May 14, 2018
The 2017-2018 long term trainees of the Maine Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program, directed by Eileen Ricci, PT, D.P.T., M.S., PCS, associate clinical professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, displayed posters on May 4 in Parker Pavilion to showcase the culmination of their elective projects.
The Maine LEND Trainees are a group of interdisciplinary UNE graduate students and working professionals from the fields of occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, speech and language pathology and public health, as well as family and self-advocates. The LEND trainees received 300 hours of training over the course of nine months to learn best practices, experience the value of interproferssional teamwork, learn firsthand about how to be family centered, and develop leadership and advocacy skills to prepare them to take on leadership roles in their respective fields, with the ultimate goal of better serving individuals with neurodevelopment disabilities. Their training encompasses mentored experiences in clinical settings, classroom sessions, family longitudinal experiences, and community participation. “We’re training professionals and future professionals to be leaders in their work with children and families,” said LEND Training Director and Clinical Professor of Occupational Therapy, Kathryn Loukas.
The trainees’ elective projects allowed them to delve deeper into particular areas of interest. For example, Kim Humphrey, M.P.H., held a state Strategy Forum with key players needed to provide advocacy for people with disabilities. The event brought in leaders from all over the state of Maine, including State Senator Shenna Bellows, who served as a key speaker. Emily Gall (Doctor of Physical Therapy, ’18), Taylor Cahill (Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, ’18), and Seth Hunsicker, M.S.W. ’17, were involved in a transdisciplinary playgroup and took this model of early intervention beyond Portland to areas of need such as Presque Isle. Lindsey Rose Pace (Doctor of Physical Therapy, ’18) and Lindsay Spencer (Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, ’18) outlined their work with an individual on the autism spectrum in “Development and Importance of a Personalized Fitness Program for Behavior Regulation in a young man with ASD,” demonstrating how they helped this person, through both hands-on training and policy initiatives, with his transition to adult roles and occupations.
In total, 11 projects were displayed at the event. Loukas presented individual awards and recognition to the trainees with the assistance of Mae Gagnon, LEND administrative specialist, and Joanna Reidy, family faculty.
LEND is a federally funded Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) program that exists in all 50 states. Its goal is to expand resources to people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.
To learn more about Maine LEND, visit www.une.edu/LEND
To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions