United States alone, there are at least 3.8 million children with developmental disabilities. Due to the limited number of health care providers
trained to work with this population, it is
increasingly difficult for them to
obtain appropriate medical treatment. Leadership Education in
Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) programs were developed to address
this gap by training leaders in disability work.
The Office of Child Development, as part of this training, hosts LEND trainees under the guidance of Early Childhood Partnerships Director and LEND faculty member, Stephen J. Bagnato, EdD, NCSP.
develop disability leaders, LEND takes an interdisciplinary approach to promote
coordinated care. Faculty and trainees represent 14 core academic disciplines (see list at right), but
can include others such as assistive
technology, rehabilitation, law, and psychiatry. The LEND programs also integrate
families in all aspects of training and service to better serve this
LEND programs operate within a university system
and are commonly affiliated with local university hospitals or health care
centers. This is the case with the LEND Center at the University of Pittsburgh,
which is affiliated with the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. This collaboration provides LEND with expert faculty and
state-of-the-art facilities that work to enhance the ability of clinicians to
diagnose, treat, and manage complex disabilities in youth and adolescents.
leadership trainees include:
n Graduate students and pre-
and post-doctoral students in professions related to Maternal and Child Health
n Practicing professionals
in fields relating to Maternal and Child Health
n A family member or parent
of a child with a disability, or someone who has experienced disability within
their own life, and who is looking to expand their knowledge and experience
LEND program allows trainees to:
n Increase their knowledge
about neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and acquire leadership
expertise in communication, cultural competency, and interdisciplinary team
n Better understand the role
of socioeconomic, racial, cultural, geographic, linguistic, and financial
factors on service delivery and utilization by children and their families.
n Facilitate their understanding
of the importance of advocacy for services.
n Understand the
implications of legislation and policy on program funding, planning, and
development and patterns of service delivery.
n Demonstrate leadership
skills in clinical, mentored research and/or community-based training.
n Demonstrate effective
communication skills in academic course work, clinical settings, and
communication with families.
Pittsburgh LEND program has already produced dozens of leaders in disability
work and plans to continue this important work in the coming years.