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.

Developmental Disability Awareness Month

March 2018 Developmental Disability Month

March is Developmental Disability Month

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan made a public proclamation that the month of March should be recognized as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to “increase public awareness of the needs and potential of Americans with developmental disabilities. Though our mission remains largely the same, so much has changed since 1987. While we still aim to increase public awareness, our focus has shifted to the importance of inclusion and living life side by side.


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