Shaping the Future: LEND Scholar’s AUCD 2023 Experience

Each fall, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) gathers their network members for a conference in Washington, D.C. Their shared goal is to advance policies and practices that improve the health, education, social, and economic well-being of all people with developmental and other disabilities.

The Human Development Center is proud to participate in the conference by sending our Louisiana LEND and Interprofessional Preparation Program scholars as well as various HDC staff and faculty to connect, share, and grow with our national disability community. The 2023 AUCD theme was “Emerging Leaders: Shaping the Future.

We asked LEND scholar and self-advocate Jakeel Abdullah to share his AUCD experiences with us.

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Meher Banajee Named ASHA Fellow

Louisiana LEND Faculty Alert with circle: Indian woman in red shirt with gray hair

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) has named Dr. Meher Banajee as an ASHA Fellow. Dr. Banajee is the director of the School of Allied Health Professions’ Speech-Language Pathology program and is also a faculty member of the LEND program at HDC.

HDC Spotlight: Family-Centered Values at the ASDID Clinic

The Human Development Center is committed to increasing access to quality services for underserved families. One such way is through the Autism Spectrum Disorders Interdisciplinary Diagnostic (ASDID) clinic, which provides outstanding services to families of children suspected of having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As an interdisciplinary clinic, the ASDID team consists of the family and professionals from different disciplines who work together to engage in best practices for ruling in/ruling out an ASD diagnosis. The ASDID clinic also provides recommendations for services and support for families who have children with a confirmed diagnosis of ASD.

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HDC Spotlight: Courtney Bissonnette, RN, MSN

Ms. Courtney Bissonnette, RN, MSN recently began working at the Human Development Center (HDC) as a Health Specialist for HDC’s Early Head Start Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) project and a member of the core faculty of the Louisiana Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program. Before joining HDC as a Registered Nurse (RN) and Health Specialist, Courtney worked as an acute care pediatric nurse on pediatric medical surgical units for five-years. She also spent a year at a pediatric primary care clinic as a pediatric triage nurse. Courtney left the hospital setting and earned a Master of Science in Nursing Education, while simultaneously working full-time as a nurse at a childcare center that served young children with special needs. Courtney has a personal relationship with developmental disabilities. She is the mother of a child with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Courtney’s professional training and life experiences make her uniquely able to notice small details that can impact a family or child’s health, wellness, and quality of life. Courtney uses this lens in her daily work to make sure that faculty, staff, teachers, families and children possess the wellness tools they need to reach their full potential.

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Louisiana LEND in the news: 2020 LEND graduate Sara Lass leads initiative to support infant development

Sara Lass uses toy monkey to play with baby in Children’s Hospital Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

The capstone project for 2020 LEND graduate, Sara Lass, BSN, RN, is featured in Children Hospital New Orleans’ Nursing Annual Report. Lass addresses developmental delays in patients at Children’s Hospital Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) through her project “Supporting Infant Development in the CICU After Congenital Heart Repair: A Nursing-Led Initiative.”

“Development is delayed in most patients due to their hospitalization,” said Lass, who recognized a limited use of supportive modalities and equipment for care in these infants. “All high risk patients are referred to the early developmental intervention program Early Steps upon discharge. However, it was noted that valuable opportunities necessary to address development in the ICU and cardiac step-down setting were not being utilized.”

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Become a Family Mentor

The Louisiana Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program is now seeking family mentors for the 2021-22 cohort.

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