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Funded Projects

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities

Project Website

Grant Status: Completed

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

Project Director(s):

Laura Silverman, PhD
University of Rochester
601 Elmwood Avenue
PO Box 671
Rochester, NY  14642-0001
Phone: 585-275-5962


Children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders and related developmental disabilities needs in western New York (NY) State lack adequate access to family centered, culturally competent, community-based, coordinated, and effective services and supports, particularly in urban and rural settings.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: Recruit leadership trainees from diverse backgrounds in 13 professional disciplines Objective 1: Recruit and train an average of one long-term LEND leadership trainee per year in each of 13 MCH disciplines over the course of the project. Objective 2: Recruit and train new long-term "LEND ASD Fellows" (1 advanced developmental-behavior pediatric fellow, 1 psychology postdoctoral fellow, 1 advanced practice nurse, and 1 doctoral-level speech-language pathologist) per year, to develop specific advanced expertise in diagnosis and treatments of ASDs. Objective 3: Recruit and train 40 medium-term trainees per year in screening, diagnosis, and evidence-based treatments for ASDs. Ensure that both medium- and long-term trainees represent diverse cultural and ethnic communities. Goal 2: Assure that long-term trainees develop advanced knowledge and skills to become MCH leaders. Objective 1: Assure that each long-term trainee, by the end of training has advanced knowledge and skills in: MCH System and topics related to ASDs and other NDDs; Self-reflection; Ethics and Professionalism; Critical Thinking; Communication; Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Objective 2: Assure that each long-term trainee, by the end of training has advanced knowledge and skills in: Cultural Competence; Family-Centered Care; Teaching and Mentoring ;Interdisciplinary Team Building; Community and Systems. Goal 3: Develop and provide training and community education activities specific to ASDs. Objective 1: Provide all long-term LEND trainees curriculum emphasizing ASDs by the end of training experiences, using ASDs in LEND Core Course as models for didactic discussion; providing clinical experiences with children and youth with ASDs for all LEND long-term trainees; and performing ASD-focused research. Objective 2: Ensure advanced screening, diagnostic, treatment, and research skills related to ASDs for LEND ASD fellows in pediatrics, nursing, psychology, and speech pathology, by the end of training. Objective 3: Ensure knowledge and skills related to ASD screening and intervention by the end of medium term training for physicians, nurses, and school staff and other providers, including collaboration with other groups in training and research, and support to underserved populations with ASDs. Goal 4: Support the Maternal and Child Health system. Objective 1: SCDD LEND faculty and trainees will provide technical assistance and consultation to assist federal, state, and regional health care planners in ensuring coordinated, comprehensive, cost-effective and family-centered health care for children with ASDs and related NDDs. Objective 2: SCDD LEND faculty and trainees will lead needs-based continuing education programs that assist federal, state, and regional health care personnel to acquire contemporary knowledge and skill about current and emerging clinical practices for children with ASDs and related NDDs Objective 3: Provide technical assistance and continuing education through distance learning techniques such as on line courses and telemedicine consultation.


Long-term leadership training will take place at Strong Center for DD. Special efforts to improve diversity and cultural competence will be undertaken. A weekly Core Course will include research and administration training, research experiences, and seminars addressing the topic areas noted above. Cultural competence, family focus, a life course perspective, underserved populations, and the special issues of individuals with ASDs and youth in transition will be used as examples and themes throughout. Trainee practica will develop clinical expertise, interdisciplinary team skills, and communication, teaching, family focus, and leadership abilities. Advanced LEND ASD fellows will develop expertise in ASD diagnosis and evidence-based treatments, and participate in research and policy analysis in conjunction with the HRSA AIR-P project and the NY State Health Dept. ASD planning activities. Medium term ASD trainees will learn screening and evidence-based interventions.


We will collaborate with 1) the NY State Dept. of Health and other northeastern US LEND programs in ASD awareness and training activities; 2) local health departments in specific efforts to improve the health of children and youth with ASDs and other NDDs; 3) the UR LEAH program in adolescent transition training and model programs; 4) Special Olympics International in Healthy Athletes prevention activities.


We will assess trainee data on progress toward training goals with pre/post tests, and track trainee career outcomes via 1-, 5-, and 10-year post-training surveys. We will track clinical impact using Kirch Center data and community impact through faculty reports and ASD-specific activity tracking.