Now Accepting Va-LEND Applications Through June 1, 2017

Virginia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) is recruiting applicants for the Fall 2017 LEND cohort.  Find out more about Va-LEND  here: brochure-2016-2017

To view the training schedule for 2016-17 click here: Va-LEND Training Schedule 2016-2017

Applications listed below.

Long Term Trainee, Autism Fellow, Advanced Medium Term Trainee: Va-LEND Application 2017

For more information regarding the Va-LEND program call 804-828-0073 and speak to Dr Beth Bader, Associate LEND Director.



Poster Presentations at 2015 AUCD Conference

Va-LEND faculty and trainees have just returned from attending the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Amidst sessions, meetings, and receptions, several poster presentations were made by members of the Va-LEND program. Trainees presenting posters were Becky Balog, Samantha Costanzo, Zipporah Levi-Shackleford, and Sarah Nockengost. Faculty members Beth Bader, Marie Chapin, Carole Ivey, Elaine Ogburn, and Tracy White helped support these presentations.

Samantha Costanzo’s topic was “Age Differences in Fine Motor Milestones between Ghanaian and American Children” and Sarah Nockengost’s was “Locomotor Training in Children with Lower Extremity Paralysis.”

Va-LEND alumna Shannon Haworth presented a poster titled “Growing and Engaging Leaders: Creating the AUCD Alumni Network.” Here’s some additional information from Shannon on her project: “AUCD will be creating an alumni association for graduating and former trainees. It will include a member directory, groups, facilitated discussions, and a mentorship program. If you would like to be a mentor or want more information contact”


From left: Shannon Haworth, Marie Chapin, Elaine Ogburn, PC: Tracy White


Leadership Projects

BeckyBecky King
(Social Work Trainee) developed and implemented several presentations and a webinar on Virginia’s Medicaid Waiver Redesign Initiative.  These presentations and webinar were for families, self-advocates, and providers.  Presentations were made to the Arc of Roanoke, the Arc of Augusta, and the Arc of Southside. The objectives of the presentations included increasing awareness of system change initiatives in the I/DD service system among families, self-advocates and providers, and educating families on national movement of more inclusive services and policies driving change.

Laura BellHer Leadership Project, Laura Bell (Occupational Therapy Trainee)  initiated the development of objective measures for Occupational Therapists seeking to work in the VCU Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).   The objectives included determining appropriate resources to assist in the development of NICU competencies, researching the role and skills Occupational Therapists bring to the NICU setting, finding appropriate steps individuals can take in order to obtain necessary knowledge and skills, and finally developing a detailed set of competencies.  This is the beginning of an ongoing process.


For her Leadership Project, Lindsay Bailey (Genetic Counseling Trainee), explored how to talk about hereditary cancer at the end of life.  The aims of her study were (1.) to identify potentially effective and appropriate methods of delivery of cancer genetic information to family members of patients with terminal cancer, and (2.) to assess the impact that the exploration of hereditary risk of cancer has on the family members of the dying patients.  Communication with a health care professional, communication between family  members, and methods of communication were explored.  Emotional responses of participants were assessed.  The study found that the best method of delivery of hereditary cancer information needs to be explored further because the preferred method was often situational and varied based on each person.  Also, it is important to be cognizant of the wide range of emotions that a family member of a palliative care patient with terminal cancer experiences and adapt communication appropriately.

Melissa Beyer (Genetic Counseling Trainee) did her Leadership Project about Melissa BeyerHuntington’s Disease (HD).  Huntington’s Disease is a rare, progressive, neurological disorder characterized by changes in movement, cognition, and psychological disturbances.  Typically, individuals with HD begin to show symptoms in their thirties or forties.  There is no cure for HD.  Melissa presented her findings and developed a handout to educate healthcare providers about HD, specify who should care for individuals with HD, and identify unique challenges that young people at risk of a developmental disability face.