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While LEND training is flexible and can be tailored to learners' interests, it consists of three main areas: didactic and experiential learning, project work/research and clinical training.

Didactic and Experiential Learning

Didactic and experiential learning across key content areas are infused throughout the curriculum. Trainees meet as a group two Fridays per month for a required half-day didactic session. These sessions are held in-person on the Indiana University School of Medicine campus in Indianapolis. Targeted content areas include leadership, interdisciplinary practice, research, advocacy, cultural humility, autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities, mentoring, communication, and family and community. Other weekly learning occurs during optional didactics, including grand rounds, journal club discussions, clinical trainings, and webinars. An online learning platform (Canvas) is used to manage learning activities and homework assignments.

Project Work/Research

All trainees complete a year-long project that enhances their learning within the LEND program’s core content areas. Projects can be more traditional academic research or literature reviews, development of programs or materials for use by the NDD population or the people that serve them, or exploration of issues related to the disability community. Often, there is overlap between trainees’ LEND project and research being conducted as part of their graduate studies. Areas of emphasis for past projects include evaluations of specific clinical interventions, surveys of current professional practices, the creation of community support programs, advocacy around issues facing individuals with disabilities, development of educational interventions and exploration of the disability community. Project work will culminate in an academic poster session held in April of the training year.

Recent Project Titles

  • An Evaluation of Social Determinants of Health Documentation and the Relationship Between Parental Factors and Neurodevelopment
  • Assessing Social Determinants of Health and Neurodevelopment
  • Creating a Library of Sensory Tools
  • Developing a Community Sensory Room
  • Effect of Titanium Dioxide onStreptococcus mutansBiofilm
  • Maternal & Child Health Law Writing/Oral Competition
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Telehealth Expansion
  • Pre and Post Gait Mat Analysis on Children who had a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy
  • Prescription of Bitewing and Panoramic Radiographs in Pediatric Dental Patients
  • Preventing Drowning Deaths in Children with Autism
  • Provider Satisfaction in Zoom Follow-up
  • Special Olympics Young Athletes Inclusive Play in Libraries
  • The Brief School Needs Inventory - Evaluating educational risk for students with chronic health conditions

Clinical Training

Some trainees pursue a clinical track within the Developmental Medicine clinics, typically as a requirement for their clinical degree programs or licensure boards. The LEND program currently has supervision capacity for trainees in psychology, social work, speech-language pathology, medicine, and pediatric dentistry. Clinical work in neurodevelopment includes interdisciplinary team evaluations, psychology testing, speech testing, social work support, and some individual, family and group therapy. Find out more details on levels of participation. All trainees, regardless of discipline, have the opportunity to shadow in the LEND clinics if they do not participate directly. 

Timing and Requirements

The training period for the LEND program runs for one year and is based roughly on the academic calendar, running from August through April, with optional summer training time. Long-term trainees spend a minimum of 300 total hours in the LEND program, which typically works out to one full day per week. Some trainees, full-time fellows, complete as many as 2,000 hours, depending on their individual needs and expectations. This time can be put in physically at the Pediatric Care Center, or trainees can work on their project from home and/or within the community. All trainees receive a stipend to compensate them for time invested in this program. Stipends can be applied to an IU Bursar bill if desired. The stipend for self-advocate trainees can be distributed in different ways to ensure the program does not affect eligibility for income-based services.

For individuals who cannot make the full-time commitment, shorter-term training experiences are available, including limited summer options. One-day observations of interdisciplinary clinic work are also available throughout the year. Contact the training directors for further information on these possibilities.

The Value of Lived Experience

The LEND program greatly benefits from the inclusion of individuals with lived experience in the cohort, as they learn along with the other trainees and share their unique perspective. The full cohort of trainees will include individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities as well as family members (parents, adult siblings, spouses, grandparents, or close relatives) of individuals with disabilities. These individuals share a wealth of information, demonstrate a passion for issues, and help to ground the remaining cohort in the reality of their experiences.