents.  The staff there is always so sweet to my boys.  It's a very family-friendly restaurant and the food is just wonderful!!!

Q: Do you have a motto or personal mantra?
We have a sign hanging up in our kitchen right beside the table that says, "Work hard and be nice to people."  I think that pretty much sums up our family motto.  We are trying to raise hard working men who are kind and show God's love to others.  At the end of the day, that's really all I want for my sons.  And we expect Eli to work just as hard as his brothers.  He doesn't get a pass!  We have tried to lovingly push him and treat him just like any other four year old.  Are some things different with Eli? Absolutely.  But we are going to push him to be the best Eli he can be!  We believe God has big plans for all of our sons. "Work hard and be nice to people."  That's what we strive for daily.
Upcoming Events

Treasure Island – Sensory Friendly Performance
Nashville Children’s Theater
Saturday, January 28th at 2 p.m.


Jumpstreet – Franklin and Murfreesboro locations
Saturday, February 4th at 9 a.m.
Special needs jump

Autism Tennessee Family Fun Day at Adventure Science Center
Saturday, February 25th from 8-10 a.m.
For more information and to register please visit this site:

“I Have a Voice” Believer’s Ball
Gala benefitting Gigi’s Playhouse
Saturday, February 25th at 6 p.m.
The Hutton Hotel

Jumpstreet – Franklin and Murfreesboro locations
Saturday, March 4th at 9 a.m.
Special needs jump

Nashville Opera Presents “Three Little Pigs” - A Sensory Friendly Performance
Saturday, March 4th at 2 p.m.
Location: Noah Liff Opera Center
Call 615-832-5242 to reserve a space
Must register here: 

And In This Corner: Cassius Clay – A Sensory Friendly Performance
Saturday, March 11th at 2 p.m.
Nashville Children’s Theater

Reach for the Stars – A Sensory Friendly Concert
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Saturday, March 25th
Pre-concert activities begin at 2 p.m.
Concert begins at 3 p.m.

Jumpstreet – Franklin and Murfreesboro locations
Saturday, April 1st at 9 a.m.
Special needs jump

Pieces of Hope
Benefit for Autism Tennessee
Saturday, April 8th at 6 p.m.
Gaylord Springs

Autism Affinity Day at Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Thursday, April 20th from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Register before April 18th here:

Autism Awareness Day at Nashville Zoo
Sunday, April 30th

Jumpstreet – Franklin and Murfreesboro locations
Saturday, May 6th at 9 a.m.
Special needs jump

Goodnight Moon – Sensory Friendly Performance
Saturday, May 6th at 2 p.m.
Nashville Children’s Theater

Sky High Sports
Every Tuesday
at 3-6 p.m.
Sensory friendly jump
5270 Harding Place, Nashville, TN 37217
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110 Magnolia Circle, Suite 314
Nashville, TN 37203

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Vanderbilt KidTalk · 110 Magnolia Circle · Suite 314 · Nashville, TN 37203 · USA

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