Formal training programs provide a unique opportunity for family members of a child or adult, or a self-advocate, with a developmental disability or special health care need to develop their knowledge and leadership skills, as well as form relationships with others working to support individuals with health care needs and developmental disabilities.
- WI LEND Program (Wisconsin Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) is an academic year program that provides leadership training to family members, self-advocates, students and professionals with the aim of improving systems of care and assuring access to services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The “Family” discipline recruits family members of a child/young adult with a developmental disability or special health care need. The “Self-advocate” discipline recruits individuals with a developmental disability or lifelong special health care need to participate as trainees. Self-advocate trainees must have completed or be enrolled in post-secondary education, and consider themselves advocates for themselves and others with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The program requires long-term trainees to make a 300+ hour commitment over the training year. A stipend is available to eligible long-term trainees. Contact the appropriate Discipline Training Coordinator before applying to be a Family or Self-Advocate trainee.
Additional learning opportunities are available through the Waisman Center.
- Waisman Center “Day with the Experts”community conferences are open to everyone. These conferences are offered on Saturdays during the year and are usually focused on a specific condition.
- Community trainings provide a variety of learning opportunities for community members.
- The Wiley Seminar Series is a series of research seminars on current research related to neurodevelopmental and developmental disabilities. Everyone is welcome (parking not provided).
- The Waisman Resource Center, which houses the Southern Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, provides free and confidential information and assistance in identifying and accessing resources for children, youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in Wisconsin.
In addition to learning opportunities, family members can also help teach others about the family perspective.
- Family members participate on panels and as speakers in all LEND training modules. Seminars and panel presentations take place on Friday afternoons. Speaker honoraria are available.
- Families serve as Family Mentors to Wisconsin LEND trainees in Madison and Milwaukee. In this role, families enhance trainees’ sensitivity to the strengths, concerns, joys, and challenges of raising a child or youth with a developmental disability or special health care need by sharing time and family experiences with trainees. Families are compensated with an honorarium for participating in this mentoring relationship.
Contact the LEND Training Director, Gail Chodron, to learn more about these family teaching opportunities.