The Georgia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (GaLEND) program is a one-year interdisciplinary training experience that prepares tomorrow’s leaders to provide coordinated, culturally competent, and family-centered care to children and their families. The GaLEND program incorporates didactic and experiential learning in classroom, clinical, and community settings to further develop the skills of participants within their own disciplinary backgrounds, as well as to work together toward the greater goal of improved public health policy and systems.
Three graduate-level courses
- Introduction to Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (Fall Semester). This course examines issues related to developmental disabilities across the life course, as well as the identification and treatment of children with, or at risk for, neurodevelopmental disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorder.
- Systems of Care Seminar (Spring Semester). This seminar provides an interdisciplinary overview of the systems of care that support individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families. The course explores formal and informal supports, funding mechanisms, policy, and systems change strategies toward the goal of more accessible, effective, and equitable services for diverse populations across the lifespan.
- Interdisciplinary Leadership Seminar (Fall & Spring Semesters). This seminar provides an opportunity for trainees to develop and demonstrate the MCH Leadership Competencies. Through class activities and assignments, trainees engage in interdisciplinary collaboration and develop their communication, advocacy, and self-reflection skills.
- Interdisciplinary Clinical Experiences (60 hours, fall and spring) GaLEND interdisciplinary training opportunities include clinical experiences, observations in interdisciplinary settings, and case conferences. During the clinical experiences, trainees observe and participate in the provision of interdisciplinary, family-centered, culturally competent services for children with ASD/DD in a manner appropriate for their disciplinary identity and level of training. Settings include clinical delivery and diagnostic sites, schools, and state agencies.
- Family Mentoring Experience (15 hours, fall) Trainees join with families of children and adults with ASD/DD in their homes and communities on three occasions. These experiences promote an understanding of family and community issues, including the challenges and joys involved in caring for a child or adult with ASD/DD.
- Self-advocacy Mentoring Experience (15 hours, spring) Trainees meet on multiple occasions with an individual with ASD/DD who has participated in a leadership experience (e.g., GaLEND, AUCD Leadership Academy, or CLD’s My Voice program). These experiences are intended to provide a perspective on the challenges and triumphs of the self-advocates on their leadership journeys.
- Advanced Networking, Professional Development, and Career Mentoring Opportunities (Optional) GaLEND offers a number of supplemental leadership experiences to GaLEND trainees and alumni.
- First, there are national networking activities including participation in the AUCD annual conference, the Disability Policy Seminar, the MCH Making Lifelong Connections program, the LEND Southeast Regional Consortium, the proposed LEND Collective on Health Equity, and others; the GaLEND budget provides a stipend for trainee participation in these experiences.
- Second, we offer career counseling and early career mentoring to assist GaLEND trainees in obtaining and advancing in post-graduate employment in positions benefitting children with ASD/DD and their families, and other MCH populations.
- Third, we offer an additional year of advanced training for family and self-advocacy trainees allowing a chance to build leadership skills with the support and continued identity as a second-year trainee.
- Interdisciplinary Participatory Action Research (PAR) Experience (60 to 100 hours, fall and spring) Trainees participate on teams researching specific questions related to ASD/DD, (e.g., approaches to screening, assessments of family perspectives about disability, effectiveness of treatments, public policy, health disparities).
While each LEND program has its own unique focus and expertise, all provide interdisciplinary training, have faculty and trainees from a wide range of disciplines and include parents or family members as faculty and paid program participants. They also share the following objectives:
Advance the knowledge and skills of all child health professionals to improve health and healthcare for children with developmental disabilities
Provide high-quality interdisciplinary education that emphasizes the integration of services from state and local agencies and organizations, private providers and communities
Provide health professionals with skills that foster community-based partnerships
Promote innovative and effective practices to enhance cultural competency, family-centered care and interdisciplinary partnerships
GaLEND operates as a program of the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) at Georgia State University, in collaboration with:
These, and other community partners offer the expert faculty and resources necessary to provide exceptional interdisciplinary training and services.