December 10, 2018
Ten members of the Maine Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program took their work, mission and advocacy to our nation’s capital as part of the Association of University Centers on Disability’s annual conference.
The theme of the conference centered around inclusion of people of all abilities and orientations — a common theme of the Maine LEND program. Maine LEND faculty and a former trainee made presentations at the conference.
LEND faculty member Carol Hubbard, M.D., presented “Primary Pediatric Health Care Professionals Embedded in Developmental Behavioral and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Clinics.”
LEND Program Director Eileen Ricci introduced the “Prechtl General Movements Assessment to Identify Children with Cerebral Palsy (by 5 months of age).”
LEND trainee Matt Pascarella and LEND Training Director Kathryn Loukas presented “The Lived Experience of a Brain Injury Survivor - A Self Advocate's Journey.”
Valerie Jones, assistant professor of Social Work; Loukas; and Ricci presented “The Maine LEND Family Interprofessional Team: Enhancing Training, Practice, Leadership, and Community Connections through Interprofessional Family Centered Practice.”
Trainees Audrey Comeau (MSOT, ’18), Emme Duranczyk, SLP, Lindsay McCracken, RN, Alyssa Wade (MSW, ’18) and Mae Gagnon, data specialist, also attended the conference.
While in Washington, LEND members used the opportunity to conduct advocacy work. They visited Senator Angus King, Representative Chellie Pingree, and staff from the office of Senator Susan Collins to discuss the Autism Cares Act, The Empower Act, Medicaid protection and expansion, and full funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The LEND program, housed within the University of New England Westbrook College of Health Professions, is a federally-funded project aimed at expanding resources to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in the state. The program’s goals include training health care providers, parents, educators and others to improve the health of children and others with ASD.