Lifting Lives

Published on January 27th, 2021 by Christina Echegaray.

ACM Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music, has made a generous gift to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for programs and research demonstrating the healing power of music to improve the lives of children with autism spectrum disorder.

This gift creates the ACM Lifting Lives Autism Lab at Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and will establish autism as one of ACM Lifting Lives’ signature initiatives while enabling Vanderbilt to expand the reach and impact of its expertise in the field.

The contribution will support the TRIAD (Treatment and Research for Autism Spectrum Disorders) program, Sense Theatre, Music Cognition Lab and the expansion of telehealth, enabling professionals to provide long-distance education, intervention and monitoring.

“The timing of this gift could not be more advantageous,” said Jeffrey Neul, MD, PhD, director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made the expansion of telehealth vitally important in treatment of people with developmental disabilities, as in all areas of health care. Previously, we used remote technologies mostly to provide teachers with tools to use in the classroom. More recently, we have demonstrated that we can use telehealth to accurately diagnose children with autism, monitor their progress and coach parents in best practices. Now we can apply that knowledge to serve far more families.”