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Funded Projects

Missouri LEND

Project Website

Grant Status: Completed

Training Category: Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND)

Project Director(s):

Constance Brooks, PhD
Thompson Center
University of Missouri
205 Portland Street
Columbia, MO  65201-6521
Phone: (573) 884-6052


Need for additional trained professionals who work with individuals with ASD or other NDD; for improved early identification & screening for children with ASD or other NDD; to increase the number of LEND trainees from diverse backgrounds, especiallyunderserved rural areas of Missouri.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: Organization & Collaboration. To increase the number & quality of internal & external partnerships that facilitate interdisciplinary training & family/professional, community, & state collaborations. Objective 1: Core Faculty Partnerships. To infuse discipline focused research and information into the core LEND curriculum through maintaining at least eight core culturally competent faculty members who are pediatric experts in their respective disciplines. Objective 2: Family Centered Care Faculty Partnership. To infuse the principles of family-centered care into the LEND curriculum through maintaining at least one core family faculty member. Objective 3: Thompson Center Partnership. To provide a setting that supports the LEND curriculum (both didactic and clinical) within an ASD focused research, training and service program. Goal 2: To increase the competency of at least 17 long-term & 28 short and medium term trainees each year from a variety of health professions through a LEND interdisciplinary leadership education curriculum. Objective 1: Training, Recruitment and Retention. To recruit and retain 17 diverse long-term trainees/fellows each year from at least 8 core disciplines. Objective 2: Training. To present a dynamic, challenging range of didactic classes and seminars for 17 long-term trainees/fellows each year designed to increase awareness of autism, screening, diagnosis and treatment, medical home, and other related topics. Objective 3: Clinical Experiences. To provide through the LEND training clinic, 5 children each year with an interdisciplinary diagnostic evaluation/assessment designed to rule in or out ASD and refer their families for appropriate follow-up and treatment. Goal 3: Increase public's access to culturally appropriate, innovative family-centered practice models by conducting research, developing products, disseminating information, & providing CE/TA. Objective 1: Research Publications. To publish at least 5 papers per year that reflect research findings of LEND Core Faculty and/or Psychology post doctoral fellows. Objective 2: Community Continuing Education. To enhance the skills and knowledge of 550 professionals, families, and others each year through the provision of presentations at conferences, or through continuing education and/or outreach training. Objective 3: Technical Assistance. To provide technical assistance to at least 6 community and state organizations each year by LEND faculty/trainees/fellows designed to improve the capacity of these organizations to more effectively serve individuals with ASD or related disabilities.


This LEND program uses didactic classes, policy, advocacy, leadership/team, clinical practica, & seminars designed to provide continuing education & technical assistance. Seventeen long term trainees will receive up to 6 hrs of graduate level credit during the year for their work. Trainees will be from Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech, Social Work, Health Management, Family, Special Education, and Health Psychology. Classes are held all day every Friday of the school year. First semester includes didactic classes, team building, health policy foundation information & problem based learning modules. Many experiences are required to take place outside the classroom and include family shadowing, policy/advocacy meeting observations, legislative bill tracking, team observations, & completion of their leadership projects. This year we have additional space to accommodate more short & medium term trainees.


Close coordination remains with the Title V agency in Missouri within the Dept of Health & Senior Services. The staff provides speakers for our program as well as leadership project suggestions for trainees. We continue to hold our classes and clinical activities at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.


The program evaluation includes a variety of evaluation measures including clinical ratings, trainee/faculty evaluations, speaker evaluations, parent evaluations of clinical activities and of family shadowing activities; trainee focus groups at semester end and also following all clinical activities. We also have a pre & post test in the area of public policy.