Louisiana LEND is now accepting applications

Strong leadership influences change in systems like Healthcare, Education, and Public Policy. To become a better informed professional, you need interdisciplinary skills and community-based learning. To transform society as we know it, you must be an effective advocate and leader.

Apply to Louisiana LEND now to acquire these skills! Deadline to apply is April 25, 2022! Click the button below that best describes you.

Please know that LEND is a stipend program that financially compensates you for your time and participation. Registration and travel to the national AUCD conference in Washington, D.C. is also covered when participating in the program.

Too often professionals and parents do things to just get by, thereby perpetuating the status quo. If we are going to move the disability community forward, it’s imperative that we do so with the highest standards and I believe LEND supports that.

Nicole DeJean, Current LEND Trainee

The Human Development Center hosts Louisiana’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities, also known as the LEND program. This nine-month interdisciplinary training program prepares individuals to become future leaders that address the needs and priorities of families and children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), other neurodevelopmental disabilities (NDD), and developmental disabilities (DD).

Are self-determination, respect for family and individual’s preference, community inclusion, and access to appropriate supports and services important values to you? Do you want to learn how to integrate these values into your daily practice? Consider applying to the LEND program. We are now recruiting for our eleventh cohort. The deadline to submit an application is May 31st. To apply, click the button below that best describes you.

Family-centered care

LEND incorporates family- and person-centered values and perspectives into the nine-month curriculum. Self-advocates and family members are recruited along with graduate students and professionals from diverse disciplines and backgrounds. As you navigate the training components, you will also learn from your fellow trainees who have direct experience to life with a disability.

As a parent of a child with a disability, it also was a great chance to be able to work with the professionals in ensuring that they were aware of the challenges that families face when raising an individual with a disability. It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to work together as a team.

Liz Gary, past LEND Trainee and mother to a son with disabilities

In community-based settings

Another significant component to the program is the Family Mentoring Experience. Here, you will gain first-hand insight into family life at home and around the community.

The Family Mentoring Experience was a truly impactful experience. It was special to participate in day-to-day activities with my assigned family such as eating at Dat Dog, riding the streetcar, and going to the park. It definitely assisted with understanding the daily challenges of families with individuals with Autism.

Taylar Boutte, Current lend trainee

Has lasting effects

This unforgettable experience has lasting effects in your professional and personal journey. We asked past LEND trainee Nicole DeJean how the program impacted her career as an Early Interventionist.

I have a broader understanding of the impact disability has on the less visible parts of life. In my profession, we focus on the developmental aspects of the individual (talking, walking, or feeding) and we don’t get to see how their disability effects their interactions as an adult when they enter healthcare, employment, and community living settings. Seeing the barriers and disparities that challenge participation in these settings for individuals with disabilities allows me to provide improved services that will directly address these challenges.

Nicole DeJean, Current lend trainee

A network of like-minded professionals

Last of all, the LEND program connects you to a national network of leaders of a similar mind and motivation. There are 52 LEND programs located in 44 US states. Collectively, they form a national network that shares information and resources to maximize their impact. As a LEND trainee, you will have the opportunity to connect with this network at the Association for University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Annual Conference. Your traineeship includes this trip to Washington, D.C. (if COVID safety guidelines permit).

Apply to Louisiana LEND today!

The LEND program improves your knowledge and skills related to:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) other Neuro and Developmental Disabilities (NDD/DD)
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Life Course Theory
  • Interdisciplinary thinking and practice
  • Family- and person-centered practice
  • Leadership skills
  • Policy and Advocacy skills

Who should apply to LEND?

A) Graduate Students (in at least second year of program) interested in becoming leaders in diverse fields such as: Education, Early Childhood, Special Education, Audiology, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Psychology, Public Health, Social Work, Speech Language Pathology, and Others.

B) Practicing Professionals in fields related to healthcare, special education, ASD/NDD/DD, or other related areas.

C) Self-Advocates & Family Members interested in becoming better informed leaders and more effective advocates.