NvLEND - Nevada Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities

Currently accepting applications for the class of 2024-25.
The application deadline is May 1, 2024. Please apply!

The Nevada Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (NvLEND) improves the health of infants, children, and adolescents with autism and other disabilities by preparing practicing professionals, parents, and graduate trainees from diverse professional disciplines to assume leadership roles in their respective fields and by developing high levels of interdisciplinary clinical competence. LEND programs consider family and self-advocates a discipline. Consequently, parents/family members of children with disabilities and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to participate in the training.


To apply to the Nevada LEND program, please click on the link below.

NvLEND Recruitment

Each year, the NvLEND strives to recruit trainees to represent each of the disciplines as well as the cultural, ethnic, and geographic diversity of Nevada. The disciplines include but are not limited to:

  • Audiology
  • Health Administration
  • Family Members of Individuals with Disabilities
  • Individuals with Disabilities
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical Therapy
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Psychology
  • Public Health
  • Social Work
  • Special Education
  • Speech Pathology

Applicants from the professional disciplines must be pursing a graduate degree (master's or doctoral) or be practicing as a professional with a minimum of a bachelor's degree. There are no educational or degree requirements for family members or individuals with disabilities.

NvLEND trainees should have the following qualities:

  • Capacity and willingness to devote approximately 30 hours per month to NvLEND didactic (Saturday meetings and online activities), clinical and leadership activities.
  • Routine access to high-speed Internet connections and ability to utilize email, on-line meeting programs, streaming video, on-line instructional programs, webinars, and other Internet resources.
  • Ability to spend one weeknight per week attending lectures over Zoom.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to identify issues and areas of concern and bring them forward.
  • A sense of humor, flexibility, and adaptability combined with persistence.
  • Strong commitment to improving the interdisciplinary system of services for individuals with disabilities and their families.
  • Ability to work independently and with interdisciplinary teams.
  • Interest in understanding and influencing disability practice and policy across disciplines from a local, state, and national perspective.
  • Interest in understanding research and evidence-based practices.
  • Interest in developing leadership skills and serving in leadership roles during and beyond the NvLEND experience.

Applicants should be aware that each NvLEND class is limited to 14 individuals from across the state and across the disciplines. Each year, there are more applicants than can be accepted. Consequently, the application process is very competitive. Interested individuals should carefully review the program description and the NvLEND schedule for 2024-25 to ensure that they will be able to fully participate, contribute, and benefit from the NvLEND experience. Please contact one of the NvLEND faculty if you have any questions.

The NvLEND Program

Trainees participate in a minimum of 325 hours of training over a one-year period from July 2024 through June 2025 (an average of thirty hours per month). Each trainee receives a stipend of $5,000 (contingent on federal funding) for the year to help defray costs associated with participating in the program including travel and/or missed work time to complete LEND activities. The 325 hours of training is divided between Didactic Seminars, Clinical Experiences, and Leadership Projects.

Didactic activities provide trainees with the knowledge of critical disability issues and the background necessary to work in an interdisciplinary context. The didactic training includes Saturday classes, and a once-weekly evening class over Zoom, as well as weekly on-line assignments and reading. Two full-day Saturday classes will be held in Las Vegas, two full-day Saturday classes in Reno, and six classes will be held in both Reno and Las Vegas with a teleconnection between the two sites. This means that trainees living in either Reno or Las Vegas will only need to travel out-of-town for two Saturday sessions per year. The Reno classes will be held at the main campus of the University of Nevada, Reno and the Las Vegas classes will be at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Those commuting from rural areas will be offered an additional stipend to defray the travel expenses. Please note that this schedule may change due to public health emergencies. 

Clinical activities offer trainees an opportunity to experience interdisciplinary services for children with disabilities and their families. Each trainee will attend an interdisciplinary autism assessment located in either Reno or Las Vegas. Trainees will also spend time observing services and programs at Nevada Early Intervention Services (North, South or Rural) and in a Nevada school district (either Washoe County School District, Clark County School District, or a rural school district). The remaining clinical hours will be based on individual trainee interest.

Leadership Projects give trainees an opportunity to participate in a research, scholarly or systems change project. Trainees will be grouped in interdisciplinary teams to complete the project over the year.

NvLEND Schedule 2024-2025

  • July 20-31, Web learning: Online NvLEND Introduction through WebCampus (asynchronous)
  • Friday, Aug. 16, Half-day (1-5 p.m.) NvLEND, Reno
  • Saturday, Aug. 17, Full-day, NvLEND Reno
  • Saturday, Sept. 14, Full-day, NvLEND, Las Vegas
  • Saturday, Oct. 19, Half-Day, NvLEND, Teleconnected between Reno and Las Vegas
  • Nov. 3-6, Washington D.C., AUCD Annual Conference (This is optional but strongly encouraged. Additional travel support is provided. This is a great experience.)
  • Saturday, Nov. 16, Half-day, NvLEND, Teleconnected between Reno and Las Vegas
  • Saturday, Dec. 14, Half-day, NvLEND, Teleconnected between Reno and Las Vegas
  • Saturday, Jan. 11, Full-day, NvLEND, Las Vegas
  • Saturday, Feb. 8, Full-day, NvLEND, Teleconnected between Reno and Las Vegas
  • Saturday, March 8, Half-day, NvLEND, Teleconnected between Reno and Las Vegas
  • Saturday, April 5, Full-day, NvLEND, Teleconnected between Reno and Las Vegas
  • Saturday, May 31, Full-day, NvLEND, Reno

Note: Full-days are eight hours and typically 9 a.m.–5 p.m., but can vary depending on the flight schedule between Reno and Las Vegas. The schedule is subject to change due to public health emergencies. Trainees should plan to attend one weeknight lecture online per week. Trainees will attend an in-person orientation in Reno from Friday, Aug. 16 at 1 p.m. to Saturday, Aug. 17 at 5 p.m.

Administrative Structure

The NvLEND is supported through a federal grant with funds from the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act (Autism CARES Act) administered through the Health Resources Services Administration and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The NvLEND is a cooperative project led by the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED) housed in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Nevada, Reno. As an interdisciplinary statewide project, the NvLEND is conducted in collaboration with faculty from University of Nevada, Reno, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the community. Contact information and participating faculty is listed under Contacts and Participating Programs.

For more information about applying to the NvLEND program, please contact Dr. Erika Ryst, Nevada LEND director at eryst@med.unr.edu.

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