Boston Children's Hospital LEND Program

Project Profile

MCHB Program: Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND)
Institution: Boston Children's Hospital
Location: Boston, MA
Region: 1
Project Director:

David T Helm, PhD
Institute for Community Inclusion
Phone: 857-218-4327



This project will prepare a wide-range of individuals to assume leadership roles to improve the health and developmental outcomes of infants, children and adolescents who have or are at risk for developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other neurodevelopmental and related developmental disabilities (DD). This is accomplished through a comprehensive training program directed toward professionals, family members and self advocates to be competent to understand, educate others, evaluate, diagnose and treat children with a broad range of developmental disabilities.


At a national level, the need for highly trained, interdisciplinary experts in ASD and related DDs has never been greater. The numbers of children in the US identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been steadily increasing such that current data from the Centers on Disease Control indicates that 1:56 children aged 2-17 have a diagnosis of ASD. There is a shortage of trained personnel to meet these needs.


This project will address these needs through 6 project goals:

Goal 1. Provide interdisciplinary training to a broad spectrum of trainees so program graduates are prepared to take leadership roles in the designing of systems and the provision of coordinated care. This includes the acquisition of clinical and research skills.

Goal 2: Provide Technical Assistance to Title V and other MCHB-related programs to assist them in enhancing systems of care that are responsive to children with neurological and related disabilities and their families.

Goal 3: Provide continuing education to maternal and child health (MCH) professionals and lay communities as requested assisting them in becoming more skilled in their work.

Goal 4: Develop and disseminate education resources to assist professional and lay audiences in learning about new ideas and services and to assist them with their work.

Goal 5: Conduct research on neurodevelopmental and related developmental disabilities.

Goal 6: Continually evaluate program and make adjustments.

Population served:

The project will assist a broad array of interdisciplinary professionals, family members and self advocates to increase their ability to serve children and adolescents who have or are suspected of having a neurodevelopmental or related disability, including ASD, and their families. The project will also provide interdisciplinary clinical services to assist families and their children in understanding the diagnosis and treatment of these children and adolescents who have developmental concerns. The project will work with a host of collaborating programs to meet these goals ensuring that underrepresented and culturally diverse communities are included in all facets of the program. The project will assist in the development of an enhanced systems of care for these children and their families.