Virginia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (Va-LEND)

Va-LEND LogoThe Va-LEND program is committed to the preparation of professionals, family members and people with disabilities in the field of childhood neurodevelopmental disabilities who will assume leadership roles within health care and disability service systems.   The interdisciplinary program provides a 12-24 month curriculum of interactive seminars, clinical and community-based practica, planned grassroots and systems level policy activities, and for most trainees, a family mentorship experience. The curriculum emphasizes all aspects of neurodevelopmental and related disabilities, social and family environments across the life course, the interdisciplinary approach, leadership and research.

Kit Hammar

Kit Hammar

Va-LEND Trainees Go To Washington

Several Va-LEND Trainees attended the AUCD 2018 Disability Policy Summit held in Washington, DC, this past April, including Kit Hammar, a Medium Term Trainee. “The Disability Policy Summit was an opportunity for individuals interested in advocating for policies related to people with disabilities to connect, network and receive updates related to important policies. The event ended with an opportunity for participants to meet with their legislators to discuss policies that impact the lives of people with disabilities,” said Jackie Robinson-Brock, Trainee Co-Director.


Va-LEND Launches New Long

Distance Learning Module

Distance Learning Module

Zipporah Levi-Shackleford

Va-LEND launches a new Long Distance Learning Module, for those who would like to participate in the training program online. Created by Va-LEND faculty member Zipporah Levi-Shackleford this Module provides entry level professionals and child care providers with basic information needed to identify the early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder in young children. Go to


Top Ten Reasons to Become a Va-LEND Trainee

  1. Make a difference in the lives of children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and their families.
  2. Learn leadership and advocacy skills for working with children and their families.
  3. Develop problems solving skills and learn how to collaborate with other disciplines (interdisciplinary training).
  4. Expand networks and resources to use within your professional practice.
  5. Advance your career and expand job searches.
  6. Work with experts in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities and disability policy.
  7. Participant in research opportunities in collaboration with LEND faculty. 
  8. Create a leadership project that will have a impact on the health care system or within the community at large.
  9. Have a “real” experience with a child with a disability and their family (Family Mentorship Experience).
  10. Continue quest for life-long learning and skill development.


Trainees Share how Va-LEND is influencing them as future leaders in developmental disabilities


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Va-LEND Program
1000 E. Marshall St.
Box 980405
Richmond, VA 23298
Phone: (804) 828-0073
Fax: (804) 828-0098