LEND faculty and trainees participate and present at national disabilities conference

LEND conference attendees
LEND conference attendees Joy Lin, Kathryn Loukas, Eric McVay, Ketleine Georges, Eileen Ricci and, Audrey Bartholomew

Members of UNE’s Maine Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program recently spent time in Washington, D.C. learning, sharing, presenting, and networking.

The Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) annual conference brought together people from the 52 LEND programs throughout the country, as well as University Centers on Excellence in Developmental Disability (UCEDDs), Self-advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), and other organizations dedicated to improving society through inclusion and participation of people of all abilities.

Joy Lin, former special education trainee and parent trainee, and Ketleine Georges, former public health trainee, presented a poster “Parents as Experts Needs Assessment,” which highlighted the mental, emotional, and behavioral health needs of children with disabilities and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lin also discussed the Parents as Experts Conference held in February 2022, while Georges shared research associated with parent interviews following that conference. The Parents as Experts Conference was supported by Maine LEND.

Maine LEND members also highlighted a strategy to support those with disabilitie who serve on the LEND team as self-advocates. Kathryn Loukas, O.T.D., M.S., OTR/L, FAOTA, LEND training director, and Eric McVay, self-advocate faculty member, presented a poster that included the work of past self-advocate trainee Anita Emery and current self-advocate trainee Andrew Wissler entitled “The Self-Advocate Group: Promoting Support and Accessibility of the Self Advocate on the LEND Team.”

The Maine LEND group also included Eileen Ricci, PT, D.P.T., M.S., PCS, LEND program director, and Audrey Bartholomew, Ph.D., coordinator of special education.

Because LEND and AUCD support a concept called “nothing about us without us,” self-advocates are key members of the interprofessional team. Maine LEND is dedicated to family-centered practice and inclusion of people with disabilities in all parts of their program. These presentations were a testament to those inclusive values.


Georges and Lin
Loukas and McVay