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Apply for LEND

Now accepting applications.

The Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Program at the University of New England is an interprofessional 9-month academic, clinical/community practice, leadership, and public policy training program with a focus on family-centered practice and inclusion.

Trainees will engage in didactic and clinical/community experiences provided by leading experts in developmental disabilities in Maine. Training includes observation and participation in assessment and treatment/intervention, mentorship, family experiences, and presentations covering all aspects of caring for children, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. A trainee stipend is available for qualified graduate students, new graduates, persons with neurodevelopmental disabilities, family members, and practicing clinicians.

Application Requirements

  • Qualified applicants will possess leadership potential and have or be in the final year of education toward a degree in one of the following disciplines: Audiology, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Psychology, Public Health, Public Policy, Social Work, Special Education or Speech-Language Pathology.
  • Qualified individuals with disabilities or family members of people with disabilities who are interested in pursuing careers focusing on disability/chronic illness and have demonstrated leadership potential are encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in acquiring knowledge and skills to evaluate, develop, and provide evidence-based interventions to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities in an interprofessional, family-centered, and culturally competent manner.
  • The LEND program involves a minimum commitment of 10 hours per week on-site (Fridays from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. at UNE and other times flexibly scheduled) from September through May (300 hours total).


Kathryn Loukas, O.T.D., M.S., OTR/L, FAOTA
Training Director
(207) 221-4103

Eileen Ricci, PT, D.P.T., M.S., PCS
Program Director

Admissions FAQ

What is the LEND program?

The Maine LEND program is part of a national program to educate leaders who can make a difference in the lives of people and families affected by neurodevelopmental and related challenges. LEND programs are funded and supported by a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration. Maine LEND is based at the Westbrook College of Health Professions of the University of New England, Portland. It includes didactic education, clinical/community observations and other experiences, Family Interprofessional Team (FIT) participation, community practice opportunities, family experiences, leadership development, and elective research, service, and/or scholarship.

Who are LEND trainees?

Maine LEND is open to interprofessional practitioners in southern Maine including audiologists, nurses, social workers, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, public health professionals, family members, and self-advocates. We seek to build a diverse team of motivated graduate students in the final year of professional preparation or new practitioners in the field, along with family members and self-advocates.


What are the benefits of being a LEND trainee?

This training program provides individually mentored education that prepares professionals to take on unique, individualized, team-based, and/or system advocacy leadership. LEND trained professionals are proficient in working in clinical and community practice environments with infants, children, youth, and families affected by neurodevelopmental disabilities. The Maine LEND program includes a stipend and certificate of completion.


What is the commitment of a LEND trainee?

Maine LEND runs 9-months, from early September through May, during the typical fall and spring semester schedule of the University of New England. There is a weekly time commitment of 10 hours that includes about 6 hours of Friday didactic courses, FIT events, and Friday afternoon leadership development. The remaining 4 hours require that trainees have available flexible time as necessary for weekly family involvement, mentor meetings, clinical/community events, and interprofessional practice opportunities.


Who does the Maine LEND program partner with and serve?

Local clinical partners include Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, and Northeast Hearing and Speech. In addition, Maine LEND partners with sites outside of the greater Portland area include Maine General Hospital in Augusta, the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council, and organizations serving native, immigrant populations, and underserved parts of the state. LEND serves children and families affected by Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and other neurodevelopmental disorders.


What are the attributes of a strong Maine LEND Trainee applicant?

We are looking for diverse graduate students/professionals with a dedicated career purpose in working with children and families affected by neurodevelopmental disabilities. The ideal trainee will portray compassion, leadership, creativity, and family-centered and interprofessional team attitudes. Prior experience, education, service, and scholarship in neurodevelopmental disabilities is valued.


How do I apply for the Maine LEND program?

Applications (PDF) can be found online beginning March 1. Please email applications and questions to Kate Loukas, Maine LEND training director, at kloukas@une.edu.



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