Goals and Objectives:
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other neurodevelopmental disabilities (ASD/DD) and their families are most effectively served when provider practices are current, evidence-based, family-centered, culturally responsive, and reflect an interdisciplinary orientation. The Delaware LEND will continue its successful workforce development efforts through its cultivation of long-term, medium-term, and short-term LEND trainees, its training and technical assistance activities for state agencies and community partners, and through the dissemination of research results and other information generated by LEND faculty, trainees, and others. LEND goals address: cultivation of the next generation of leaders in the field; recruitment of individuals from underrepresented groups to MCH-related careers; delivery of a curriculum inclusive of didactic, experiential and clinical components; provision of community training and technical assistance to build capacity among providers and partner agencies; and research and dissemination activities designed to advance the field. The Delaware LEND is a collaboration among the University of Delaware, the Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, and Delaware State University. Faculty from these institutions and the community represent eleven core disciplines (including families and selfadvocates) and numerous complementary disciplines. LEND long-term trainees will be drawn from the core disciplines. Trainees benefit from an expanded, dynamic learning experience designed to impact their knowledge, skills, and dispositions across numerous domains. The curriculum fosters trainees' growth through demonstration that interdisciplinary, culturally responsive, family-centered care yields enhanced outcomes for those impacted by ASD/DD. Leadership development is fostered through explicit instruction, mentorship, and experiential activities that require self-reflection and intentional practice. Clinical and community-based experiences enable trainees to apply their knowledge and skills in authentic contexts, and trainees generate products that demonstrate their evolution as learners and leaders. Through the LEND's extraordinary connectivity with its institutional, state agency, and community provider partners, as well as its connection to families and self-advocates, it is well-positioned to identify and respond to emerging needs with training and technical assistance and influence policies and practices at many levels. A robust evaluation component ensures collection of all federally-required performance data as well as outcome indicators deemed critical by LEND faculty and the community. The LEND will produce five cohorts of trainees representing a multitude of disciplines and deliver training and support to enable the community to respond to current and emerging needs, all in the interest of fostering enhanced quality of life for those with ASD/DD and their families.