Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND)

Exicting New Year for the Connecticut LEND

LEND Students

The CT LEND has had an exciting new start this year. Nine UCONN graduate students from various disciplines, two Yale Developmental-Behavioral Pediatric fellows, four community trainees, and four Human Services/Family Studies students from Goodwin College fill our conference room at UCONN Health each Friday. We welcome family faculty and several UCEDD staff members to each weekly seminar as well. Our true interdisciplinary cohort includes participants from an AUCD Auditory supplement and also a Diversity grant, several of whom are first generation college students.

In addition to the weekly didactic sessions, students have visited the Hospital for Special Care, University of Hartford Magnet School, and Yale Child Study Center, as well as participated in local events like the Fragile X Conference, a Medical Management series at the school of Social Work, an Autism Workshop sponsored by the Institute for System Genomics, and guest lectures from Dr. Carl Dunst, Dr. William McGaughey, and Dr. Allan Bergman.

LEND participants successfully completed group research projects on topics including post-hospitalization supports for children with ABIs, ASD prevalence in the Connecticut foster system, and prematurity and ASD. Students look forward to Spring clinical placements, independent research projects, and participation with CT KASA for the authentic opportunity to experience advocacy from the perspective of local children with disabilities. If other state LEND trainees are travelling through Connecticut this year, please feel free to join us at a Friday seminar, or simply to visit the CT UCEDD!

LEND Fellow’s Achivements

Dr. Dorothy Vittner dissertation

vittner dissertation

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Dorothy Vittner, pictured center.

Dr. Vittner successfully defended her PhD dissertation entitled:
"Enhancing developing relationships with skin-to-skin contact".

Her Major Advisor is Dr. Jacqueline M McGrath; Associate Advisors are Drs. Xiaomei Cong and JoAnne Robinson. Readers are Drs. Regina Cusson and Gretchen Lawhon.


The Connecticut Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program is an interdisciplinary leadership training program aimed at improving the health of infants, children and adolescents who have, or are at risk for developing, neurodevelopmental and other related disabilities, with an emphasis on autism spectrum disorders.

There are currently 49 LENDs in 42 states and the District of Columbia, with an additional six states and two territories reached through program partnerships. Together, the UConn Health LEND forms a national network that shares information and resources and maximizes our impact. We work together to address national issues of importance to children with special health care needs and their families, exchange best practices and develop shared products. We also come together regionally to address specific issues and concerns.

The LENDs grew from the 1950s efforts of the Children's Bureau (now the Maternal and Child Health Bureau) to identify children with disabilities as a Title V program priority. They are currently funded under the 2006 Combating Autism Act and are administered by the Health Resources and Service's Administration's (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). The LEND program is funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, which is a division of the Health Resources and Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Center provides training to community members, professionals, family members of individuals with disabilities, as well as master's and doctoral students seeking individualized interdisciplinary training experiences in disabilities each year. An interdisciplinary faculty, including family members and people with disabilities, provides training and mentorship to the LEND Fellows.

Questions concerning the LEND Program, please contact:

LEND Completed Projects