Leadership Projects

In recent weeks two Va-LEND trainees have presented their leadership projects. These are innovative projects related to the field of disabilities that the trainees have developed with the guidance from their faculty advisers. Below are highlights of these projects.

preschoolCary Upshaw, Special Education Trainee, designed a Powerpoint presentation to educate Head Start staff on the benefits of preschool inclusion, as well as provide support, encouragement, teaching aids and resources to the Head Start staff.


tricycleLindsay Dawson, Physical Therapy Trainee, established a partnership between REACHcycles and VCU Physical Therapy students.  REACHcycles is a non-profit organization with a goal to create mobility and independence for children and veterans with disabilities in the greater Richmond area.  Physical therapy students were able to volunteer at assembly and delivery events in which adaptive tricycles were assembled and fitted to each child.  (REACHcycles is a local chapter of a national non-profit AMBUCS.)

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AUCD Conference, 2014

Va-LEND Trainee, Zipporah Levi-Shackleford received a scholarship to attend the AUCD conference last month in Washington DC.  Recipients in turn were to write an essay about their experience at the conference. Zipporah took it a step further and created this video.


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Congratulations to our Va-LEND Trainee!

Catherine Marchetti, a current Va-LEND Trainee was named Richmond Teacher of the Year!  We are proud of her accomplishments!  Read more about her here.




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Exciting News on Va-LEND Graduates

In recent weeks we have heard exciting news from four of our Va-LEND graduates. We are proud of the accomplishments of all of our graduates and pleased to share this news.

shannon_haworth_300wShannon Haworth
Shannon Haworth has recently accepted a job at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) in Silver Spring, MD. She is the new senior specialist for the LEND team.  Prior to this job, she worked for the Partnership for People with Disabilities as the Project Manager for the Virginia state autism implementation grant, and served as the Clinic Coordinator in the Va-LEND interdisciplinary clinics. She continues to co-teach the Interdisciplinary Teamwork course in the Va-LEND curriculum with another Va-LEND graduate, Carole Ivey, PhD, OTR.

IMG_20141029_094814 (1)Maria Isabel Frangenberg
Maria Isabel Frangenberg has recently accepted a position with AUCD, as well. She will be working with AUCD’s Disability and Inclusion Fellowship program which is a new initiative to increase diversity, ensure cultural and linguistic competence throughout the network of university centers on developmental disabilities (UCEDDs), and cultivate partnerships at the national level to address issues of disability and inclusion. Prior to moving to Maryland a year ago, Maria Isabel also worked at the Partnership for People with Disabilities as the Latino Community Liaison in the Family 2 Family Center. In addition she preceded Shannon Haworth as the Va-LEND Clinic Coordinator and co-taught the Interdisciplinary Teamwork course in the Va-LEND curriculum with Carole Ivey, PhD, OTR.

Vicki Beatty
Vicky Beatty
On October 19, 2014, the Greater Richmond ARC, serving people with developmental disabilities of all ages, presented Vicki Beatty with its Ladybug Award at the annual ARC Ladybug Wine Dinner fundraiser.The Ladybug Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated meritorious service to young children with disabilities and their families in greater Richmond.  Vicki is the founder and head of Virginia Parent Advocates LLC which provides advocacy for children enrolled in special education services, and offers workshops and life plans. She is a well-respected parent advocate in our community.

Read more: http://www.lite98.com/onair/kats-online-cafe-1178/childrens-advocate-vicki-beatty-receives-greater-12893848#ixzz3HRtIf3qQ

Jessica JaggerDSC_0530
On November 11, 2014 Jess Jagger will receive the 2014 AUCD Young Professional  Award at the AUCD national conference in Washington, D.C.  This award is presented to professionals in the disability field under the age of 40 years who have demonstrated dedication and commitment to people with developmental disabilities and their families through their work as a bridge between the academic sector and the community. Currently Jess is the Data Surveillance Section Head, Behavioral Health Integration for the US Marine Corps, Headquarters Marine and Family Programs. Throughout her career she has demonstrated leadership in the field of disabilities through her scholarly achievements, research and work on policy issues.

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Building Bridges 2014

The 4th Annual Building Bridges Conferences was held October 16, 2014 at St. James Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia. The focus of this annual conference is to build culturally sensitive collaborations among people and agencies across the Commonwealth and beyond.

The topic of this year’s conference focused on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in racially and ethnically diverse communities.  The room was filled to capacity to hear the Keynote Speaker, Dr. Rooshey Hasnain, Ed.D, visiting clinical assistant professor and researcher with the Department of Disability and Human Development and the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She discussed the lives, challenges and strengths of people with disabilities and mental illness. In particular, refugees and immigrants who face additional barriers to intervention and treatment.Building Bridges Picture

In addition to her work at the University of Chicago and in local communities, Dr. Hasnain has worked in three different University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) where she initiated new research and service delivery models with local and global partners.

Other notable speakers included Dana Yarbrough, community supports specialist at the Partnership for People with Disabilities (PPD);  Cecily Rodriguez, Director of the Office of Cultural and Linguistic Competence at the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health Services;  Allyson Coleman, who manages Organization Development and Training for the City of Alexandria, Department of Community and Human Services;  Yvonne Russell, Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental Services;  Katherine Lawson, Virginia Board for People with Disabilities and Mauretta Copeland, PPD and Virginia LEND Family Specialist.

Pictured above (left to right): Tracy White, LEND Training Director, Rooshey  Hasnain, keynote speaker and  Jessica Ward, PT, DPT, a VA LEND Trainee.

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2014 LEND Book Adventure

Wonder Pic Carly's VoiceDuring September and October, faculty and trainees participated in the Va-LEND Book Adventure. This is an annual activity to foster engagement and develop a sense of community with selected books that address LEND topics and themes related to disabilities, life course, family centered care, inclusion, etc. This year the books selected were Carly’s Voice (2012) By Arthur Fleischmann & Carly Fleischmann and Wonder (2012)by R.J. Palacio.

Faculty and trainees selected a book(s) to read and signed up for discussion groups at the beginning of the semester. Discussion topics were developed and shared on Blackboard. Each discussion group had a faculty facilitator. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

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Welcome 2014-2015 Trainees

We are excited to welcome1welcome our new class of Va-LEND trainees.  We have enrolled fourteen trainees from from ten different disciplines: occupational therapy, genetic counseling, special education (2), family, psychiatry, physical therapy, speech pathology, social work (2), psychology, and nursing.  Furthermore, we have four advanced medium term trainees, including three occupational therapists and one physical therapist. Welcome to the program!

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Leadership Projects

In recent weeks four Va-LEND trainees have presented their leadership projects. These are innovative projects related to the field of disabilities that the trainees have developed with the guidance from their faculty advisers. Below are highlights of these projects.

  • DSAGR LogoKayla Claxton, genetic counseling trainee, conducted a research study to gather information from parents and other experts that work with children with Down Syndrome (DS).  The goals of the study were to gather information about: (1) life with a child with DS; (2) resources and supports that are currently being utilized by parents of children with DS; and (3) additional supports that are perceived as potentially beneficial to these families.  The data collected will be used to produce a current educational video on Down Syndrome.  Kayla presented the results to the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond.  The abstract of Kayla’s study can be found under Resources.
  • Jill Harris, genetic counseling trainee, researched and developed a brief clinical guide to gender differences.  The purpose of this guide was to use primary literature to outline gender differenMF pictureces and also identify additional factors of the family, child, and diagnosis that may assist clinicians in providing the best support and resources for families.  Most of the broad gender differences addressed topics related to coping behaviors. This guide is available under Resources.
  • Rebecca Craft, physical therapy trainee, organized and evaluated a self-advocacy panel of four adults with disabilities who spoke to health science students, faculty, and professionals.  The objectives for this project were (1) to influence the way people perceive others with disabilities, and (2) to educate healthcare students and professionals on advocacy roles for people with disabilities.  The event was videotaped and a DVD was created and shared with healthcare professionals working with children with disabilities in a pediatric therapy setting.
  • Samantha Arritt, physical therapy trainee, ran a book drive and collected 328 children’s books that were then donated to Hayes E Willis Health Center and Richmond ARC. Monetary donations were used to purchase books in Spanish, as well asIMG_1255 to give a gift card to the VCU Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Samantha also set up an interactive story time session for the children and families who attended a Friday afternoon clinic at Hayes E Willis to inspire the children to read their new books.  In addition to the interactive reading session, Samantha put together a parent handout on ways to make reading more interactive to be shared with families in the clinic.
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Leadership Project

Meera's GraphicMeera Mehtaji completed her Leadership Project.  It is a presentation to orient new attendees to the CAS Autism Assessment Clinic.  The presentation explains autism, the team process, and the diagnostic tools.  A video is included to provide an example of a child with autism.

Autism Clinic with Video

Supplemental ADOS Document

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“Lawmakers, Remember the Children” — by Shannon Haworth

            Our very own Shannon Haworth, Va-LEND graduate and now our Clinic Coordinator, is the Richmond Times-Dispatch Guest Columnist today!              Read her article, “Lawmakers, Remember the Children,” on the Op/Ed page (A9) or online at http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/their-opinion/columnists-blogs/guest-columnists/haworth-remember-kids-mental-health-in-budget-negotiations/article_2d2f84c2-c2a1-5acb-a9a8-d7608b27fb81.html

           Thank you, Shannon, for being a loud and clear voice for children who have mental health needs in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are proud of you!
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