Minnesota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Program (MNLEND)


Prepares future leaders who will serve children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), other neurodevelopmental and related disabilities (NDDs), and their families in healthcare, education, human services, and policy settings. MNLEND is an interdisciplinary training program that responds to the needs of these children and their families, bringing together faculty, staff and students from 12 disciplines across the University of Minnesota, as well as community members, to:

  1. Advance the knowledge and skills of all child health professionals to improve healthcare delivery systems for children with developmental disabilities;
  2. Provide high-quality interdisciplinary education that emphasizes the integration of services from state and local agencies and organizations, private providers, and communities;
  3. Provide health professionals with skills that foster community-based partnerships; and
  4. Promote innovative practices to enhance cultural competency, family-centered care, and interdisciplinary partnerships.

The MNLEND Program is coordinated by the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration and partners with other departments in the College of Education and Human Development, College of Liberal Arts, and the Academic Health Center.

Rebecca Dosch Brown
Amy S Hewitt
Maternal and Child Health Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota
Department of Pediatrics, Medical School, University of Minnesota
Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota
Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare



Mariam A Adam :: Graduate School Trainee


Hamdi D Ahmed :: Graduate School Trainee


Megan E Andre :: Graduate School Trainee


Kimberly D Baker :: Graduate School Trainee


Katie L Beard :: Graduate School Trainee


Madison M Blair :: Graduate School Trainee


Charles M Davis :: Graduate School Trainee


Adele F Dimian :: Post-Doctoral Associate

Rebecca Dosch Brown

Rebecca Dosch Brown :: Program and Data Coordinator, Minnesota LEND

Partner staff

Amy N Esler PhD :: Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Beth E Fondell

Beth E Fondell :: Training Coordinator


Daijah A Frazier :: Graduate School Trainee

Gretchen B Gallagher Weinstein

Gretchen B Gallagher Weinstein :: Principal Office and Administrative Specialist


Emily J Garness :: Graduate School Trainee

Amy S Hewitt

Amy S Hewitt :: Director, Institute on Community Integration


Courtney B Higginbotham :: Community Program Assistant


Carolyn E Hockey :: Graduate School Trainee


Pascal N Kabamba :: Graduate School Trainee


Muna Khalif :: Graduate School Trainee

Barbara A Kleist

Barbara A Kleist :: Program Manager


Kourtney R Kromminga :: Graduate School Trainee


Adam D Langenfeld :: Graduate School Trainee


Shawn C Lawler :: Web UI Developer


Carl Luepker :: Graduate School Trainee


Catherine D Mapa :: Graduate School Trainee


Alyssa N Mason :: Graduate School Trainee


Michaela K Mccabe :: Graduate School Trainee


Amal A Mohumed :: Graduate School Trainee

Partner staff

Joe E Reichle :: Professor


Jennifer L Reiter :: Graduate School Trainee


Jessica J Simacek :: Researcher 5

Katrina O Simons

Katrina O Simons :: Community Program Specialist

Partner staff

Frank J Symons :: Associate Dean


Whitney N Terrill :: Graduate School Trainee


Jennifer E Tessmer :: Graduate School Trainee


Petronellah T Thomas-Shanobi :: Graduate School Trainee


Erin Van Dyke :: Graduate School Trainee


Mariam A Warsame :: Graduate School Trainee


Bridget A Winchester :: Graduate School Trainee


Yue Wu :: Graduate School Trainee


Chong Yang :: Graduate School Trainee


Heejung Yun :: Graduate School Trainee


LEND Brief: Delivery of Education Services to Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

A brief focusing on issues and practices in the delivery of education services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The articles in this issue address a federally-funded training…Published: Winter 2012

LEND Fact Sheet Series: Challenging Behaviors: Challenging Behavior

A fact sheet defining challenging behavior as behaviors that harm people or objects, interfere with learning, and/or socially isolate the learner. The sheet also defines the form and function of…Published: 2012

LEND Fact Sheet Series: Challenging Behaviors: Request Assistance

A fact sheet defining request assistance as a child communicating a desire for help at a task without using challenging behavior. The sheet also explains how to teach children to request…Published: 2012

LEND Fact Sheet Series: Challenging Behaviors: Choice-Making

A fact sheet defining choice-making as when a child selects an item or activity from among two or more options. The sheet also explains who benefits from choice-making and how it can be offered.Published: 2012

LEND Fact Sheet Series: Challenging Behaviors: Preferred Item as a Distracter

A fact sheet defining the use of a preferred item as a distracter as an intervention strategy to avert challenging behavior by presenting a child with an activity or a preferred item. The sheet…Published: 2012

LEND Fact Sheet Series: Challenging Behaviors: Communicative Alternatives to Challenging Behavior

A fact sheet explaining when to teach a communicative alternative to challenging behavior, why a child uses a communicative alternative, and the steps involved.

Published: 2012

LEND Fact Sheet Series: Challenging Behaviors: Functional Behavioral Assessment of Young Children

A fact sheet defining a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) as a process that identifies the links between challenging behavior and the conditions that surround it. The sheet also explains how FBA…Published: 2012

LEND Fact Sheet Series: Challenging Behaviors: High-Probability Request Sequence and Embedding

A fact sheet defining high-probability request sequences as an intervention in which a set of simple requests (and embedding as a preferred activity) for which the child is usually willing to…Published: 2012

LEND Fact Sheet Series: Challenging Behaviors: Rejecting Response

A fact sheet defining rejecting response as a communicative alternative for challenging behavior that can involve spoken, sign, or graphic language that a child uses to escape or avoid a person,…Published: 2012

LEND Fact Sheet Series: Challenging Behaviors: Request for a Break

A fact sheet defining a request for a break as a communicative intervention in which the child completes part of an activity and then requests a break; after the break, the child returns to the…Published: 2012

LEND Fact Sheet Series: Challenging Behaviors: Tolerance for Delay of Reinforcement

A fact sheet defining tolerance for delay of reinforcement as a strategy that influences challenging behavior by cuing the child and providing reinforcement contingent on continued participation in…Published: 2012

LEND Brief: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

A brief presenting recent changes in the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) from different perspectives: developmental and behavioral pediatricians, clinical…Published: Fall 2013

LEND Brief: Positive Behavior Support

An issue focusing on person-centered positive behavior support (PBS) and on individuals living in community settings who have benefitted from systematic and longitudinally delivered positive…Published: Summer 2014

LEND Webinars: Cultural Competence in ASD Assessment and Diagnosis

A Webinar discussing the opportunities and challenges providing ASD assessments and supports across cultures. Understanding culture plays a critical role in interpreting behavior in both the...

Published: October 24, 2013

LEND Webinars: Identifying Autism Spectrum Disorders in Minnesota: Clarification on Medical Diagnosis vs. Educational Eligibility

A Webinar examining and comparing the process of eligibility for educational and medical/clinical services for families with children who have autism spectrum disorders. Participants gained an...

Published: April 19, 2013

LEND Webinars: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for Children with Autism

A Webinar focusing on individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders who experience severe speech and language difficulties. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is an area of specialty for…Published: February 14, 2013

LEND Webinars: Autism Spectrum Disorders - Diagnosis and Assessment Overview

A Webinar sharing information on best practices and practical strategies for diagnostic assessment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Drs. Amy Esler and Sara Christianson from the University of...

Published: March 9, 2012

LEND Webinars: Great Lakes LEND Collaborative/MN LEND Life Course Forum

A Webinar presenting Life Course Theory, which provides a broad view of looking at health and wellness. There is a complex interplay between biology, behavior, emotions, socialization, and…Published: September 23, 2011

LEND Webinars: Audio Recording: Faith Communities and Disabilities - An Interdisciplinary Perspective

An audio recording of a Webinar of a MN LEND forum focusing on building collaborations in faith communities for inclusion of individuals with disabilities. Strategies and best practices for...

Published: May 2, 2011

LEND Webinars: To Be Honest (TBH): A Discussion on Transition for Youth with Special Health Care Needs

A Webinar discussing the area of transition, which continues to present young people and their families with many difficult challenges. Despite an impressive body of literature, concrete solutions…Published: March 14, 2013

LEND Webinars: Approaches to Managing Challenging Behavior in Children

A Webinar discussing functional behavioral assessment and positive behavioral support strategies for young children with significant challenging behavior. A discussion of specific strategies and...

Published: January 30, 2014

LEND Webinars: Best Practices in Developmental Screening for Health Care Providers

A Webinar listing standardized screening instruments appropriate for use in developmental screening of young children; identifying resources for health promotion and referral for child development;...

Published: October 1, 2014

LEND Webinars: Building Connections with Hmong Families: Culturally Competent Approaches to Child Development

A Webinar presenting culturally specific and relevant strategies for professionals working with Hmong families with young children. Cultural views of disability and child development were...

Published: November 21, 2014

LEND Brief: ASD and Culture

An issue providing information about how diverse communities view, understand, and experience Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. A growing body of research in…Published: Spring 2015

LEND Webinars: Building Connections with Somali Families: Culturally Competent Approaches to Child Development and Disability

A Webinar presenting culturally specific and relevant strategies for professionals working with Somali families with young children. Comprised of two videos and three sets of PowerPoint slides, the...

Published: June 25, 2015

LEND Fact Sheet: Family Caregivers of Children with Special Health Care Needs: The Need for Caregiver Support as Truly Family-Centered Care

A fact sheet describing the need to support family caregivers as they take care of children with special health care needs. The fact sheet presents needs, facts, and solutions to supporting family…Published: July 2013

LEND Fact Sheet: Autism Spectrum Disorders

A fact sheet informing parents about caring for children who have or may have Autism Spectrum Disorders.Published: 2012

LEND Fact Sheet: Promotion of Healthy Relationships and Sexuality for Individuals with Disabilities

A fact sheet promoting healthy relationships and debunking myths about sex among individuals with disabilities. The fact sheet provides background information, facts, and resources. It also…Published: August 2013

La soco Marxaladaha Koboc ee Cunuggaaga (Track Your Child's Developmental Milestones)

A brochure translating the original English version of the Center for Disease Control's brochure Track Your Child's Developmental Milestones into the Somali language. In collaboration with Somali...

Published: 2013

Marxaladaha Heerarka Koboca (Milestone Moments)

A resource guide translating the original English version of the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) booklet Track Your Child's Developmental Milestones into the Somali language. In collaboration...

Published: 2013

Minnesota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Program (MNLEND) Website

A website presenting the program's training for future leaders who will serve children with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and their families in health care, education, human services,...

Published: 2011


  • Community life
    • Civil rights
      • Community supports and services
        • Consumer/self-directed services
          • Parenting and family relationships
            • Person-centered planning and practices
              • Positive behavior support
                • Self-advocacy and self-determination
                  • Social inclusion
                  • Culture and diversity
                    • Cultural competence
                      • English language learners (ELLs)
                        • Immigrants
                        • Direct support workforce
                          • Workforce development strategies
                          • Early education and development
                            • Child development
                              • Early childhood education
                                • Early childhood screening and assessment
                                  • Early childhood transition
                                    • Early intervention
                                      • Early social/emotional development
                                        • Family engagement
                                          • Natural environments
                                          • Education practices (K12 and transition)
                                            • Accommodations and supports
                                              • Assistive/adaptive technology
                                                • Family engagement
                                                  • IEP development
                                                    • Instructional strategies
                                                      • Positive behavior support
                                                        • Transition planning
                                                        • Educational accountability and assessment
                                                          • Accommodations and supports
                                                            • Assessment (large-scale, alternate)
                                                              • Assessment of individuals
                                                                • IDEA
                                                                  • Quality outcomes
                                                                  • Employment and postsecondary education
                                                                    • Accommodations and supports
                                                                    • Health and safety
                                                                      • Healthcare
                                                                      • Housing and residential services
                                                                        • Consumer/self-directed services
                                                                          • Family supports/in-home services
                                                                            • Medicaid services (residential)
                                                                            • Specific disability
                                                                              • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
                                                                                • Intellectual/developmental disability (IDD)
                                                                                  • Multiple disabilities
                                                                                    • Other health impairment
                                                                                    • Specific life stage
                                                                                      • Adolescents and young adults
                                                                                        • Children
                                                                                          • Early childhood


                                                                                          • Dissemination
                                                                                            • Outreach
                                                                                              • Research
                                                                                                • Technical assistance
                                                                                                  • Training and professional development