Trainees Describe Their LEND Experiences

/Trainees Describe Their LEND Experiences
Trainees Describe Their LEND Experiences2018-12-20T10:36:25-05:00

Name: Anne Marie Cellante
Discipline: Family Specialist/Education
LEND Class: 2015

“As a Family Specialist, my LEND experience was invaluable. The program fostered my leadership skills and helped me to advocate with greater confidence. As a trainee, I began serving as a chairperson of the Family Supports Services Advisory Council for Westchester County, an organization which acts a family voice for the development and monitoring of community programs for individuals with developmental disabilities living at home. I am now the Council’s Statewide Representative, acting as a liaison between the NY State Office of People with Developmental disabilities and families that receive Family Support Programs.

The feedback and encouragement that I received from LEND’s writing assignments motivated me to continue with writing as a way to reflect on my experience as a parent of children with developmental disabilities, as well as to educate others on the parent’s perspective. My personal essay, “A Lane of Our Own”, about savoring small successes, was recently published in the online literary publication, “Mother’s Always Write”. The presentations, discussions and research that comprised LEND have all informed my decision to return to the teaching profession, a career that I had long put on the back-burner. I returned to graduate school last September to pursue a teaching certification in Early Childhood Special Education with the intention to work with very young children with developmental delays through the Early Intervention Program. I believe the knowledge and skills I’ve gained through LEND will make me an even better resource for the families I will serve in the future.”

Name: KimLori Devine
Discipline: Family Specialist/Special Education
LEND Class: 2007

“LEND consistently provided me with opportunities to strengthen skills, broaden perspectives, think reflectively and investigate unexplored areas in my professional and personal life. The training, coaching and mentoring encouraged and supported my efforts to upgrade my research, presentation and public speaking skills.  As my skill level increased, my comfort level and confidence subsequently increased. I developed a deeper appreciation of my own voice and with a family perspective.

Attending national and state disability conferences as part of my LEND training greatly expanded my understanding of self-advocacy, fiscal policy, budget and disability policy. Persons with disabilities attending these conferences modeled advocacy in action fearlessly and respectfully, which impacted me greatly. It provided a powerful lesson on how to educate and empower us all to advocate for our nation, our communities and our families and children. My point of view widened to include a solid grasp of the connection between our federal and state budget process and the impact on the programs and people we all work with and know in our communities.

Networking with other professionals on a national and state level to work collaboratively on projects and implement best practice guidelines is yet another component of the LEND fellowship that continues to impact me today. Being part of the AUCD network, participating in Special Interest Groups via email/ webinars and connecting with AUCD colleagues continues to inform and expand my professional practice.

LEND was absolutely a catalyst in my personal and professional growth. I’d encourage every professional working with persons with disabilities to participate in LEND training if given the opportunity. You might be surprised at what you’ll discover.”

Name: Angela Panagos
Discipline: Family Specialist/Speech Language Pathologist
LEND Class: 2015

“I would not be as confident in my skills as a Speech Language Pathologist if it were not for my experience in the LEND program. I learned how to be a successful, professional public speaker, which has impacted me greatly in my career. I had the opportunity to learn about all disciplines, many of which I work with on a daily basis. LEND has also given me opportunities for continuing education, including the Making Lifelong Connections (MLC) conference and introducing me to the Sibling Leadership Network. I am grateful for my time in LEND and hope to continue to keep in touch with the program.”

Name: Veraanong Srakhao
Discipline: Child Psychiatry 
LEND Class: 2015

“The LEND program is a unique experience that focuses on both a multidisciplinary approach and the patient and family perspective. It has shaped the way that I approach clinical care, which I have come to understand as complex and multi-faceted. From my experiences, I have learned to: Be kind. Meet the patients where they are at, with regards to their fears and hardships. Be approachable and address any concerns that they have. Be open-minded to their perspectives from a cultural standpoint. Stay sharp with evidence-based treatment. Advocate for supportive services in the community. Foster their hopes and dreams.”

Name: Susan Ugilarolo
Discipline: Family Specialist/Education
LEND Class: 2010

“The timing of my LEND work was most impactful to my personal growth both as a parent and educator.  LEND added order to my theoretical knowledge and personal experiences and instilled options for delivering this information to others. I continue to use these tools today in my work and on most occasions will start a thought by saying, “research shows…”. Having the opportunity to gain more medical knowledge in a supportive learning environment was also invaluable as I continue to work to identify children in need of early intervention.  While I have always advocated for my son in his school setting when a “situation” arose, I had little understanding of the importance of advocacy for him as an adult, which is an ongoing and complex need for individuals with developmental disabilities.  These experiences allowed me to contribute to my son’s successful transition to independent living. These are just a few of the learning tools that I continue to use daily in my professional and personal life.”

Name: Kehli Harding Woodruff
Discipline: Speech Language Pathology
LEND Class: 2015

“The LEND program has profoundly impacted my life, as a professional as well as a citizen concerned with both the daily lives of individuals with disabilities and the related policies on the local and national levels. As a trainee, I received valuable insight into the challenges and joys of the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. I also gained a greater understanding of local, state and federal policies and procedures that impact individuals with disabilities. As a result of my participation as a LEND trainee, I am delighted to have been chosen to serve on the Board of Directors for Westchester Institute of Health and Development.

Professionally as a Speech Language Pathologist, the information and experiences that I gained as a LEND trainee have helped me interact with and assist my clients in greater ways that I would ever have been able to without the program. Now when I am part of a team with a family whose child is transitioning out of high school into the world as a young adult, I have substantial background knowledge and experience that helps me understand what that transition might involve for that individual and their family members.  Further, the heightened awareness regarding the policies and laws on a national stage empower me to be a strong advocate for individuals with disabilities.”